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Row80 Check In 11-2-11 Festering Cancer

I debated about writing this post, but so many of you had such awesome words of support for my brother Jeff that I felt I owed you this update.

He went into the cancer center for scans on Friday. When he’d last seen them in June, they believed the surgery and last round of chemo had gotten the cancer in his throat. The worry was that it would come back somewhere else. He only had a 20% chance it wouldn’t.

Monday he found out the cancer had returned in his throat. He only has a matter of months. His body can’t take any more chemo or radiation. After eighteen months of fighting, an extensive surgery, and an excruciating amount of chemo and radiation, he’s still going to die.

No, it’s not fair. I have to remind myself thousands of families have gone through this same roller coaster of anger and misery. There’s some comfort in knowing we’re not alone.

Jeff is sixteen years older than me, so I never got to know him like I would have liked to. He’s lived in South Carolina since I was a teenager, and I’ve only seen him a handful of times over the past few years. I desperately wish that wasn’t the case.

My heart breaks for the brother and sister closer to him, as well as his father and step-mother. They were by his side nearly the entire time, and I can’t imagine how they must be feeling right now.

Send your prayers their way, please. Most of all, send them to my mother. This will be the second son she’s buried, and I’m incredibly worried about her. She’s diabetic with heart issues. Losing her will be the hardest of all for me, and I’m terrified of the thought. I pray she’ll somehow have the strength to get through this.

Jeff got throat cancer from excessive smoking and drinking. He went in with a sore throat and wound up diagnosed with stage four throat cancer. I’m not sure it would have helped him, but early detection is the key. Those over 50 are at highest risk, and men have the highest risk.

Please, if you or someone you know has the following symptoms, get checked out:

* Abnormal (high-pitched) breathing sounds
* Cough
* Coughing up blood
* Difficulty swallowing
* Hoarseness that doesn’t improve in 1-2 weeks
* Neck pain
* Sore throat that doesn’t improve in 1-2 weeks, even with antibiotics
* Swelling or lumps in the neck
* Unintentional weight loss

Click here for more information about throat cancer.

Thank you all for your support and kind words. They’ve meant more than I can express.

On the Row80 front, I’ve been muddling along. The first three chapters of INTO THE DARK are thisclose to being query ready. I did some work on additional chapters yesterday as well as began researching small presses. If you know of a small or mid-sized press accepting unagented authors, please share in the comments:)

I’m undecided on Thriller Thursday for this week. I have a lot to catch up on today, and my heart isn’t quite into it right now. I may take the week off, but I’ll be back next week.

I hope you’re all having a great week. To those of you participating in NaNo, good luck.

41 comments on… “Row80 Check In 11-2-11 Festering Cancer”

  1. Stacy, I will definitely keep your brother in my prayers. My brother had a lung removed last year due to lung cancer (even though he smoked for only five years in his youth); his CT scan last week found another mass, and he is meeting with his oncologist tomorrow, so I can somewhat relate. Thank you for putting in your post all the signs of throat cancer; I have a friend suffering with that as well.

    Good on you meeting your goals at all with this stress in your family. Take care of yourself, the blog and its readers will be here next week.

    • Thanks so much. I will keep your brother in my prayers as well. How terrible he only smoked for 5 years! Some people are just genetically at risk for cancer, I think. And you’re welcome. I hope it helps. Thanks so much, and good luck to your brother.

  2. Stacy, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m keeping both of you in my prayers. I recently lost someone to throat cancer, so I know what you are going through.

  3. Saying a prayer for your brother and your family, Stacy. Life can throw some pretty stinking stuff at us. My heart goes out to you. If you need to take a break, go right ahead. Writing is definitely important, but family trumps that in my book. You’re a writer, so you’ll jump back in. I’ll just have to look up some creepy tale on Thursday to get my fix. 😉

    • Thanks, Julie. I may take a break tomorrow, but that’s it. Writing is what gives me purpose (along with my child, of course). If I don’t, I’ll think myself into a frenzy. Appreciate your support.

  4. Stacy, my heart hurts for you and your family. Cancer is a terrible thing. I watched my mom go slowly.The only blessing is the time you have- its a wonderful gift and eases the pain to those left behind. So visit, talk, laugh and share memories…they will help you through the sad times. Enjoy your time now and I truly hope he does not suffer! He is lucky to have you as a sister. -Donna

    • Thank you, and I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I think the going slowly part is the worst. Waiting and watching them suffer is heartbreaking. My sister and I don’t get along, but I feel for her as she’ll be taking care of Jeff in his last days. Thanks for your kind words.

  5. Oh, Stacy, I’m so sorry about your brother …
    I’m with Julie and say that, if you need to slack on your row80 goals, we’ll support you.
    Take care =)

  6. I am so sorry to read this news. I am sending my prayers to you and the rest of your family and have included all of you in my prayer chain. God bless. (*hugs*)

  7. I feel your pain! My husband had a soft tissue sarcoma last year and when he was going under for surgery they told him that if they went in and it hadn’t shrunk as much as they expected, they would have to amputate his leg.

    Thankfully, they didn’t have to amputate, but he has to do a CT scan every three months to make sure that it hadn’t spread to his lungs. Cancer is very scary, I know. My mother died in 2006 from a very aggressive cancer in her thyroid. She was gone in 3 weeks after discovery.

    I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles. It is very hard, but when cancer strikes, we are not dying from cancer, we are living with it, no matter for how long. Keep yourself strong.

