A Lesson Learned From My Father: The Three Cs

Last Week's Blog > "Postpartum Depression: PART 2"

In honor of Father's Day, the "Ay, Mama!" daddies are sharing their stories. Today, my husband, Steve, talks about his struggles with Atia's ALL leukemia diagnosis and a lesson from the past that helped pull him through.

It's the weekend before Father's day and we are in Florida trying to enjoy a little weekend getaway with my family when Atia develops a temperature. We watch it rise from 99.8 to 100.8.Instead of trying to enjoy our last night on vacation, we are debating whether or not to take her to the emergency room (if she stays above 100.5 we're supposed to bring her in). We decide to wait and see how her fever progresses, knowing that if we go to the emergency room, there's a good probability that she'll be hospitalized for at least a week...

I have to say, fatherhood has been a bit harder than I expected. Before having Atia, my experience with children was minimal, to say the least; I only babysat once in my entire life and I never changed a diaper.

So, to have my daughter face a life threatening disease like ALL leukemia was unimaginable. Her diagnosis prompted difficult medical decisions and her hospital stays created stressful situations.

Balancing work and hospital visits was a challenge. My days consisted of visits in the mornings, 8 hour work days, then evening visits. I can honestly admit that I was exhausted.

I'm a contract consultant and I only get paid for the hours I work; therefore, I found myself caught between working enough hours to make ends meet and spending enough time with my child in case she didn't survive her illness.

To cope I would often refer to something my dad would say whenever I was stressed. He'd say "Steve, when things get tough just practice the three Cs - be cool, calm and collected" (as a regional sales manager, it's one of the things he used to say to his sales staff, especially when they were under immense pressure to meet sales goals).

He always gave incredible advice and I could have really used his support, strength and wisdom while I was dealing with the unknown of Atia's illness (my father passed away 2 years ago after a courageous 6 month battle with thyroid cancer).

These days, Atia is doing great except for an occasional issue here and there like the other night. I'm still exhausted but that has to do more with an 8-month old that STILL won't sleep through the night rather than Atia's condition.

I know as time goes on other obstacles will emerge, but I'll continue to keep my dad's "three Cs" in mind when the going gets tough. Happy Father's Day to all the hard working, dedicated fathers out there. It certainly can be a challenge some days.

 In loving memory of my dad, Anatoly (Tony) Lutarewych who passed away June 26, 2008 and Laura's dad, Gregory (Greg) Bobek, who passed away suddenly on January 16, 2009 - only 6 months after my dad and 3 months before Atia's ALL diagnosis.


Next Week's Blog > "Exclusive Premiere Event: The Rally for Kids with Cancer Scavenger Cup" 





Leave a comment
  • Thank you for sharing your story. Dads have a very tough balancing act between work, the kids, their spouse, work around the house and their own time. Your life had a whole other element added to it. Happy Father's Day!

  • In reply to LisaWitek:

    Lisa - thanks for the kind comment. It's true; Steve really had it tough during the difficult months following Atia's diagnosis. I don't know how he was able to continue working during the day (at a demanding job) and then spend as much time with us in the hospital morning and night. He certainly didn't get much sleep. He's my hero and my rock! I'm lucky to have him and my children are too. Happy Father's day to Ken!

  • That was awesome and what a beautiful tribute to your Dad, Steve

  • In reply to kmccarron:

    Thanks, Kelley! We (Steve and I) were so grateful to have the opportunity to pay homage to our dads. Father's day is a happy day for our family laced with sadness since losing both of our fathers within 6 months of one another - especially since they both appeared to be completely healthy just months before. The picture of me hugging my dad (the last one) always brings tears to my eyes. Just looking at it, I can feel the love and remember that EXACT moment.

  • In reply to llutarewych:

    Oh and Happy Father's day to Scott!

  • Beautiful tribute, Steve. What a frightening experience for you all, with everything going on, but you are so...cool, calm and collected. You are a good son who listens to important advice. You are also a pillar for your kids.

  • In reply to anitarudite:

    Anita - I couldn't agree more. I don't know what I'd do without Steve. Our children are very blessed to have him and that he had such a wonderful father who molded him to be the man he is today; of course, his mom had a lot to do with that too! :)

  • In reply to anitarudite:

    Happy Father's Day to Tony!

Leave a comment