So the court hearing didn’t exactly happen… Well it didn’t happen at all but there were people there who had written letters and were prepared to testify that I have done everything necessary, taken whatever precautions that the doctors recommended and then some to try to be as responsible as a dad I can under the circumstances. It was my impression that my exes attorney was less than well informed about my medical condition. The letter from Duke was obviously helpful. They tried to get me to sign an agreement that I would sign away custody if I was every found collapsed again. They asked that I would sign a release giving them access to all my medical records so they could have it reviewed independently by another doctor to see if I was fit to parent. The short version is that the answer to that was obviously absolutely not because quack doctors are found everywhere who could weigh in. They still are hoping to have a Federal HIPPA law overruled by a judge somewhere down the line but we weren’t going to sign off on it.
It was amusing for them to argue that my pushing my exes boyfriend was due to my medical condition but let’s be frank… some people were surprised it hadn’t happened earlier and let’s be clear, it was therapeutic but if nothing else shows my discipline, I’d never gotten anywhere near that level of losing my temper until I was within my legal rights to do so. Anyone who thinks my moral rights weren’t crossed long ago has different morals than I do. It might have helped that my attorney literally had the picture of me next to my mother and next to his mother after the surgery to explain to a judge why there might be some tension. An explanation attempt was made that because of the tension between Kiana’s mother and is why she brought company but of course anyone who thinks that would be relieved by bringing her boyfriend lives in a different reality than most people.
There were about 14 people there ready to testify about my parenting skills and even my exes attorney stated that we aren’t saying you’re a bad father. I didn’t say anything but what I wanted to say was, no I’m a grate father but you know I wanted to say it a little less eloquently.
In the end the attorneys agreed to draft a document that felt like winning on all accounts. It hasn’t been written or signed but the agreement verbally that day was that we would go to counseling (something that I hope and pray happens because no matter what the past is, we’re stuck with each other), that Kiana’s mom was welcome to bring anyone she wanted any time she wanted with the exception of one person, and that less of our finances will be run through each other but rather will be run through formal institution. I hope and trust this lets us focus on the bigger picture, somehow finding a way to coparent and raise our child.
In the end, I walked away feeling that due to the Duke appointments being set so far away, that this court while it’s not yet concluded because other than emergency hearings these things take months, that cancer is in no way an emergency in my life.
From there I went home and while some of the people who had come to the hearing offered to take me out to eat, I wanted to make sure to get to my daughter’s first track and field day. Court sessions drag out and so I only caught the final event, the dance off. You better believe I danced like no one was watching. My mom and I went to the Livestrong gala. The video was supposed to be shown but due to technical difficulties none of them were shown L. Still, there were a few people who told me they had seen it and thanked me for it, still an awkward feeling. Still, the day before, I had gone to a conference where different organizations were present about how to better mix the balance of competition and collaboration between the different organizations dealing with cancer. I myself am an athlete that realizes that you have to have both elements in order for things to be at their best and where the balance of that is… I don’t know.
All other things aside, what I talked about the most at the Gala was my mom doing her first half marathon at sixty. Michael J. Fox said after his illness that “Family isn’t an important thing, it’s everything.” I would expand that to include friends but I am glad that this has given me ‘awareness’ of that.