Thursday, December 06, 2012

** Started this on my brother's birthday ** 11/30

I often wondered if, by some chance, my brother broke a mirror when he was born. Maybe the doctor who delivered him, placed him down on one of those tiny mirrors on the table and SPLAT, he cracked it. Bad luck right away. Or maybe he, at a young age, walked under the ladder at the playground. That's also a superstition right? Whatever the rhyme or reason, the kid has had quite an eventful life thus far. All 23 years. I can remember when he was a baby, he swallowed a penny. That warranted a frantic mom rushing him to the hospital, only to be told what every other mom has been told in this situation. "It'll come out - you just have to keep an eye out for it". What? And so the next few weeks were met with my mom sifting through baby poop! The penny did turn up. Now I should wonder if maybe he swallowed it on tails, because that seems to be where it all started. After that, it was chaos.

One year, when he was around 4 or so, we were standing in a Burger King, on the Atlantic City boardwalk, waiting for my parents to meet us after the casino. I was holding my brother's hand and there he went! Smack down on the wet floor, right on his cute little face. Nose bleed central - Too much blood for such a tiny nose. So, an ambulance is called & off to AC Medical Center, we went. This Easter trip ended with a cauterization for his little button nose.

When he was about 6, he went fishing with my dad to a local spot in town and it was there that he was attacked by bees! Holy hell. Yes - a lot of them. Off to the hospital, where he was filled with lots of Benadryl or maybe epinephrin. I can't imagine what that felt like for a little boy, but I cried when I saw him in the hospital bed. Never liked him being in pain. What a crazy thing to happen.

He got a little bit of a break for a while, with the exception of some bumps and bruises through the next few years or so.

Then in 2004, when he was 14, I got the call I almost always knew was coming. My brother was hit by a car and was enroute to the hospital. I was never so scared in my life! I was driving to the ER from work and I said more Hail Marys that day, than I can count, I was praying for him to be ok. When I got there, my family was all standing in a room off the Trauma ER and when they wheeled my brother by us for emergency surgery, unconscious and restrained with head gear etc, I thought my whole life had just flashed past me. I truly believed I would never fully recover if we lost him. It was a hellish next few weeks and month. He was in pediatric ICU for almost 2 weeks, some of which he was in a medically induced coma. Then he was in a regular step down room where he was finally coherent and starting to come around. I was so afraid of brain damage. I guess if we could have him back at all, we'd take him however we could. But he was ok mentally. He even teased my mom at one point and asked "Who are you?". I thought my mom would pass out right then and there. So many times during this initial stay, that I thought we'd lose him but I was strong. I broke down twice in that time and I lost a few pounds from not eating. I hated it that things were constantly coming up. Fevers, infection,etc. I was not going to accept the possibility of losing my 14 year old brother.. not then and not any time soon after. He went from the hospital to a pediatric rehab facility where I absolutely HATED leaving him each day. It wasn't as hard when he was at the hospital and unaware of us coming and going. It was heart breaking when he was awake and alert and we left him at night. If I could've stayed with him, I gladly woudl have. In time we brought him home, with a new set of wheels (4 to be exact) a walker, and a big rod in his leg. It was the external kind so it was cool to him. And he even insisted on keeping it uncovered when we went to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party. I told him it'd probably scare the poor kids but he didn't care. So, we went in there, sans a blanket to cover it, and yes, the kids were curious. That was a really rough time for him - and this was probably when I realized how strong a person he was going to be. I couldn't have known......

Keeping up with tradition and needing to add more to his list of unfortunate events, he, during this past summer, decided to go hiking with his girlfriend. He ended up with a tick on his back, of course, and pulled it off. Never to be seen again. Then a week or so later, he ended up in the ER, because he went to an urgent care center after a big red rash developed. Doctor confirmed it was Lyme's Disease, gave him a 3 week antibiotic regimen and went on his way.

And..... just because he likes to be the center of attention and keep us all on our toes --- (heehee) In July, right before the 4th, my brother decided to give my nurse sister a call about a lump he'd had in one of his testicles. I guess he was a little concerned about it and realized he should get it checked. I talked to him on the phone the day before his appt and asked about it. I knew he'd been working out at the gym so I was convinced it was a hernia. I knew it was very likely and very possible... I never thought OTHERWISE. Why would I? Well, the next day, my sister took him to the hospital and they ran some tests. I kept in touch with my sister and brother via text while they were there. I drove home from work, figuring that they'd be home soon. My sister seemed to be very concerned as time went on, and finally texted me "please come". Again, I was just oblivious and figured she wanted company or wanted to go home to my niece. So, I texted her again and said "What are they saying?"... she texted me one word back "cancer". I immediately started crying and hyperventilating all at the same time - that'd never happened to me before. I felt like I left my body for a minute. I can't really even explain it. So, without hesitation, my husband and I drove up to the hospital. My brother had called me prior to our leaving, and it was so hard for me to remain collected - He said "So, did Tammy tell you?"... in a voice that echoed no worry whatsoever. When we arrived at the hospital, my brother was sitting up in a bed in the ER pediatric ward and he seemed as if he was fine. No worry- some jokes here and there. I was panic stricken - but would never show it. I'm the one who jokes and remains calm so not to shake everyone else up. It was confirmed that he had testicular cancer and would have the teste and tumor removed on July 5th. - Everything went well, the tumor was removed and he had one of the best post-op recoveries I'd ever seen. He was awake and alert and ready to go home. The nurse even said he was very unique in that he came right out of his anastesia like he'd taken a cat nap. He followed up with the surgeon a few days later and then it was decided that he would have chemotherapy since he'd had what they called vascular invasion. The cancer hadn't spread to other parts of his body, luckily, but there was a little bit of concern with it and the oncologist said that without chemo, there was a better chance of it coming back. So my brother went ahead with the chemotherapy and he was a real champ through it all. Never really complaining and taking it with a grain of salt. As far as I know. : ) He's all clear for now and goes back to the oncologist in January, when he'll tell him if he's really all clear and ready to return to work. Thank God that my brother is young and active and has a strong body as well as a strong mind. I think it helped to get him through the torture of chemotherapy. Fingers crossed and plenty of prayers that January brings about great news and the consent to return to work. I know he must be bored out of his mind.

So how 'bout that? Has this kid been through some stuff or what?? He should write a book. Someone had joked and said he has 9 lives like a cat. Funny to think about but I really just have to be so THANKFUL. Nothing is ever a guarantee in this life and we were so blessed so many times that my brother came up a victor.

1 comment:

  1. Unbelievable! I am glad your bro is OK!!!


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