It was hard for me to get control of my overwhelming flood of emotions. I was so angry at first that I frequently lashed out with angry outbursts of profanity. It was wrong, and I knew it had to stop. I realized that my wife and daughter were counting on me to support them through this, and that the last thing they needed was to see just how scared I really was. From that point forward I did my very best at all times to be nothing but a source of hope and optimism in my family’s eyes.
Following Heather’s mesothelioma surgery in Boston, she and Lily spent two months in South Dakota with Heather’s parents. I had to work and couldn’t provide Heather with the care she needed to recover. We knew her parents could do that for her so she’d be able to recover and prepare herself for the start of her chemotherapy and radiation. I missed them terribly, and I was only able to see them once in the two months they were gone. This was by far the hardest part of the whole experience for me, but I don’t regret our decision. We were very lucky to be in the position to even make it, and for that we are very thankful.
One Friday night after work, I drove 11 hours through a snowstorm to see my family. I was exhausted when I arrived, and I had to make the same drive the day after I got there, as I couldn’t miss work on Monday morning. It was a lot of difficult travel for just a few precious hours with them, but it was worth every second. It was not an easy time for my family, but we learned a lot from it.