    • Wow, Diane. That’s got to be so rough on you and your husband. Amazing they’re worried about cancer from his leg spreading to his lungs. And your mother, that’s awful. It is very scary. Any one of us can be hit at any time. Thanks for your kind words, and good luck to you and your husband.

  8. I am so sorry for everything you are going through…You and your family are in my prayers. I know it is hard, but try to stay positive and cherish the time you have, and the memories; that will help a little bit even though your heart aches.

  9. Stacy,
    I am so sorry to hear about your brother. It really doesn’t seem fair after he has suffered so much already. I will keep him in my thoughts. It must be very hard to concentrate on anything. I am really sorry.

    • Thanks, Annie. No, it doesn’t. I guess he knew about the high chance of it coming back when he went into the surgery, but didn’t tell most of the family. Focusing on writing has really helped. Thanks again:)

  10. So sorry to hear this news, Stacy. Best wishes for your entire family.
    Taking a week (or more) off sounds like a great idea. Focus on your own writing, and on things that are important. (((hugs)))

  11. Stacy, I’m so sorry for everything your family is going through. I will keep you and them in my thoughts. I hope that you writing gives you something to retreat into during this time, but I understand that sucks energy as well. So go with the flow and do whatever works for you.

    For a small press, you might want to consider Black Opal Books. They publish in ebook and paperback. No agent required.

    • Thank you. Writing definitely gives me a retreat and strength. And you’re right – the whole experience, especially worrying about my mother, is an energy sucker. But what I’m going through pales in comparison to other family members.

      And thanks for the mention of Black Opal. Will add them to my list.

  12. I know this is a really intense time for you. We lost my gran last year to ovarian and stomach cancer. Before that, we lost my husband’s father to cancer. Both Gran and Father-in-Law went within 18 months. There is no easy way to deal with the upcoming months. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You know where to find me if you need to scream. ((hugs))

    • Thanks so much. Ovarian cancer is scary, too. My aunt died from it in 2004. I’m so sorry so much hit your family at once. Thanks so much for all the support – it’s been a huge help:)

  13. I am so sorry about your brother. And so impressed by your dedication–all that going on, and you are still checking in, working on writing.

    Hang in there, and may this ordeal be as peaceful for all as these things can possibly be.

    • Thank you so much. I think writing is the only thing keeping me up at this point. And you know, the idea that I’ve wasted so much time with my brother spurs the writing on, too. We only have one life, right?
      Thanks again for the kind words:)

  14. Damn, that sucks. I’m sorry about your brother. I have cancer as well and I just started treatment for it. I will have to bug my dad about mouth cancer, he’s a tobacco chewer and a smoker—not a drinker though but this is the type of thing that can get him. Thanks for writing this.

    • Thank you, and I’m sorry about your illness as well. Good luck on your treatment—I’ll keep you in my prayers. And yes, please talk to your dad. You’re very welcome. Take care.

  15. I’m so sorry about your brother. My thoughts are with him, you and your whole family. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to write this post, but it was a brave thing to do. I hope you can find some comfort in writing, but don’t feel bad if you have to take time off; sometimes you have to just concentrate on your mental wellbeing and put everything else on hold. I lost my grandfather to leukemia a few years ago and I know there are no words anyone can say to make it better.

    • Thank you, Rebecca. It was difficult because I didn’t want anyone to think I was asking for sympathy or exploiting my brother. I have found comfort in the writing process – it’s been a great distraction from the inevitable. I’m so sorry about your grandfather. Thanks again for your kind words.

  16. {{hugs}} Stacy and positive thoughts for your entire family. I lost a cousin to cancer last November and can’t imagine it being a sibling. I too found comfort in the writing process. {{hugs}}

    • Thanks, Raelyn. It’s been a tough week but just keep pushing forward. I’m sorry to hear about your cousin as well. Thanks, and take care.

  17. Stacy, I am so sorry that your brother, you and your family have to go through this ordeal. We’ve had cancer issues in my family so I know how it can affect everyone. You brother will be in my prayers from this moment on.

    • Thanks so much. It’s been a rough week, but we are hanging in there. I’m sorry to hear about your family issues as well. Thank you for the prayers.

  18. So sorry about your brother’s news. I will send prayers as you wish, but for you I pray that you will allow yourself some time to feel your feelings and process them. If you miss some blog posts, we’ll know that you are taking care of yourself.

    • Thank you so much. I spent this week in a writing frenzy and then sort of crashed because I wasn’t dealing with things. Really appreciate the advice and support.

  19. Sending you huge hugs…and tons of love and support. I will be keeping you, your family and especially your Mom in my thoughts and prayers. I can’t imagine what you are all going through and my heart simply breaks – breaks!
    Having dealt with the loss of loved ones, the best advice I can give you is to try and deal with it as it comes (avoiding it only makes it worse), take care of you (eating, sleeping, exercise), and to know that this is a marathon, not a race so try to pace yourself as best as you can.
    Sending you tons of hugs….and if there’s anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at – seriously – we are all here for you through this very tragic and devastating journey….hugs!

    • Thank you. It was definitely a shock to get the news despite his low chances. I’d convinced myself he had a good shot at a few more years. Mom is doing all right so far, but she’s pretty good at pushing everything aside.

      I agree on the avoidance and taking care of yourself. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but I’m working on it.

      Thank you so much for the offer, it’s very sweet. I’ll remember it!

  20. Pingback: Manic Monday: Big Girl Panties and Being Thankful | Stacy Green – Turning The Page

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