Happy Monday! Many of you know I just got back from a trip visiting family in Indianapolis, but must don’t know the reason for the trip. My brother (age 50) has been battling stage 4 throat cancer for nearly eighteen months.
He initially went through chemo, then radiation until the growth had shrunk enough for the doctors to operate. Last spring, he underwent a 19-hour plus surgery to remove the cancer in his throat. His neck was essentially split open, he lost half his tongue and his esophagus has been destroyed from radiation. He has a trach right now and a feeding tube—he’ll never be able to eat or drink food again. He goes for a follow-up on Friday, but doctors believe they got the cancer in his throat. However, there’s only a 20% chance it won’t come back somewhere in the next year. If it does, doctors have done all they can. His body can’t take any more chemo or radiation.
I hadn’t seen him in several years. I knew he’d lost nearly 100 pounds, but he was so thin and frail it was shocking. The left side of his face is hardened to the point it doesn’t move, and he’s got to talk through his teeth.
And yet, he’s in good spirits. He knows his chances aren’t good, but he talks of going back to work and plans for the future. He’s a chef, so his inability to eat again is especially awful. I know if it were me, I’d be wallowing in self-pity and shutting myself in the house to die.
But Jeff continues to push through. Throughout this miserable year and a half, he’s remained positive. As I sat with him on Friday, I thought about all the things in my life I’ve allowed to upset me, the little things I’ve let ruin my day, the fights I’ve gotten into with my hubby over dumb crap. How stupid they all were. I say it a lot, but this time I really mean it: life’s too short to sweat the small stuff.
Sometimes things happen between people and family that can’t be repaired, and sometimes it’s best to leave that part of our life behind. But time is precious, and we need to cherish every moment we have with family and friends. Embrace life because before you know it, your time with that person could be up and you’ll have nothing but wasted years to remember.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and the next time you find yourself upset and wanting to give up on yourself or someone else, remember this story. Life’s too short to waste time being angry or hiding behind our fears. Embrace them and move forward.
Thanks to all of you for your support and friendship. Have a great day!