A while back I mentioned that my brother was diagnosed with colon cancer. A lot has happened since that time but I've not mentioned it since as it was and still is an ongoing battle for him.
Immediately after the tumor was found, his operation to remove it was scheduled for the following week. I stood by the phone that day in anticipation of any news that would come my way and sometime around noon I finally received word that he had made it out of surgery and was doing well. As I exhaled a sigh of relief for him making it past the first step in this process I began scheduling my trip back to PA in order to visit family that weekend.
Friday evening rolled around and I planned on picking up the kids, running home to finish packing the car, feed the kids, say goodby to Bill and hit the road by 6:30pm for the 5 hour drive ahead. Unfortunately after a phone call with a family member my plans were altered. Tests results from the tumor that was removed were delivered that day and the news wasn't good. There was cancer in 9 of 13 lymph nodes and he had stage 4 cancer.
I quickly placed a call to Bill at work with the news and he decided to head back with me as well. We both decided that if there was nothing else that we could do for him we at least wanted him to know that we were both there supporting every decision that he and my sister-in-law would be making and to give them our love and support along the way.
Dan was doing really well by the time we got to see him Saturday afternoon and was discharged the following day. The best that we could do for him was to deliver balloons to his room displaying just how much we loved him, in writing..."Congratulations on the sex change operation". (Can't lose your sense of humor through adversity, right?)
I also got a chance to visit with my Grandfather who had been in the hospital earlier that week as well with heart problems. All in all, it was a nice weekend. Far too quick as usual but it's always good to visit with everyone any chance I can get.
The weeks passed for Dan and other than a blood clot in his leg, he healed quickly. The best news of all came to us last week when it was determined that there was no cancer, anywhere, in his body. Take a minute to let that sink in...because remember earlier...stage 4 cancer!!??!!
To think that this was possible when the earlier diagnosis was delivered is by far the understatement of the year. Does anyone ever receive news like that after a stage 4 diagnosis? So whether the doctors did a fabulous job or there was help from a spiritual side is not for me to decide. All that I can say for sure is that I am so happy for him. The roller coaster ride that I'm sure he was on has leveled out to a steady ride of chemo treatments to ensure that any undetected cancer in his blood is eliminated has begun.
And while his fight is far from over, it's nice to know that he has fought hard and has won every round so far. He'll keep fighting hard too. I know he will because that's just who he is. His spirit, personality and upbeat attitude are something that I admire a lot. And I'm proud to call him my big brother.