Surviving Kidney Cancer IS Possible! Please read Bob Gallner’s inspiring story!!!


When my father got diagnosed with Clear Cell Renal Carcinoma, I immediately got on Google and researched it. I cannot begin to describe how shocked I was to find out there was a man named, Bob Gallner, who had published a YouTube video to share his battle with the EXACT same cancer that my father had just been diagnosed with. I thought that it was just a coincidence that Bob had the same last name as mine. After talking with my family, I learned he was a cousin of ours. We had just never met! After finding out that we were related, I knew I had to contact him. Bob contacted me almost immediately after I reached out to him and was very open about his battle. Learning about what he went through prepared me for what my father was going to have to go through, and most importantly gave me hope.

I am going to be honest. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I lost all faith and hope. I spent hours upon hours praying that my dad would make it through quadruple bypass, which thankfully he did. However, that is when we found out about the 7cm tumor in his chest wall. I prayed the tumor that they discovered was not cancerous, but it was.  It seemed like my father could never catch a break. He would recover from one surgery, and either need another one, or I would get a phone call that he was back in the emergency room. Why did this amazing person who was a great father, attorney, brother, husband, and friend need to go through these terrible situations? Maybe it was to show us how STRONG he was. Maybe it was to teach my brother and I one last lesson in life, which ended up being the most important lesson. We learned just how strong each of us are during and after these experiences, and life goes on.

Bob’s story – and his outlook on life – made me realize that people need to be strong and always maintain positivity. Even in the darkest moments, something positive can be gained. (It took me a VERY LONG time to understand that.) Although my dad did not have the same outcome as Bob,  there were many other circumstances with his health. If I had to guess, diabetes, kidney failure, gallbladder rupturing (which caused a severe infection), having multiple surgeries in such a short time period, more than likely compromised body. (That is my speculation, as I am not a medical professional.) Most importantly, everyone’s story is different.

I asked Bob if he would be interested in writing a post for this blog, and I was so happy when he emailed me his article! I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to share his story. Bob and I hope that his story will help bring comfort to those either suffering from RCC, or someone caring for a loved one who has RCC.

Please read Bob Gallner’s Story below:

Hi my name is Bob Gallner and I’m a Stage 4 Kidney Cancer Survivor.  Being that March is Kidney Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to share my story and give hope to those that may end up going through this journey.I was originally diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma back in January, 2005.  I really didn’t think much of it at the time and went through the typical routine of a full nephrectomy of my left kidney.  If you really want to get the full story with all the details you can visit a video that me and my son Alex did almost 5 years ago to the day.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njz37DZ0Q28

Like many other patients, kidney cancer doesn’t present with many systems, I happened to be very lucky when they diagnosed me as I was visiting the doctor for something completely unrelated.
After my first surgery and removal of the kidney, my life went back to normal and it wasn’t until 2 years later that another tumor was found in my abdominal area.  I had a second surgery to remove that tumor and once again it was diagnosed as RCC.  It was approximately 3 months after this 2nd occurrence when things began to take a turn for the worse.  A follow up scan showed that I had another metastasis to my liver in late 2007.
At this point I had gone from Stage 1 to Stage 4 where my life was actually being measured in months versus years.  I knew I had to do something and that’s when we began looking at all the treatment options that were available at the time.  This was 2007 when a lot of new drugs were just getting approved and coming on to the market.
I am very fortunate because I didn’t realize at the time just how lucky I was to have found a great team of doctors who cared more about me than their own personal practice as well as conventional wisdom.  I was presented all of my treatment options with IL-2 being the only form of treatment available that could provide a long term durable response.  This is still true today even with all the new drugs on the market.  One of the things I tell patients that may be doing research, “When you choose your doctor, you choose your treatment”  So, do your research first and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I began my treatment with IL-2 back in late 2007 in Miami, FL at Mount Sinai. I was very fortunate as I had a very good response to the treatment and I am currently in complete remission.  The treatment itself was absolutely brutal.  It was one of the reasons my son and I put together the YouTube video so people could hear from an actual survivor but still know what they’re in for.
The hope was that we could help other people that may be going through something similar.
Bringing everything into the present,  let me first mention that I have been very fortunate.  Most of the recurrences that I have had, have been able to be treated surgically.
I have actually had 4 surgeries now as I had another one in March of 2009, shortly after we did the video.  The 3rd one in 2009 was to my liver where  there were a few remaining nodules in my liver that the IL-2 didn’t completely knock out and my doctors thought it would be best to surgically remove them.  I had a pretty complicated procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland with a very experienced liver surgeon who removed about 20% of of my liver.

