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Ramblings of a Cancer Dad

For me, and yeah I'm biased, this pic of Peyton's back ranks up there with a lot of the great, awe-inspiring pictures throughout history. I literally get teary-eyed everytime I see that shot, and it's just from last week!

Think of the Iwo Jima Monument. It embodies the fighting spirit of American Marines at Mount Suribachi who simply would not be denied. It's a very powerful image. To me, this photo of Peyton is just as powerful and awe-inspiring. It embodies the fact that no one is untouchable by cancer, not even a 3 year old little girl who'd rather be planting flowers, showing off her new shoes or swinging instead of dealing with the chemo treatments. However, if you look a little closer, you see that she is not alone in her plight. She is indeed very nearly surrounded. Loved ones and strangers alike will step forward and surround you and help get you through this journey that is called a treatment plan.

As a parent of a cancer kid, I'm helpless. Completely and utterly helpless when it comes to trying to help my daughter in this fight. I can keep her spirit up. I can try to show her strength when she needs it. I can try to comfort her in some way if she's in pain. I can kiss the little boo-boos that happen. I can tell her a joke, or show her a magic trick, but I simply can't make her better, no matter how hard I try…and I gotta tell ya, as a father, as a parent, nothing cuts you more to the bone than something hurting your kids.

Some days you never know where the strength will come from. I met an absolutely wonderful guy last week at the Brandon Relay. He was the father of Danielle Stambaugh (I may be spelling that last part incorrectly). Danielle lost her battle with T-cell lymphoma in 1997. We shared our "cancer war stories" and laughed a little, teared up a little, and prayed a little. I'm pretty sure Anissa's mentioned this before, but when you come across another cancer family, there's this weird sense of familiarity and comfort. You suddenly have in front of you someone who knows a lot of what you're going through, and the realization sinks in that you really are not alone in this, nor are you the only one going through a rough stretch of life.

I took a partial day off of work Monday and went in to the clinic with the girls. Anissa's got it right when she says the entire team over at the clinic is awesome. They do the absolute best they can with the situation they're given, and they really need to be commended for that every single day. They are true professionals. They're all smiles and jokes but when it's time to do something nasty, they get their game faces on and take care of business. I did finally get a chance to see the virtual reality goggles in action on Peyton. Lemme tell you, she just absolutely zoned out with those things on and Dr. Kerr taking a bone marrow. Some day, she's probably going to be able to truly appreciate Pink Floyd.

I think the roughest part about going to the clinic has got to be the waiting room. I'm not sure if it was a scheduling SNAFU or what, but it was standing room only in the waiting room for a bit there. The fact that there are that many sick kids…just in our clinic…is just a terrible reality of life.

A special thanks to all our readers out there. Those 50 or so people that hit our site regularly really keep us going on some days.


P.S. Hey Children's Cancer Center…how about starting up a ballroom dancing class for us cancer parents who're trying to hold a marriage together?!?! You'll know me when you see me. I'll be the one who can't keep a beat.

2 Comments on “Ramblings of a Cancer Dad”

  1. #1 basi
    on Apr 25th, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    You go dad! Thanks for sharing from your heart. I know that it's hard for the dads, just as it is for the moms dealing with all this stuff. I feel bad for my husband b/c he still has to bear the responsibility for bringing home the bacon, while dealing with a lot of the stress of a cancer diagnosis. And they say men are not good at multi-tasking! Since Mother's Day is still a few weeks away, I say let celebrate the dads! :WINK

    love, basi

  2. #2 Charlie Wilson
    on May 24th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I just love to do ballroom dancing specially during my free times. dancing is my passion.”:;