Cancer…..probably one of the most frightening words in the English language. By definition it is a malignant and invasive growth or tumor, especially one originating in epithelium, tending to recur after excision and to metastasize to other sites. The written definition in itself is bone chilling, but this modern example – In the old days, a few generations back, cancer was the Voldemort of illnesses, as in, “he whose name shall not be spoken.” – makes it sound like a lightning bolt coming down from the very hand of God.
Exactly one month ago today, we found out that my younger brother has Metastatic Melanoma. This shocking diagnosis followed a chest x-ray to check on a lingering cough that was assumed to be allergy-related. And, as if that news wasn’t devastating enough, upon further scans we were informed that it had the nerve to meander its way up to his brain without being invited to the party!
Fast forward a month, many new doctors/specialists later, and here we are at KU Medical Center one day after brain surgery. Round One of fighting off “he who’s name shall not be spoken” has been successfully put behind us and we are nervously awaiting the challenges of Round Two.
Unsurprisingly, in spite of having a portion of his brain extracted, Jeff has managed to keep us on our toes. He has managed to maintain his sense of humor as he wittingly talks to us about his plan of operation for each day (he has even strategically attempted to train the nurses to follow his agenda ). I must add that, being a mere bystander in this whole process, I am amazed at the level of skill, patience, and service that the doctors and nurses have provided! Since this location has become our temporary ‘home away from home’ it has been a blessing to have such an incredible group of medical professionals on our side in this battle.
What are the next steps? Although, the future is still a bit fuzzy in regards to the plan, Jeff has made huge strides in just two short days.
On this Thursday, July 28th, he will turn forty-five years young. And this year, we know as in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, we have gained strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which we really stopped to look fear in the face. Each day we are able to say to ourselves, “We lived through this horror (aka: “he whose name shall not be spoken”). We can take the next thing that comes along”. Jeff, my hero, now has the battle scars and the titanium plate to prove it!