First I want to begin by saying thank you to everyone that has become a member of the website or has just gotten on to read each and every blog that gets put out. Thank you for every share to a friend or family member.
Now I am writing this to give you a different perspective. I want you to think about this scenario. Think about being 621 miles from your only sibling. Your little brother. Good times, bad times, got along, didn't get along. Possibilities, opportunities, hopes and dreams. 40 years of having this constant in your life. Always there, even not in the same house, same state, just a text, phone call, or What's App away. What happens when you get the phone call that says, "Hey got something to talk you about, don't say anything to anybody. I am not really sure if it is anything but I have a sore on my tongue and they are sending me to get some tests run on it to see what it is. Should I tell Mom and Dad? What do I do next? I won't know any results for at least 7 - 10 days." What advice do you give? What do yo do when you get that call? What do you feel? How will you react?
I hope no one has to experience that ever in their life. Unfortunately I did. I felt like it was important to give you a brothers perspective. You read every week what it is like from the patient's point of view. I am going to give you the initial feelings from a siblings point of view. It is going to real, not always sugary and sometimes very raw.
So here you go. The first thing that happens is that you feel like someone kicked you straight in the gut. And then the worst thoughts you can ever imagine start to creep in. What am I going to do if the worst happens? Who do I call or text when I need to talk? Who do I turn to when I need to have a brother to brother discussion or run thoughts by someone? Who is going to take my side when my kids say something that I know he is going to crack jokes on them forever about? That brotherly relationship that we have is different than any other relationship there is. Then you start to think about reality. The brotherly protector comes out. Who helps Pamela if D is not there, and who helps the kids and teaches them about life and who is there to do the things that D would do? You become overwhelmed with emotion and all the what if scenarios that your mind can come up with. It is truly amazing how nonsensical and illogical the scenarios can become. Rational is not in your vocabulary at this moment in time. All because of this one word....CANCER.
Ok. Lets take a deep breath for minute. Remember, there is no diagnosis at this point, just a possible maybe it could be and this is automatically where your mind goes. UNACCEPTABLE. I told myself, get that out of the way now because that is not going to help anyone. So all I can do is talk to my brother as much as I can and not focus on the test results because that is all he is focused on right now and the waiting (a word I despise) for answers. I tried to feed the positivity to him. I started down the path of helping him train his mental toughness for the potential situation ahead.
Then I get the call we have all (Derek, Pamela, Lucretia, and I) been dreading for a week, Derek called and said I got my results. Now I am not sure what number in line I am as far as notification. Pamela is with Derek so I may be number 3 person to know what is going on, so understand the emotion is very raw. Derek is so upset that he almost can not get the words out of his mouth. I sat silently on the phone because I knew what was coming. Then he said, "IT IS CANCER". MY heart dropped for about 20 seconds. I sat on the phone processing those words and I listened to my brother lose it and all the weight and the emotion crash down. Remember what I said earlier, 40 years, after 40 years I know this guy. Ask anyone that knows us and the bond that we have is a different bond. It always has been. We have never been afraid to show emotion or to tell each other, "I love you". We never perceived that as weak. It was always real. I knew what he needed in this moment. He did not need someone to cry on the phone he needed his older brother not to pat him on the back but to give him what he needed. I told him the only thing that was in my heart and I said, "take today and let all of your emotion out, because when tomorrow comes it is time to LACE THOSE M*^%*(&F@$%&$# UP and fight." And I meant that 100%. It was not going to get him anywhere to be sad about it. What was done is done and now it was time to fight. Time to fight to avoid all of those bad things that I thought about initially that I knew had already crept into his thoughts. I could hear Pamela in the background affirm what I said, and I knew that she would hold him accountable just like I would. At this point the enemy had a face. Fear could go one of two ways, it could paralyze and cripple or it could become fuel and a motivator. Our only option is to use it as fuel and a motivator. It is now time to attack. It is not a battle that you go into alone and he had to know that whatever he was up against he had an army behind him. We could not do battle for him but we could damn sure be there to support him.
I have continued through this process to be that voice. I do not cut Derek any slack. I never will. I will always hold 1000% accountable. I will call him out when he needs it and lift him up when he needs it. I still pick on him and make jokes about things I should not or that are totally not appropriate but I get to because he is my little brother (if anyone else did we would have a problem). I am 100% in his corner. We have been working on this blog together which has been good for both of us, It is a good outlet for him to write about what he is going through and it good for me to continue to do what I have done his whole life which is clean up after him. It is difficult for me to be 621 miles away. COVID is not helping anything. I have not been able to be right there every step of his treatment which is difficult for me. Luckily for him he has a great support system in Houston which I am thankful. And Pamela is a Rockstar and she puts up with his nonsense so he has that going for him as well.
Remember what is important and that is family. Family is the constant. No matter what happens, above all else there is family (what ever that looks like for you). Be thankful for what you have. Have an attitude of gratitude and always push forward. Negativity should not have any room in your life. Make sure you take the time to tell everyone that you care about that you love them when you have the opportunity because tomorrow is never a guarantee.