Autumn Hope Gallagher

Fast Changes

Brain tumors suck, but my dad is rad and refuses to wear hospital gowns.

My dad and step mom Melissa filling some quiet moments with prayer. Huge thanks to the chaplains at University of Minnesota Fairview for their love.

Eye patch artwork courtesy of my 10 year old niece.

This. The photos above… this is what waiting looks like. Somber. Impatient. Anxious. Trying to force residents and attendings and nurses to laugh with us at the situation, then giving up on them and laughing on our own because they just don’t get why we laugh in the face of death. 


When you have cancer, you and your family are suddenly thrown into a seriously stupid cycle of waiting. Waiting for labs, waiting for rounds, waiting for more tests/exams. Waiting for results. Waiting for timelines. Waiting for diagnoses (stage 4 lung adenocarcinoma with metastases to the brain, in this case). Waiting to begin Gamma Knife radiation treatment. But mostly… Waiting to get out of the hospital and back to living. 


The following photos? This is what living looks like. Loving. Laughing. Blurry photos because sometimes those are the best ones. Tickle torture. Two-armed hugs. 


Changes. Big ones. Like no longer taking life for granted. Going for a 5 mile run so you can feel your lungs burn and scream in pain because you’re healthy…  and learning in the time it takes to answer the phone, how precious each second is. 


This dude. My dad. Raddest Grandpa of all grandpas in the history of the universe. He’s not going to be around for a helluva lot longer, and heck yes that guts me. But it also makes me grateful for the fire in my belly being relit. The fire that flips the bird (with both hands) to meticulous plans. The fire that says yes to embracing living. That’s what our time here is really about. Truly living. 


Here’s to more of that. 


Oh… and Dad? I know you’re reading this, so I love you. Bigtime.

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