I almost didn’t write this post. At the beginning of the week I was ready to cash out and say, “No more!” After my niece’s service last weekend I was ready to head into this final push before the holidays when I got yet another call I hoped to never receive. Ugh.
My brother (4 years younger than me) had Burkitt’s Lymphoma about 11 years ago. It was horrible and he was so sick spending the better part of 6 months in the hospital on high does chemo. A few times I thought we’d lose him.
Fast forward 11 years and thinking his cancer has been cured. My phone rings and he tells me his cancer is back and he has just come from a liver biopsy. He has an abdominal mass that is 22cm x 13cm x 9cm and spots on his liver. I practically dropped to the floor. How could this happen and why so soon after my niece’s death?
The kicker is that he has been dealing with this for more than a month and had not wanted to tell us until after my nieces’s service. He had some pain in his lower left abdomen and went to the doctor. They thought it was possibly a kidney stone but a CT scan confirmed it was not. The doctor called to tell him it was cancer while he was driving. My brother pulled over (he’s a Deputy Sheriff btw) then turned around and went straight to his oncologist.
On Wednesday he met with his oncologist and found out it was not a return of his Burkitt’s but it was rare cancer and they needed to conduct more tests on the sample from the biopsy. More waiting. If you’ve ever been in this position you know hours feel like months. I had made the decision we should just cancel Christmas. How can we celebrate with this hanging over our heads? A tumor is one thing but when your liver is involved it takes on a whole new set of concerns.
After his appointment he and his family joined the rest of us at my mom’s so we could all hear the news (or lack of). As we talked we felt a little bit better but figured we had a long way to go to get some answers. We talked about what to do next? Christmas or no Christmas? We decided to move forward and take things day by day, hour by hour if needed.
Thursday morning (yesterday) I got a call at 8:20am from my brother telling me his oncologist just got off the phone with him. What he has is called a GIST and they are treating it with a pill and radiation. He may need surgery but right now they need to shrink it. They will address the liver as well. In 3 weeks his doctor will present his case to the tumor board for review. The oncologist told him this is not fatal and that he will live a long time. Music to our ears although I am hesitant. He still needs more test and scans but for right now, we are relieved.
This my friends, our answered prayer, is my one special Friday Favorite this week!
So yes, it seems a dark cloud has hung over my family for a spell but life is all about what you make of it and I choose to make the best of it. Maybe we needed this to happen as a reminder to not lose perspective or faith? I’m not sure but I am GRATEFUL.