As a child, my first hero was my dad. He was this amazing man who could do anything. He could build walls. He could help build houses. He could work on the car, fix a bike chain, mow the lawn. The achievements didn't need to be super awesome, just he himself was awesome. As an adult, he is still my hero. He's spent so much of his life being a rock, helping others, putting other people before himsef... He has so many people who call him friend, and they are proud to do so. He'll never let you know when he can't help you - because there isn't a time that he can't. He makes time. He figures out a way.
This MDS has taken a lot from him in the past few months. He's not been able to be his usual self as far as helping other people. He's still funny with the one-liners, and he tries to be bossy, but the anemia has made him tired and weak. Sometimes he seems just fine. But other times? He's so tired. And it's our turn and his friends' turns to do for him. Of course this didn't fly with him at the beginning, but he has slowly adjusted. There have been so many offers of help, it's amazing.
This Tuesday, my dad will check into the hospital. He'll begin the process to prepare his body for the bone marrow stem cell transplant that will save his life. He'll get a port put in and begin chemotherapy. It will be intense - chemo every day for six days. Then, the following Wednesday, another hero enters the scene. This hero is an unknown 42 year old male in the US. We don't know where, we don't know who.
This new hero keeps my hero alive. This new hero gives my dad, my hero, a future.
I knew this part was coming. I had hoped for it, prayed for it, begged for it. I wanted a match to be found. And now here it is.
I can't even imagine what is going through my dad's head, because what is going through mine is nothing short of insanity. I'm worried, excited, happy, nervous, scared shitless - all of it. I know it hurts a parent to see their child in pain. But seeing your parent in pain? It's no picnic either. I wish... well, I wish it was easier. The reality though is that it's happening. And the positive - the I can't even think of a better word than positive, but the super duper greatest thing? - is that this will kick the MDS to the curb. So it's a necessary evil to be dealt with. It's the required step to go through. And I'm ever so grateful this step is available, and this hero is available.
Thinking of that is what will get me through.
My dad asked me tonight if I was scared. I lied, and told him I was a little scared. It's my turn to be strong for him now. I can't tell him that I cried in the shower and couldn't stop crying. I can't tell him that I want so badly for him not to experience the pain of chemo, not even one drop of pain. I want to do it for him, to take it on. But the most I could say is that I was a little scared. Because it is not about me. It's about him. And I have to be strong for him.
"Look," he replied. "I can do this. So many other people have done it. So what? A week of chemo? A transplant? And then weeks of recovery? Fine. No problem. I'll do it, and we'll be done and we won't have to worry about this anymore."
And that's why he's my hero.
You've got this tough guy! You're no wussie!