Lately the "Daddy!!!" has been used in a different way since we found out about the cancer. It comes at times of pain, worry, and frustration. Times when she's forced to lay flat on her back in hopes of keeping spinal fluid from leaking and creating a massive headache for the next three days. It comes when Mom isn't in the recovery room because she was finally able to leave and eat in the hospital cafeteria, gathering her thoughts and grasping at sanity, crying tears that she doesn't want Emma to see, and Dad is the one by her side. It comes when the needles enter the room, are cleaned, and get closer and closer. I know, I understand that I'm second best, most of the time, and nothing fills a void like Mom.
Our roll as the Dad is usually different. We tend to work in the shadows, unnoticed. We're there to support, love, fix, and save. The last two items in that list are the hardest part for me with this new journey. I've had a perpetual headache for the last two months due to my lack of ability to fix my little girl. I can't save her now. I can't take this pain away. I can't put the hair back. I can't scoop her up and sing this away or distract her with my Daddy magic. This constant internal frustration must be the cause of the headaches, which in time will go away I'm sure. Her Daddy isn't built for this. My strength and determination isn't enough. This won't go away without some serious medical and spiritual help.
I often would wonder when I die, who would show up to the funeral? If, when something bad happens, who would lend a hand and offer to help? When the bomb was dropped and our lives torn to pieces on February 16, 2011 at 4:45pm, a gear was put into play within our transmission of life and faith that had never been used. I didn't even know it was there. Family, friends, close neighbors, and people we've never met, began to jump into action. I didn't ask for it. All I did as I was clouded in shock, anger, frustration, and the most raw sadness I've ever felt, was text my Daddy, stating that "we need some serious help, Emma has Lymphoma." This rush of love and support from you, our support network, scooped us all up like I couldn't do. It provided the strength and determination I lacked. It amazed me. It still daily amazes me. You've all been there this entire time and I've been too oblivious to notice. I hope I say "Thank You" enough.
Rebecca is an amazing woman. You've read her words, witnessed her ability, and felt her emotion. She's the love of my life. On May 9, 2011 we will have been together for 20 years. After 20 years I am still in awe of her ability to handle life. In college she was the top of her class. A perfect candidate to be a doctor. Loved medicine and fixing people. Sports medicine and Athletic training was the first glimpse into her ability to handle situations like our current journey. God built and prepared her for this, long ago, and we never knew. Her professor and mentor Dr. Kuglar would call her "Mrs." Not Rebeca. Not Miss. Just Mrs. He knew she had a purpose beyond Point Loma, beyond Athletic Training, and beyond anything he could teach her. God had built her to love children more than anyone I've ever seen. She left a career and future in the medical field to have kids. At first it seemed wasteful. Such training. So many hard classes, clinics, and hours of studying. Night after night she would come home with the smell of formaldehyde from dissecting humans. I didn't get it then, but cling to it now. She was built for a purpose. She's shining in that purpose. She too has been ready for this the entire time. A mom with a mission, the mind, and faith in God...Cancer should run. Not walk, or slowly leave my little girl. Run. It has no idea what Emma's Mommy is capable of.
I know I've rambled. I'm sure I've misspelled. Punctuation and grammar are probably off a bit. I'm confused. I'm scared. I cry at the drop of a hat. I feel I might get violently mad at the smallest thing that wants to hurt my daughter. I'm quiet and don't talk much. I've realized though that there is a Daddy's point of view that I want to share and that this blog, reading and writing, is therapy for us all. I need this. I've feared cancer since I was a kid. I thought it would attack me. I knew it. I didn't know it would attack my child though. When the "bump" first appeared on Emma I immediately thought it was cancer. I don't blame the doctors. I wouldn't mind "revisiting" a certain surgeon, but they're all human and I can't blame them. Had they found it earlier she would still have cancer. What can we all learn from this? Ask more questions. Insist on more testing. Think outside the box. Press for every angle. Get multiple opinions. Never give up. This is your little girl, whom you've loved from day one. Every cell in her body is from us, blessed by God, loved by all. Scoop her up. Protect her. Pray with her. Yell to the highest mountains for her and defend her with your questions. Don't give up. Love her...Forever!