Its been over a month since I returned from speaking in Germany and the events of that trip are still making news. I actually came down with a horrible pneumonia and was in bed for over two weeks. I had to take three courses of antibiotics and I'm still using an inhaler, but I'm over the worst part, finally.
A reporter from Germany flew to the states and interviewed both me and Erin Brockovich for an upcoming story. That interview was unlike any other I've done since I embarked on a journey against Essure with my e-sisters. We sat in my living room with our shoes off eating pretzels. She really wanted to know more about me and what makes me tick. Its actually thoughts of that interview which have me wanting to share more about how I became the fearless one who just doesn't know how to back down from a challenge. I am who I am because of my dad.
He was the product of dirt poor farmers in Batavia, New York. Sadly, he and his siblings ended up in a children's home because his parents couldn't provide for them. As soon as he was able to leave the home, he enlisted in the military, specifically the United States Air Force where he was a Tactical Munitions Specialist. Those are fancy words to describe someone who built and dismantled bombs and designed guns. He served in Vietnam and a few other lesser known conflicts. Basically, anywhere they needed bombs put together, my dad was there. He served in the military for over 20 years and went close to home, Cheektowaga, New York, to live after he retired.
In June of 2002, my dad started complaining of headaches. A few short months later, in October, we learned after a battery of tests that the headaches were from a malignant squamous cell tumor in his brain. We were told that he had, at more, three months to live. We lost him in December, and even though we knew it was coming, it was the words he shared with him in those few short months that made the biggest impact on who I am today.
My dad made sure he taught me every life lesson he could think of and I'll never forget anything. Things like know the enemy, don't ever be afraid to stand up for what's right (all of us) even when no one wants to listen; if the doors are closed and the windows are locked, bust them down; sometimes you just have to piss people off to get them to listen; don't ever be afraid of failure; never miss an opportunity to do something for the greater good; be the one to do something that no one else can do because someone has to stand up and do it, and if you don't, no one else will; use your head, but act with your heart.
When I was prepping for Germany and when I stood on the stage, it was my dad's words in my head and all of you in my heart... Without these little lessons from my dad, I would have never been able to learn German in two weeks and give a speech in the lion's den.
Sadly, I wish my dad would have been able to prepare me for the hardest part of giving a speech that has gotten so much attention - how to deal with people who are jealous of the attention I'm suddenly getting. I don't want to be the story; the message is the story and the suffering that Essure has caused is the real story. There are even some who think I'm only in this for me and I can't express how much this actually hurts. I sacrificed so much time away from my family working with a public speaking coach and then working with a German tutor so I could give the speech in German or we wouldn't be heard.
There are actually times I wish I wouldn't have gone to Germany. I wouldn't have to deal with the jealousy, I wouldn't have lost time with my family, and I wouldn't have come back with a pneumonia that left me sick for weeks and using an inhaler. The sacrifices I made are huge and its disappointing to see how ungrateful some people are. Then I think of my dad, and another life lesson he taught me - those who really matter will always appreciate what you do for them no matter what.
I wish my dad was here - he'd be the dad wearing an Essure shirt saying that's my girl. Then I close my eyes and just think of him. I can't see him, but I know he's here.
Miss you Dad...