I had been in complete remission since then until a scan about 2 years ago showed something new in my right lung.  With my history we didn’t take any chances and I had my 4th surgery shortly after where they did a lobectomy of my lung and removed the tumor.  It turned out to be RCC again and once again I am in full remission and am very lucky.

One thing that I mention to everyone I speak to is to get the best possible care you can.  It’s very important to get multiple opinions and feel that you have good communication with your doctors.  It’s also very important that you believe that you can get better.  I think a lot of my success is due to my attitude and of course – luck.

I would also recommend checking out the Kidney Cancer website forum that has great information.  www.kidneycancer.org
One additional word of encouragement I have for people is that there have been major strides over the past 5 years for Kidney Cancer Patients  I attended the annual Kidney Cancer Symposium  a few years ago in Chicago and the encouraging thing is how many new drugs are out there now and the increase in patient survivor rates.  There’s been many milestones achieved in this area in just the past few years – so there are more treatment options available than ever before.
I always make myself available by phone or email.  I am located in Florida, but if you would like to email me any questions or set up a time to talk, I will make the time.  You’ll be in my thoughts for sure.
My email address is rgallner@gmail.com

Brought tears to my eyes


Brought tears to my eyes - click this link to read the story 

Before I go to bed , I wanted to share this amazing story about a father who has battled cancer 3 times, and was just diagnosed with kidney cancer. He made a promise to write his daughter a note for her lunch so that she has one every day until she graduates. That is quite the promise! One of the coolest & sweetest things I have read about in a while. What a great dad!! This is proof that the littlest things mean the most in life! Hopes & prayers go out to him as he battles kidney cancer.

Starting over in 2014


 

I haven’t posted in a while, primarily due to the fact that I needed to privately grieve and process all that occurred over the last year. Things are starting to feel more back to normal, or as normal as it can, without my dad. One of the most important things that I learned while taking time for myself, was being open to talking to people about how I was feeling. Internalizing grief can destroy you. As much guilt and sadness that I have had over losing my dad, the fact is my dad wouldn’t want me to be living my life being miserable and grieving. He always said he just wanted me to be happy. That was all he ever talked about. I am the only one who has the ability to truly make myself happy. It’s up to me to start fresh and live my life like every day is the last day. You never know what tomorrow is going to bring! 2013 was a horrible year, hopefully 2014 is the exact opposite.

If there is anything positive that can be learned from what we experienced while losing my dad,  it would be educating people to be more aware of their health, kidney disease, diabetes, and kidney cancer. Before my dad had his bypass surgery, I did not know much at all about kidney function, dialysis, foods that were not allowed on a dialysis diet. Did you know that dialysis patients have to avoid foods that are high in potassium and phosphorus? Most answer with “No.” Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know that either. For example – say goodbye to eating bananas, tomatoes, just to name a few. My dad had been a diabetic for roughly 20 years. My paternal grandparents suffered from diabetes and kidney issues as well. Unfortunately, my dad was never aware that he had kidney problems, so when we found out after his bypass surgery that he had only forty percent kidney function BEFORE his surgery, and his kidney levels were not regulating, we were all in disbelief. His creatine and BUN levels continued to rise until the decision was made that he had to go on dialysis. If someone had taken a more in depth look at my dad’s health, they would have seen that his creatine and BUN level was abnormal long before he ever had surgery. Maybe my dad’s cancer would have been caught much sooner, maybe he wouldn’t have lost kidney function. All of that is irrelevant now, and the only thing that I can do now is educate others.

