Monday, November 19, 2018

Judy Blume Did Not Prepare Me For This

My favorite tshirt is one I got a Sparklecorn party in 2010. It was one of the many parties at Blogher and I believe that year we were in NYC. The front of it says,


It relates in so many ways. I wore it painting a bedroom, I wore it to physical therapy, I've worn it to the beach, on walks, to bed. I chuckle whenever I wear it because Judy Blume was my favorite author growing up and she taught me a lot, just not everything.

My brother has cancer.


I feel like living in this tshirt. WTF? My little brother who I am suppose to take care of and protect has a disease that I can do nothing about. He had cancer 15 years ago. He had radiation to shrink the tumor in his sinus, then had it operated on, healed and rode his bike every year to raise money for cancer research. After the 5 year mark and especially the 10 year mark, when it did not come back, we all breathed a sigh of relief.

And sort of forgot about his cancer.

Then this summer, he had a sore on the roof of his mouth. It seems like a blur from the beginning of September to now, but it included an ENT, MRI, 2nd opinions and a 6 1/2 hour surgery to remove the tumor sitting at the base of his sinus cavity reaching into his mouth and 49 lymph nodes. He is currently trying to gain some weight back before he starts radiation and chemo.

There are a few blatant ironies rearing their ugly heads. One is that the treatment (radiation) that helped him in his first battle with cancer has caused his second battle with cancer. And there is no way for him to avoid radiation again. Two, he has raised 10's of thousands of dollars for Dana Farber Cancer Institute over the past 11 years riding in the Pan Mass Challenge. Last year alone, he raised $30,000. Now he is being treated by the very doctors he and his riding are supporting.

He is starting radiation and chemo after Thanksgiving for 6 + weeks. I thank God for the support of family, friends and strangers. However, I am scared, we are all scared. The what if's are huge and I do not have Judy's phone number to ask her to write us a book on this topic. I guess, my tshirt and faith will have to pull us through.

He's done it before, he can do it again. Here is to Tommy kicking cancer's ass.