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
* 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.