I put my turkey in the oven at 7 am because my sisters and I will have our Thanksgiving early (about noon) and then head over to the hospital. My mother will not be there because she has spent the every minute of the past week at my brother’s side. My brother went into surgery yesterday morning after his stomach cancer diagnosis became peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum. I do not want to go into any speculation about how a 31 year old who never worked in a field where he could have been exposed to asbestos develops this condition. In addition, because of the time it would take for the disease to develop, he would have been exposed as a child.
His surgery started at 8:30 a.m. and did not end until after 6:30 in the evening. Unfortunately, the doctors, despite their diligent efforts, were not able to remove all the cancer and, as a result, the prognosis does not look good. Chemotherapy and radiation will give us time to deal with this but there is no possibility of a cure and the chance for remission is small, and because the cancer is aggressive, our time is limited.
I am numb as we all are. I want to be hopeful and I do not know how. I am thankful that my brother was awake an hour after the procedure and I am thankful for the time he has with us. I am thankful for the doctors and their efforts. I am thankful to God for teaching us to believe in him, for allowing us to seek his guidance, and for teaching us what it means to be a family. We are thankful despite cancer. Everything is in God’s hands and God would never put us through this if he knew we could not handle it.
I watch my mother lose herself and I know that I cannot even begin to imagine her pain. I know that things will never be the same again and that our lives are forever changed.
The only thing I ask of God is that he give us the strength to keep going.
God, I need you. Carry me when I am weak. Hold me when I am tired. Love me when I cannot care anymore. And when I huddle lonely and afraid, cover me with your strong protective hands. Guard my sleep and wake me in the morning, rested and strong, and ready to try again.