Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Help For My Friend Danny


I am asking my readers to share this story.  It is not about money.  It is about getting my friend Danny the medical help necessary to recover from a horrific accident.  I must warn you, a picture will appear towards the end that is quite graphic, meant only to show the extent to how serious this injury is.

My friend Danny and I are from different sides of the country, and in fact, really have only met face to face one time.  But through the years, if I am counting right, going on ten years now, we have remained in touch with each other, offering laughs and support.  We share many things in common.  We both have daughters.  We both had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma many years ago.  And we both have to deal with late effects from the treatments that we were exposed to, in order to save our lives.  Many of those issues are similar as well.

One of the only differences I am aware of, and I am thankful for this, was Danny’s service in the military.  And if I am not mistaken, it was during his service that he faced his battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Danny is one of the most positive people I will ever know.  He loves nature.  He spends as much time as he can with his family.  And he loves his sports.  He splits his loyalties between where he is from, and where he resides.

Of everything that Danny has been through, between cancer, issues from survivorship, his military record, nothing seems to have had as much of a permanent impact on Danny as what happened to him while attending a Seattle Mariners baseball game.

This was Danny’s view on June 5th.  And it would be the last time he would see it with perfect vision from both eyes.  A line drive foul ball struck Danny in his right eye, flush.  The picture is gruesome, and honestly, he is probably lucky that his injuries were not as severe.  A baseball thrown from a pitcher can be thrown between 80-100 mph on average.  A line drive of a ball from a bat travels much faster.  There is little time to react.

The three major sports all have some sort of protective netting to protect fans.

But the netting is only partial.  Behind the goal posts in Pro Football.  Only around the blue lines in a hockey arena on both sides of the ice.  And only behind home plate of a baseball game.  Sure as a fan, we all hope to have a shot of going home with a free souvenir like a hockey puck that gets tipped into the stands, or have a ballboy or ballgirl, toss a foul ball to a young fan.   Hockey players are sitting ducks on the bench as they wait for their turns to go out onto the ice, just as the fans behind them.  Sure the most powerful shots will be headed toward the goals, but that does not mean that a player or fan will not take a shot to the face with a puck.  Baseball is no different, as foul balls constantly head toward the player dugouts at crazy speeds, with the fans unprotected just beyond those dugouts.  But history shows, only until a tragedy hits, does any of the big three professional sports do anything to make good or prevent.  For hockey, it took a girl being killed.  Just a few weeks ago, a national story broke the hearts of everyone, when a little girl was hit in the head by a fly foul ball.  Our hearts wrenched as the player who hit the ball, broke down in tears.  Since then, we have heard nothing.  I say we, meaning the public.

But as a friend of Danny’s, only some of us heard what happened to him.  There was no news coverage.

Honestly, I have no idea how he is even dealing with this.  The status of his vision, or the eye itself is still not determined.  Bleeding has been an issue even a week later because of medications he takes for issues related to his cancer survivorship.  Even doctors right now are baffled how to provide any relief from the pressure, the pain, and the bleeding.

The response from the Seattle Mariners?

Some momentos, get well tokens if you will.

My friend Danny does not need an autographed baseball or picture or flowers.  He needs the Seattle Mariner organization to step up and help Danny find the medical care he needs to heal and recover.  If this was one of the Mariner players, like Santana or Bruce that took a shot like Danny did to the face, you know the Mariners would spare no expense to get the player the medical help needed.

Danny has health care, including from the VA for having served our country in the Army.  But what he does not have, and the Mariners can help with, is getting him the medical resources necessary to help him recover.

It’s great that baseball teams like the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers are among the first to finally extend the safety netting down the field.  I am curious that as the Mariners at one time had talked about extending some netting, January 31, 2018 (MLB.com news) why only to extend the netting to 11 feet high to the end of the dugouts.

Danny has many friends who are supporting him emotionally, and trying to rally the Mariners to do more than what they have.  Danny needs medical help.

Besides sharing this post, your are encouraged to write to Major League Baseball commissioner  Rob Manfred, contact the Seattle Mariners via email fancare@mariners.com.

Most importantly Danny, know that so many are behind you.  And we are all hoping for a full recovery.  But it should not take a tragedy like this (or worse) for the Mariners or MLB to do something.

Just moments after I published this post, Danny has been informed he will lose his eye.

Advertisements

Happy Father’s Day Weekend


My favorite time of year.  Father’s Day weekend.  It is a weekend filled with lots of emotions.  On one hand, I get to spend the weekend with my daughters who simply put, are my reason for being.  On the other hand, I miss my father, who passed away just over five years ago.  So, it is a bittersweet time of year.  And as I look through all of the photos that I have taken over the last fifteen years of my life, I am reminded just how important the title of “Dad” really is.  And as the collage demonstrates, my parenthood is careening towards having young adults.

Gone are the tea parties and pretend play.  No more animated movies.  In fact, my older daughter has already stated her disapproval for the computer generated reboots of Disney classic animated movies that she grew up watching.  I really have my fingers crossed that she will at least let me watch “The Lion King.”  But on the plus side, they now enjoy watching more topical movies, biopics especially.  One of the coolest moments came for me, watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” with my daughters.  And they continue to realize the impact that Queen had in the entertainment world.  I have already begun to prep them both for “Rocketman”, yes, by encouraging them that the soundtrack for the movie “The Lion King” was written by the Rocketman, Elton John.  Their curiosity has been elevated.

