Posted in Power of Prayer, Tough Choices

At Odds

Nearly 35 years on this earth and I never knew how strong the power of prayer is.  For some reason, health and religion always go to together in particular when we pray on behalf of the sick.  I don’t really know how much of this is true, but what I do know is that my brother came back to us after slipping into a coma on in the early hours of Friday morning.  We thought we were going to lose and started to consider the possibility of making funeral arrangements.  He is still holding on and he is so fragile right now.  He cannot even tell us how he felts and what his wishes are.

My mother and my siblings spend most of our days crying but we don’t dare cry in front of him.  His closest friends are also affected but what I never knew until my brother’s illness is how many lives he touched.  He had probably had over a 100 visitors between Friday morning and Saturday night so many people who want him to pull through.   There were so many prayers made by so many and many complete strangers.  Your prayers were heard but my brother has a long road ahead of him.  I want him to prove all the statistics wrong and I want him to come back to us and get into remission.  We understand that he did not get sick over a matter of days because cancer does not work like that. It silently waits and shows up when it is nearly too late.

On Thursday afternoon, the doctors met with us and told us they wanted us to do nothing further.  In other words, regardless of the fact that his kidneys were shutting down, they did not think dialysis was an option for him.  They insisted that it was an aggressive treatment and that they felt that anything aggressive was too much for him.  Basically, they told us to do nothing, and every time (I said it three times) I said “He is 31 years old and you want us to do nothing?” – We were given a beat around the bush answer.  Really, what it came down to was that they felt that even if he showed any progress, he still had cancer.  To them, my brother is a statistic rather than one person. To me, he is my brother and I made my voice heard.  I told them I didn’t care.  If dialysis brought him back to us and even if it was temporary, I didn’t care.  If we only have six weeks with him, or six months, or six years, we wanted that choice.

When we left Thursday evening, my understanding was that they were going to start dialysis.  However, they did not and at 1 am Friday morning, my brother fell into a coma because his blood pressure became dangerously low.  On Friday morning as I was headed into work, I decided to call my mother who did not answer her cell phone. Generally, I will wait and try her later, but something told me to call the hospital and that is when my brother’s nurse informed me that my brother had slipped into a coma. Instead of exiting at my usual exit on the highway, I continued and went to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, I found myself at odds with the doctors who insisted that there was nothing more that they could do for him and we were informed that they would keep him on a high dose of blood pressure medication until we asked them to stop.  They told us, while not direct, that they wanted to give up on my brother, but somehow, they were twisting it as if it was the choice that we should be making.  That was not good enough for me.

I made some phone calls and sent emails to get advice on how to handle the situation and then made a decision that dialysis was going to happen whether the doctors liked it or not.  My first cousins even flew in from California to be our side in case we had to make funeral arrangements.  We almost lost him and we almost gave up on him. However, at 11 am, I pulled my siblings outside and told that we were going to get the doctors to start him on dialysis and we were going to make our voices heard and we did.  However, the ICU doctor insisted that we agree not ask for CPR if his heart stopped – these are the odds we have against us dealing with these doctors.  Dialysis started, his blood pressure stabilized, and by Saturday evening, he had come back to us.  Of course, he is a lot worse than he was a week ago but he is still with us. I looked at him today and I told him that I knew that he was hurting but we would not give up on him.  I told him that a year from now, he would look back at this and be relieved that we did not give up on him, and I really hope he has that chance.

It is complicated and making these decisions has been overwhelming.  I want to thank everyone who has been praying and everyone who has been a ray of hope in our lives throughout this ordeal.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you – from the bottom of our hearts. I ask that you keep praying because this battle is going to be a long on.  Again, thank you so very much.


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