The National Kidney Foundation, NKF, has an annual walk every year in May. My family has set up a team in honor of my dad. We are hoping that people will join our team – lets walk for my dad – Shelley Gallner – and help other people prevent kidney disease. My dad LOVED helping other people, and I know that he would be so honored to see his friends and family getting together on his behalf to raise money for a good cause. He may not be able to donate to charities anymore, but my family can carry on his traditions. His generosity will never be forgotten.

I hope that many of you reading this, if you knew my dad, please consider joining “Team Shelley” and walk with us. If you are unable to, we would appreciate it if you would think about donating to either the team page, or to one of our individual pages. No amount is too small. Anything helps. We will be setting up some cool “incentives” in the near future, thanks to our team sponsor, “BigOmahaTickets.com”

Here is a link to our “Team Shelley” page

http://donate.kidney.org/site/TR/Walk/MinnesotatheDakotasampIowa?pg=team&fr_id=6691&team_id=172864

 

 

 

“When I’m Worri…


“When I’m Worried, And I Can’t Sleep, I Count My Blessings Instead of Sheep “

Last year sometime before or after Christmas, I was getting ready to leave my parents home. I had spent the evening watching college basketball upstairs with my dad. College basketball was something that I started watching often with him,  because it was one of the things that he loved watching on tv during the season. As I was giving him a hug, and saying goodnight, he paused and asked me if I had ever heard of the song “Count Your Blessings.” Much to his surprise, I responded with “Yes I have, in fact,  it was on Amy Grant’s last Christmas cd that she had released a few years ago.” I think he was probably surprised that I knew what song he was talking about since our music tastes were quite different. The version he had always listened to was by Bing Crosby. That night he told me he counts his blessings every night while he is going to sleep. From that day forward, “Count Your Blessings,” had a new – and special – meaning for me. I cannot listen to the song now, without picturing my sweet daddy.

It gives me hope hearing him say that he went to bed each night counting his blessings, knowing that he had a tough road a head of him. He never let the difficulties that he was facing bring him down, instead, he rose above and kept moving forward with his life to the best that he could.

Here are the lyrics to the song “Count Your Blessings”

When I’m worried
And I can’t sleep
I count my blessings
Instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting
My blessings
When my bankroll
Is getting small
I think
Of when I had
None at all
And I fall asleep
Counting
My blessings

I think about
A nursery
And I picture
Curly heads
And one by one
I count them
As they slumber
In their beds
If you’re worried
And you can’t sleep
Just count
Your blessings
Instead of sheep
And you’ll
Fall asleep
Counting
Your blessings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1v5aCdiVr0

I am so grateful that I was around my dad so much last year, that I got to hear even the simplest comments that he made. For those who knew him, this story might be  a surprise. I know that, because it was to me.

4 months seems so long ago, yet just like yesterday


I am jumping all the way to the end of my dad’s story, because today marks 4 months that he has been gone. I’ve reflected for most of the day today about my final time with my dad. Thinking back to four months ago – July 12 – I woke up and never thought it was my dad’s last day of life. I was incredibly depressed, stressed, exhausted – both physically & mentally, because it had been almost 2 weeks of practically living at the hospital. I think I got out of bed late in the day because I just didn’t want to face reality for one day. Laying in bed, or sleeping, let me pretend that my dad was not sick, and I didn’t have to accept reality. I have so much regret that I chose that day to stay in bed for most of the day.

I remember telling my mom that I didn’t feel good, because I didn’t want to admit that I was just in bed all day avoiding reality. She had suggested I not come to the hospital, because my dad couldn’t risk getting sick. I ended up getting up, and going to eat with Justin before we went to the hospital, because he insisted I needed to eat. (Throughout the course of my dad’s illness, I would often forget to eat, or simply not have an appetite due to worrying about everything that I had absolutely no control over.) We went to Old Chicago, which was close to the hospital. By the time we got done it was around 6:30-7:00pm.

