Always The Hero

This site is for my love -- a retired volunteer firefighter from upstate New York, now facing the battle of his life against lymphoma. I met him after he had started his chemotherapy treatments (which he is about 6 months in) and each week, each month I keep waiting to hear no more treatments needed. I will support him each and every time he goes for a treatment, hound him to make sure he is eating right (which he does anyway), make sure he gets enough rest (which he doesn't), and sit in wonderment at his selflessness each and every day.

He has recently started sending emails regarding his Chemo treatments, which detail his days, his encounters with "Bertha", the German head nurse you don't dare cross, and his visits with other patients at the center.

In one email he writes of him sitting with a “ Viejita” surprising her that he is bilingual. Sharing Mexican recipes (in addition to being a firefighter, he is also a trained chef),singing Tejano music together, and sharing a smile, and comfort with a scared, sad elderly woman.

In another, he details his encounter with a Navy veteran, having served in the Korean Conflict. A lonely ol’ “Tin Can Sailor” as he called him, just like his dad. They looked at pages of the Sailor’s ship together, and listened to the Sailor’s stories. Good memories and bad, and eventually laughter.

Laughter and smiles--in the scariest place you can be emotionally. This is what makes my love a hero to me. He has taught me the meaning of grace under pressure, and reinvigorated my faith in humanity. As long as there are people like him on the face of the earth, we still stand a chance as a human race. As he said in the email "There is 'crap time' and 'fun time', I choose the latter." He has shown to me life is for living, and anything worth living for is worth fighting for. That’s the firefighter’s way.

He has been blessed he does not suffer from some of the horrific side effects that can happen. We both wonder what that means… are the treatments working? His blood work comes back good. We have questions, but there is hope. Sure there are good days and not so good days, there are side effects, but he refuses to let them get in his way of living, and of sharing the joy of living with others.

I'll let him tell his story in his own words. I love you, baby. You are my inspiration.


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