Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the day “June 2, 2013”

Lost In All This


I have been working hard to be elected to our local school board for three years now.  I have spent several nights a week attending district meetings, other nights meeting and greeting voters, and remaining evenings meeting with the other members of my campaign.

None of us keep any kind of score on who does how much or when.  It is a team effort.  We can disagree, but we respect that right to do so.  When one of us is down, there is another to pick us up.  And when personal crisis comes up, there is unbelievable support.

My dad had been diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer about two months before the recent primary election.  While a cancer diagnosis is not what anyone wants to hear, being staged at 1 was definitely welcomed news.  The recommendation for remission was surgery and so it was arranged.  There is no good time to have cancer, but the surgery had been set for the week before the election.

My father knows how much effort I had put into this election and felt awful, but my priority was clear.  I would stand by his side, not only as his son, but as his medical advocate.  I would figure a way to find balance so that I did not feel that I had abandoned my running mates and campaign.  But everyone involved in my campaign made it clear, “be with your dad.  You have done so much for this campaign, we can hold down the fort while you take care of him.”

His stay in the hospital was only to last four to six days.  Currently, today is day 21.

The campaign activity is picking up after just a week from the election where I won one political party, but not the other, forcing a General Election in the Fall.  But the entire week before the election, everyone in my campaign took all the extra steps to make sure that my absence was not felt during the busiest and most crucial stage of the election.  The group of people that are my running mates are a remarkable bunch.

As my father recovers, I am slowly easing back into my position of candidate, but it is clear that I have to find some sort of balance as my dad will need some care for quite a bit of time yet.

It feels quite odd actually.  During the last election in 2011, there was such a huge “letdown” both physically and mentally the days after the election.  And it would have happened regardless having lost or had I won.  I went from having over 50 emails a day to answer, as well as a dozen voicemails, plus of course door knocking and appearances, to nothing.  Just completely dropped off.  But this time there has been no down time for me.  My time has been so occupied with my dad following the election, that now that the campaign is picking up again, my stride has continued without breaking and I feel momentum will pick up exactly where it left off.

Of course, knowing that with total votes, I came in 4th out of 8 for four positions, eliminating the school board president from his seat on the board, had this been the General Election.  I still have some work to do.  While one of my running mates won overall, there were two incumbants who scored above me yet.

National Cancer Survivor Day


I am a long term cancer survivor.  In November, I will begin my 25th year since being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Today is being recognized as National Cancer Survivor’s Day.  I often struggle when it comes to recognizing milestones or events associated with survival because I cannot grasp how to celebrate, when so many others are still struggling, fail to reach remission, or face recurrence.  But by no means, do I wish to take away the enormous effort made to defeat a deadly disease.  We do not volunteer for a cancer diagnosis, and are clearly forced to accept toxins and other hazards, some worse than the cancer itself, into our bodies, in the hopes of one day, hearing the words “remission” or “cure.”

25 years ago, I only heard of people dying from cancer.  Today, I personally know over 1000 survivors of the millions that are alive today able to share their stories.

Today, I recognize my father as a cancer survivor.  He just completed surgery for lung cancer three weeks ago.

I have long respected him for his character, his morals, his example, but today, he is so much more.  Here’s to you dad, and the millions of other survivors in the world today!!

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