Gone are the coloring books, alphabet homework assignments, and learning multiplication tables.  I am now looking at full blown essays and interpretations and insight reviewing fiction stories, or research on current events.  As I writer, this is definitely one aspect that I really enjoying, and if I do say so, I expect both to exceed  what I do.

After changing their minds on what they want to be several times while growing up, there seems to be a direction that both are heading, and they are making decision on course selections based on those directions.

Did I say I was lucky to be seeing these transformations?  Healthwise, absolutely.  My health scares over the years, yes, I am very lucky to be seeing all of these events.  And in divorce, I am also lucky to be seeing my daughters.

Sadly, I know too many fathers, and have read hundreds more stories sent to me of fathers, unable to see their children for any number of reasons.  To be fair, there are also fathers out there who have turned their backs on their children, either out of frustration for a system, or denial.

Being a father, missing my daughters, loving my daughters as much as I do, I cannot fathom what would make a father make the decision to turn his back on his child(ren).  Did they never want the responsibility of being a father?  Did the child not provide any “familial currency”, purpose, or value to the father?  Was the father frustrated by constant attempts to interfere with the relationship with his child(ren)?  Quite possibly with the assistance of the law and statutes that allow so?

Could it be someone else’s decision that a father is not getting time to spend with his child(ren)?  A bitter former spouse using the child(ren) as pawns to exact revenge by refusing to allow the father to see his child(ren)?  Does the father even know that he might have children?

Then there is the unimaginable loss every year this weekend comes around.  Is the father faced with the loss of a child due to tragedy.  We have all heard that a parent should never have to bury their child.  But it happens.  And then there are those of us, many of us, who have lost our own fathers.  As I am now in the second half of my century, many of my school age friends, mourn the loss of the parents, many quite recently.

I miss my Dad.  I love my children.  I consider myself lucky to have been my Dad’s son.  And I am not only proud of my daughters, but I am quite lucky.  Lucky to have had both blessings in my life.  And to those who face struggles in their lives, with the relationship between father and children, you are in my thoughts, hopes that someday, your situation will resolve positively.

You Could Say “The Honeymoon Was Over”


The following is a continuation of my series on my 30th anniversary of remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Considering the major detour in our plans for getting married, my battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, everything went as it needed to go.  The plans for the wedding.  Thirty radiation treatments.  And the all clear from the oncologist.  I was given a follow up appointment for when we got back from our honeymoon.  I got married (my first time), and we had a fun time on our honeymoon.

A common fear that nearly all of us survivors have once completed with our treatments, is the fear of recurrence, or relapse.  In other words, “it came back.”  The hint of a symptom we had during our diagnosis can send us off of a cliff of uncontrollable worry.  We barely get to celebrate our remission before that twisted concern already attacks us emotionally.  For me, and I do not know why, I did not have this feeling.  I felt the follow up was just a pain in the ass, taking up my time.

I had gone through a CT scan before, so this was not going to be a big deal.  And I had no reason to expect any news differently than my last appointment.  Except for some sunburn on my trip, I had no issues with my body as far as any symptoms or changes.

But the phone call I got a week later with the results sent a feeling of paranoia through me like I had never felt before.  “Mr. Edelman, we have the results of your CT scan.  Dr. M would like to discuss those results with you.”  Yep, if it was nothing, I would have been told so right at that moment.  I was not going to be made to come in just to be told “all is good.”

Dr. M:  Paul, the CT scan picked up new disease below your abdomen.

(It needs to be noted that with my original diagnosis, any evidence of Hodgkin’s had been limited above my abdomen)

Dr. M:  I cannot determine if this is actually a new onset, or if your Hodgkin’s has recurred, because of how soon, but we are considering this a recurrence.

I had relapsed.  FUCK CANCER!

I have been counseling cancer patients for nearly three decades and one thing that I always tell my patients is that you either need to have an extra set of ears at the appointments (we did not have phones to record conversations back then).  There is no doubt that I missed some very important discussion after Dr. M had told me about the relapse because my mind had taken me in a totally different direction.  It would have been normal for me to once again revisit the “denial”stage, but I did not.

Self:  It was your choice.  This is your fault.

Of course, these two sentences are totally irrational, but at the time, it was appropriate, and earned.

Under normal circumstances, oncologists will treat with chemotherapy and likely followed up with radiation.  Historically, Hodgkin’s had been treated with radiation alone, and with success.  But vanity played a role, as I was going to get married in less than four months from my diagnosis and staging.  Radiation would show the least amount of effect and I would be done before my wedding, and well, I would be in the middle of my chemotherapy at the time of my wedding, delays were not possible in the treatments.

Now I would begin my second guessing.  While I would never know if I would have relapsed with just chemo, at that time, I would have still be going through chemo.  But clearly, the decision was mine, and it was made.  It was my fault.

Who knows how much conversation I had missed at that point, my mind wandering.  But when Dr. M finally regained my attention, I heard the words that I had feared all along.

Dr. M:  We want you to start on chemotherapy as soon as possible.

So, back on the treadmill I went.  There were things that needed to be done to prepare for this next phase.

Post Navigation