Justin and I went to the hospital to see my dad after dinner, and when I walked into the room there was a book on the bedside table. “Gone From My Sight,” was a short book that hospice had left for my family to read. I was internally freaking out, but trying not to let it show because I couldn’t let my dad see me scared. I was a bit confused why the book was there, I did not realize that it really was the end of his battle with cancer. We had thought through certain moments within his hospital stay that there were chances we may lose him, but I never actually thought it was going to happen, let alone that night.

My brother left shortly after I got there, and it was just mom, Justin, and I sitting around my dad. After a little while, maybe 15-20 minutes, my dad told us all to leave and that the wanted to go to sleep. Something inside me told me the inevitable was going to happen, but I kept trying to convince myself that I was overreacting. My mom and Justin kept telling me to respect my dad’s wishes and leave, but I had a bad feeling. They left the room and I stayed to have some alone time with my dad. I asked him if he wanted me to stay , he responded with nodding his head to say “yes.” He followed the  “yes” with “I love you so much.” Hearing him say, “I love you so much,” something about that moment confirmed what I had already felt was going to happen. I stayed in his room for a while and just sat there holding his hand and staring at him, and continuously asking if he needed anything, and saying I love you. I did not want to leave, at all. When the nurses came in to take his vitals, they told me the vitals were good, and so I decided to leave. I had a very unsettling feeling , however I know my dad wanted to go to sleep. As I left the room, he told me to come back early in the morning around 7:00 am before he was scheduled for dialysis.

On my way home, just as I was about to get home, a weird feeling came over me and I felt that my dad had died. I glanced at what time it was. I got home, but didn’t get ready for bed like I normally would have. I actually sat down in my hallway and read the book from hospice, “Gone From My Sight.” Why I chose to sit down and read that short book immediately after getting home is beyond me. As I read it, I could relate every symptom of actively dying to my dad. Just as I finished reading the book, Justin called me and told me that my mom had called him to come pick me up to go back to the hospital. I said no, that I would meet him there, because otherwise it would take to long. We didn’t know what was going on, because my mom didn’t say.

I vividly remember driving – speeding – to the hospital, I pulled up right as Justin pulled up. We went through the emergency room entrance because we thought the main entrance was already closed. My mom and Uncle Gary were in the main entrance waiting for us, they didn’t realize we were going in through the ER entrance. We took the elevators closest to the ER up to my dads floor, and I just almost ran down to his room, I wanted to get there as fast as possible. As we turned the corner to his room, the chaplain was leaving his room, and there was a flower on the door. I think I looked at Justin with the most horrified look because my worst fear had happened/was happening. He tried holding me back and I ran into the room. My dad was gone. The “rock” of my whole life was gone. I think I was in shock because I couldn’t accept that he was gone. I just kept thinking this is not happening. I truly didn’t know how to comprehend that I didn’t have my dad in my world anymore. I also realized that when I had the premonition of his passing, he actually did pass away around that time. God works in mysterious ways and sends signs/messages if you pay attention. It may have slightly prepared me, having the premonition that he had passed away. Why else would I have immediately sat down and read that book, instead of getting ready for bed like I normally would have done?

I learned in that moment at the hospital that life is such a precious gift, because in a fleeting second, it can be taken away. I also realized that I never had a “final” conversation with my dad and I never told him how much I appreciated his love, generosity, forgiveness, and just his sense of being present, and being my dad for 28 years. I know he knew I loved him, but I regret not accepting the inevitable and taking advantage of the time that I had with him to tell him how much he truly meant to me. I also carry around this guilt that I shouldn’t have left the hospital that night. People respond with, “He waited till you left,” but that honestly does not make me feel better. I should have stayed with him, but there is nothing I can do now to change the past. I have to move forward and rebuild my life, because life keeps going on. – Plus, my dad would be furious if I didn’t move on.

