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.