I briefly mentioned in this post here Thank You Dad about much it meant to have my dad with me as I participated in my second year of Get Your Guts in Gear. For those of you who have never heard of the event before, GYGIG is a non profit organization that holds two multi day bike rides that raises money for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis). Prior to the weekend, I wrote a post here about how much this weekend changed my life so having my dad join me this year was an experience I wasn’t really prepared for… in a good way!
I have spoken a lot about how traumatizing going through all that I have been was for me and consequently, developed PTSD from it all. I honestly am just starting to be able to go into New York City (as long as I know beforehand I won’t be in the vicinity of Mt. Sinai Hospital) and still despise being there. Throughout everything, my parents have kept me sane throughout so much turmoil. My mom stayed with me during the day whenever I was in the hospital and then my dad would come and be with me overnight right after work so I wouldn’t have to be alone. Out of the almost 350 nights I have had to spend in the hospital, my dad has stayed overnight with me 349 of them. The night he wasn’t there all hell broke loose. I believe the head of cardiology was called and I was almost prepped for emergency surgery until they realized the moron did the EKG incorrectly (not kidding.) But regardless, my dad is the reason I survived so many nights in the “torture chamber,” as referred to in this post here Hospital Stays Are Not Like They Seem
My dad and I are probably the closest father and daughter you will ever meet. We always had a special bond but I do know me getting sick caused our relationship to change drastically. It forced me to lean on him a lot more than I know I would have had I never been diagnosed with such a physically and emotionally debilitating illness. It also allowed me to see that if my parents did not have such a solid foundation, my family would not have been able to get through the multitude of challenges that were thrown our way. My dad has always been and will always be my best friend and hero. He is the person I go to when I need to fall apart and have a good cry, or when I need to just get lost in humor. No matter what the situation, my dad has always been there for me.
Having my dad ride 150 miles over two days for me and the other 1.4 million people who suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis meant more to me than I think he will ever realize. I have been feeling like our relationship had been based on only doing things together that were negative (going to doctors appointments, being in the hospital, etc) so to be away together and doing something positive with a bunch of inspiring people who were all there to make a difference for themselves or for their loved ones was an amazing feeling. I was not only so grateful that he was present at the event, but also just so proud of him for what he was able to accomplish.
My dad does it all. He has juggled work and financial challenges, a daughter who has been ill since the age of 13, has maintained a wonderful marriage to my mom for 33 years, been a loving father to my brother, is an amazing friend to so many, an athlete, a brother, a son…. All while managing to maintain the “happy go lucky” mentality I admire in my dog, Phoebe. J
You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me