My reason for writing this in-depth description of the night my dad died, isn’t to necessarily relive the night. It is a night I will never forget, but most of the time, I want to forget what transpired after I left the hospital when my dad was still alive. This blog post is to try and get across a message that many people often tend to forget – Please enjoy and cherish the time that you have with family and friends, because there is no way of knowing when it will be the last time you see someone. Don’t skimp on saying “I love you,” because it may be the last time you get to tell that to someone – don’t skimp on the hugs either. Everyone can always use a hug. I’ve noticed people don’t hug others as much as they used to. A simple hug could make someone’s day “that” much better. That is one of the things I miss the most from my dad. He would always randomly give me hugs and tell me he loved me. Appreciate all the little moments that you have with someone. It doesn’t have to be the big events that you share with people, it can simply be a moment where you are sitting on the couch watching television. Just being in the presence of others should be something that is appreciated, instead of being taken for granted.

Family and friends are so important. If there is any other advice I can give from this posting, it would be to tell a friend “thank you” for just simply being a friend. I do not know how I would have gotten through these last four months without the support and love from my friends and family. I still have hard days, but I’m able to get through them with all of the people around me. True friends and family stay by you through thick and thin, in hard time and in good times. They won’t judge you if you have to have a mini breakdown on the phone for a couple hours one night, or if you have an angry moment because you don’t understand why things in life happened the way that they did. Luckily, I am blessed with a few of those in my life, and I thank each of you (you know who you are) for being there for me.

July 12, 2013 was an end to a part of my life, and a beginning for another. I know that my dad is in heaven watching down on me and that he will always be my guardian angel until the day that we meet again.

My parents and I when I was little

My parents and I when I was little

My dad and I through the years
My dad and I through the years

How the word “But…” Changed Our Lives Forever


Early last November, after urging my dad to see a cardiologist, he was told that he would need to have bypass surgery – very soon. I remember thinking how strange it was that my dad was going to have surgery at the end of the month. During all the years of my childhood, I cannot think of a time where he was ill. Maybe a cold, every now and then, but nothing that would make him unable to go to work. Working was my dad’s life, and he enjoyed it immensely. Aside from family being his first priority, his clients were his second. He didn’t work as hard as he did to make any money, he did it because he genuinely cared for his clients. My dad, being his workaholic self, was more worried about scheduling his bypass and it affecting his clients, than he was himself. All of his questions revolved around, “When can I go back to work?” He even thought he would be able to work from the hospital, because he simply did not want to let his clients down. Now that is truly a loyal attorney!

After the surgery was scheduled for November 30, I believe my parents, brother, and I were faced with the real possibility of what could happen during the surgery. We all began spending more time together. My dad and I went to a Creighton Basketball game, which ended up being the last game that he went to. I am so glad that i got to go see one last game with him, as it had been his tradition with my brother and I for years. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and appreciated the time together as a family. It will always be the most memorable Thanksgiving to me. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks, and opened my eyes as to what was important in life. NOTHING is more important than your family. I started clinging to my dad, and wanted to be with him and take as many pictures together as I could. – Which probably drove him nuts, because he hated my constant persistence  with capturing everything on film. I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked with all of us before the surgery, but at least I was lucky enough to work with him every day at his office, and those memories will forever be in my heart.

My dad and I at his office, after our Sunday breakfast - less than a week before he had bypass.

My dad and I at his office, after our Sunday breakfast – less than a week before he had bypass.

