Miles wrote this post a few days ago as he flew into Lexington. Now, we are sitting in the hospital, as Angela is being admitted (she had some abnormal bloodwork numbers yesterday, and they thought it best we come in). Since the girls are strong and healthy, if anything is off with Angela, it’s go time. We want to make sure our angel Angela is healthy as well!
“Write down where you see yourself in 10 years,” our professor instructed.
I was a sophomore in college. Even though I had no idea how I was going to pay for beer that weekend, I had no trouble quickly jotting down my answer.
Classmates were divided and asked to share their goals with one another. The first kid in my group confidently told us that he would be a partner at a Big 4 accounting firm. Next, my college roommate shared that in 10 years he would like to be a CEO of a Fortune 100 company. And then it was my turn, so I read my sheet. “I see myself as a dad of two kids.”
Clearly, I lacked the corporate drive my professor was probably intending with the exercise. But it was the truth. I’ve always known what I wanted to be: a Dad.
When EmBen and I started dating, having children was not a priority in her life. In retrospect, it was quite understandable. She was only 20 years old and focused on securing a job post graduation. Yet, it baffled me. How could there be anything more fulfilling than having a family? What else could you possibly want in life?
I learned in June of 2012 that what I wanted most in my life was to have a healthy Emily. Upon her diagnosis, my priorities were no longer fixated on whimsical visions of a future family, but solely focused on her immediate survival.
When EmBen informed me she wanted to save embryos, I was very apprehensive. I did not want to weaken her body before chemotherapy treatment. And most of all, I did not want to delay her cancer treatment. I remember coming to the realization that foregoing embryo preservation would mean we would most likely never have children. For me, it was an easy decision. Giving up on a lifelong dream was easy in comparison to the threat of losing your life partner.
However, like most disagreements, EmBen won, convincing me that undergoing fertility treatment would assist her emotionally in the fight against cancer. Our nine embryos were frozen in July of 2012, and remained so as she underwent her vast array of treatments.
Although EmBen always remained positive about children in our future, I was honestly doubtful. With surgery typically not an option for Stage IV lung cancer, it appeared that chronic, lifelong treatment would be our best-case scenario. Beyond that, clearance from doctors to have babies would most likely never come. Even after her surgery, I remained pessimistic, believing children would be too taxing and too damaging to her health. But like always, EmBen proved all doubts wrong.
In 2012 I remember writing, after the San Francisco Gala, that the ALCF (Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation) had provided us hope. There was a huge mountain in front of us to clear, but the ALCF had started us on the upward climb. We’ve been on the ascent for the past three years. And although the climb never stops with cancer, I can’t help but reflect that I am now on a plane descending into Kentucky to meet our two baby girls.
Thanks to EmBen’s courage, determination, and endless fight, I will be a dad. And although she’s all I need, she is giving me the gift of a lifetime.