the ‘Other Guy Rule’

Today’s post is from my dad through his father-eyes, his heart-tender, and in his own words on the lived experience of being told your daughter has cancer, then 30 years later that she needed a new heart.

“It’s always ‘the other guy’ until a life-altering event happens, your world is forever changed and you find that you are ‘the other guy’, your daughter has cancer.

What began as a constricted pupil turned out to be a serious problem, Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of childhood cancer. Your thought processes change from carefree decision making to the weighing of the potential consequences of every decision you make. Nothing is simple anymore; everything must be weighed in light of an event about which you have limited knowledge and absolutely no control.

But then your faith kicks in, and somehow, you are reminded that your daughter is a fighter, and until you infuse your fear into her, she will continue to exude confidence in her ability to survive and get better. So, you choke back the tears, and only permit them to fall when you are alone.

All questions will be answered and when it seems that you can not bear to consider one more thing, a little girl with peach fuzz for hair says, ‘Daddy, can we huddle up?’. And you do as you are now ‘the other guy’.

We were told by the oncologists that the chemotherapy agents used might have late effects on our daughter’s heart, but what choice did we have but to move forward with treatment. You put the possibility out of your mind and invoke the ‘other guy rule’ which you already know is a lie.

Fast forward 30 years and Stephanie’s heart was failing, and failing fast. This time the problem could be fixed provided we didn’t run out of time. By now, as a father, you know what needs to happen: a new heart. It is a matter of getting her to the place with the greatest likelihood of making that happen.

Through the power of prayer, the efforts of pastors, relatives, and friends alike, and the receptive physicians of the Cleveland Clinic, God’s hand guided us through the medical maze to get us to the best place for Stephanie just in time.

The cost of her new heart was totally absorbed by one family who made the decision to save another person’s life when they could not save their own daughter’s life; a selfless gift for which we can never adequately express our gratitude.

From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, having a child with a life-threatening illness is one of the most difficult things to handle emotionally. And, until you have been there, you will never truly understand. My prayer for you is that you never come to understand.”


Stephanie’s Dad

Isn’t he awesome?! Love my Dad SO much: always…


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