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

The day before his surgery, he and I left his office around the same time. I remember thinking to myself as I watched him leave, with tears starting to build up in my eyes, that this could be the last time I see my dad walk out of here as the person that I’ve known him to be. We went to dinner that night, and I could tell he was nervous. Who wouldn’t be? I get nervous by simply going to the dentist. I couldn’t imagine facing quadruple bypass. I didn’t let it show that I was so scared for him, instead I had to be strong for him! I couldn’t sleep that whole night. I was scared – plus nervous that I would over sleep, but most of all I just wanted everything to be over, and my dad to be ok. I needed to see my dad before he went into surgery, so I arrived at the hospital around 5 AM. (For those that know me, I am sure you are shocked that I woke up at 4 that morning!) My mom, brother, and I took turns going into the pre-op room talking to him and trying to distract him so that he wasn’t nervous. I will never forget that the ceiling in the pre-op area had these twinkling lights on the ceiling. When you are in the hospital with a loved one, its strange what you remember. Once the medical staff had us leave the pre-op area, we began our very long wait.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that I am NOT a patient person. 7:00am – 3:30pm seemed like the longest hours of my life. We had friends and family in the waiting room, and I honestly cannot tell you what any of them talked about that day, or who all was there, because I just kept staring at the television screen that had his patient number with his status. I remember people trying to get me to eat, I simply just did not want to do anything. I just wanted to know that my dad made it through and was ok.  A huge relief rushed over me around 3:00-3:00 when that television screen finally showed “recovery.” Around 3:30pm, the doctor came out and took us into a room. My dad had made it through his bypass and was doing well. Then came the infamous “but..” I literally at that moment felt like life had stopped. If he was ok, then why was this doctor starting off a sentence with “but..?” During the surgery they had found a tumor within his chest wall, and the initial flash test was benign. It had been sent off for further testing in the lab, which would take a few days for those results to come back. I had been so scared that my dad wasn’t going to make it through the bypass surgery, it never crossed my mind that they would find something else.

All that I remember after that, is making a bolt for the elevator because I needed to go outside and get some air, and break down where no one could see me. I was so angry. How could this be happening to my dad? He just had quadruple bypass. It was just supposed to be heart surgery. I am the one who urged him to go see a cardiologist. What if the tests result came back with a cancer diagnosis? My world changed in that consult room, when the doctor mentioned the word tumor. I just wanted to see my dad at that point. Nothing else mattered.

I finally was able to see him in the ICU as he was coming off of the anesthesia, and he was being quite the jokester. To all of our surprise, he was not in horrible amounts of pain, because due to the diabetes, the nerves around the incision sites were damaged. That comforted me, because that would make recovering much easier. I still could not get the thoughts of the tumor out of my mind though. It was all I was thinking about. I was at the hospital early the following morning, and by that time, they had told him about the tumor. I couldn’t bring myself to bring it up to him, because if I didn’t mention it, it almost did not seem like it was real. He did not bring it up to me either. It began to consume my thoughts, and I started researching what type of tumor would be in the chest wall. There were so many that it was hard to narrow it down to a specific one, especially not knowing if it was benign or malignant.

I believe it was the following Tuesday, December 4, that my worst nightmare came true. I was sitting on the window ledge, drinking some coffee  and kind of looking around the room. I heard my Uncle Mike ask my dad if he found out anything from the labs. My dad nodded his head to say “yes.” The next question my uncle asked was, “Is it cancer?” That was also followed up by my dad nodding his head, “yes.” In that second, I didn’t even know what to do, say, think, and to top it off, they did not know that I had just heard this. I think I sent my mom a text because she was across from me, and she and my Uncle Gary took me into the hall and told me. At that point they did not know what kind of cancer it was for sure. More tests needed to be done, most importantly a CT Scan, which uses iodine. Since he had low kidney function before the bypass surgery, and even lower after the bypass, they had to be careful with the amount of iodine that my dad was given, as it is hard for the kidneys to flush out.

Everyone in my family was upset, but we had to pull it together and be positive for my dad. We did not want my dad to know how terrified we all were. I was freaking out inside and just wanted to cry, scream, and blame someone for what was happening to my dad. As scared as I was, he had to have been one hundred times more scared. His world had literally just been torn apart. The only thing, at that time, I could do for my dad, was be there for him and let him know how much I loved him. I continuously sat next to him, rotating breaks between my mom, brother, and both of my uncles. We were all in a state of shock and wondering how all of us were going to get through this.

In the short time period between November 30 – December 4, our lives were forever changed and were never going to go back to how things were before. We had to adjust to what would become a roller coaster – both mentally & physically.

You never know what is going to happen tomorrow, so always appreciate each and every day. Most importantly tell the ones you love, that you love them, never let it go unsaid. 

Let me begin this blog by introducing you to my father


Dad & Me - 2011

Dad & Me – September, 2011

My father, Sheldon, or Shelley as he would often go by, was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He and his two brothers ended up becoming attorneys. My grandparents must have done something pretty impressive to have all three children attend law school. I wish they were around so I can ask them! Not only did they raise three attorneys, they raised the best dad anyone could ever have. My dad was a remarkable father, husband, brother, friend, and last but not least, he was a fabulous attorney. His specialty was workers’ compensation. He started out his career within the legal field in 1974, opening Gallner & Gallner Law Firm with my Uncle Mike. Around that same time, he published a book, ” Pro Sports: The Contract Game,” which was later used as a textbook. Around that time, my grandmother, passed away due to diabetes and kidney failure.

Back in the eighties, my dad met my mom , and they were married shortly afterwards. Luckily for them, actually I was the lucky one, I arrived a year later. I was the first child for my parents, thus making me the oldest, and the most difficult child since I liked to do everything I was told not to do. My brother was born 4 and a half years later. He had to love my opposite way of thinking because he was able to get through his teen years sneaking under the radar. ( We actually were not that difficult, we just had our moments. Actually, it was probably me who had the moments, haha)

My relationship was very different from my brothers relationship with our dad. The relationship that he had with my dad is the same relationship that I have with my mom, best friends. My relationship with my dad was being “Daddy’s little girl.” – until I was 28, which I will talk more about later on. He did everything he could for his family, because his ultimate goal was to bring happiness to us. I don’t know if he ever knew how much his generosity meant to me. I became a daughter with very little words as he started to decline, I did not know how to process what was happening, nor did I want to admit that I was going to have to say goodbye to one of the two most important people in my life. (Second one is my mom, incase anyone was wondering!)

Around 1998-1999, he opened the Law Offices of Sheldon Gallner, which later became Gallner & Pattermann Law Firm somewhere around 2001-2002. I was fortunate enough to work at the firm occasionally during summer breaks, and off and on for a couple of years. A few years ago, my dad hired me full-time to deal with a lot of the businesses that dealt with the advertising spectrum of the office. It was very social media related. I LOVED that part of my job, and it was really honored that he trusted I would make appropriate decisions, – Although he still had to give final approval! Overall, I was just happy to be working with my dad – to top it off – my office was right next door to his. In the few years of me being in the office next door to him, we grew a lot closer. I believe as children get older they tend to grow apart from family. This time with my dad brought us closer than we had been in a while.

August 31, 2012 was the beginning of my family’s worst nightmare, but the start of my immediate family becoming closer than all four of us had ever been. This is the main reason I am glad I was around my dad consistently, I was able to detect that something was not ok with him. We were celebrating my birthday at the office a day early since my birthday was on a Saturday. My dad left early saying he didn’t feel good. Later, I found out he was having some difficulty breathing. I did not care that it was my birthday, which was my dads reasoning for insisting he was ok. I knew deep down something was wrong.

After a week of talking with family and friends, I told my dad I was making him an appointment with a cardiologist. I also told him that I did not care how mad he would be at me, I was making him go. Making that decision for my dad is a decision I often look back on and wonder,  “Would it have been better if I had not gotten involved?” It is a personal struggle that I have with myself, because what happened afterwards has left me with a lot of guilt. I often notice myself thinking, “What if I had made him go see a doctor sooner?” “Did my insistence on him seeing a doctor end up causing him suffering for the last part of his life?” These questions are always followed up with “You saved his life,” “You gave him more time,” or the most common response, “It is not your fault.” People can tell me all of these things over-and-over, but until I want to fully accept that I did everything I could for my dad, the words bounce right off me.

I have two reasons why I am starting this blog. The first purpose of this blog is not to relive the most painful year of our lives. I am opening up to share it with others, with the hope that someone who may be going through something similar, can take my advice on things that I wish I had done – or things that I wouldn’t have done. Maybe there is someone dealing with a similar situation who may bring some insight into my life. Secondly, I want to shed some light on clear cell renal carcinoma, because unless you are specifically looking online for information about it, it is not a widely promoted cancer. It is also one of the hardest to detect, and is often caught too late.

I’m going to end this post before I start telling my whole experience, and leave that for the next update.

20131029-010940.jpg