My Brother’s Battle

My recent visit to see my brother in Oklahoma was spurred by more than familial longing. I am not sure how much longer he will be with us. My brother has brain cancer.

I had written a detailed saga of his battle to post here. On re-reading it, I found it good for me to express it on paper, but I was pretty sure, for The Wilds of Ohio…hell, for me!… it would be a wet blanket… a moldy, smelly, wet blanket. GnuKid just can’t do that.

Rather, I still must fall back on the oldest and best defense mechanism known to man—thermonuclear war. Okay, not really…we’ve only known about that for about 70 years. No, I’m talking about that good old humor. How people can laugh in the face of danger and death amazes and emboldens me in life.

So, my brother was diagnosed a year ago after an MRI revealed a shadow in his brain. The doctors decided the best action was surgery to at least do a pathology on the cancer, if not remove it altogether.

I was on the telephone with my brother prior to that surgery, discussing what to expect and offering him hope and encouragement. I guess he didn’t think I believed what I was telling him. So he attempted to reassure me—

“Don’t worry, it’s not like this is brain surgery… oh… wait…”.

They removed a portion of the skull to get at the brain and, at the end of the operation, screwed it back in place. There was my chance at a comeback. On phone calls since, I’m sure to occasionally throw in—

“Ahh, you just have a screw loose.”

My brother’s battle continued, through a second occurrence and radical surgery in January where they removed most of his right temporal lobe.* My brother’s reaction then?—

“I need this surgery like I need a hole in my head.”

I think my family carries a gene… or a full chromosome… for bad and bizarre humor. But, it’s kept us afloat through trying times. And I am thankful for it.

… and, now, a just diagnosed third re-occurrence. [heavy sigh] But, I’m sure our humor and love will carry us through whatever happens…


*And I was utterly amazed that he was on his feet and discharged just 3 days after major brain surgery.


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12 Responses to “My Brother’s Battle”

  1. azahar Says:

    Isn’t humour a wonderful thing? Especially the ‘bad and bizarre’ type.

    A friend of mine had brain cancer and I was also amazed at how quickly he sprung back after surgery. Maybe it’s because there is no massive cutting of muscle tissue?

    “I’m sure our humor and love will carry us through whatever happens…”

    Sounds like it will. *hug*

  2. daisyfae Says:

    if it weren’t for dark humor, i’d have been completely derailed at my first medical “situation”. Sounds as though your brother is coping well… and by the way, that “exercise in writing”? The essence of ‘blog therapy’…

  3. kyknoord Says:

    An excellent way to approach it. Longevity isn’t my family’s strong suit, so we tend to pop our clogs relatively early. For that very reason, it doesn’t make any sense to spend the time that we do have being all fucking morose and miserable.

  4. thegnukid Says:

    az – i have no choice… genetics or upbringing, i fall back on the bad pun or joke. And i’m happy to live with that. and a big *hug* back… thank you

    daisyfae – then i proclaim myself a born again therapy man… it seems to be working for me. And best wishes to keep your little train on the rail in the future…

    kyknoord – YES! no sense being “fucking morose and miserable”. you’ve given me my motto for the month of june. no credit will be given, tough shit. Oh, and here’s hoping you will be the genetic mutation that lives long and you can stop the family “early keel-over plan” tradition

  5. nursemyra Says:

    well that’s what my blog is all about. trying to write humourously so I don’t curl up and die at the pain of losing stephen to cancer.

    but when I read about it on someone else’s blog all the humour goes out the door. I’m really really sorry about your brother


  6. Rob Says:

    When I was younger, and much more naive, cancer was a word or an event that happened to someone else. The closest it had come to my family were some whisperings about several of my paternal grandmother’s siblings who had succumbed to various forms of the disease.

    Even when my late wife’s aunt battled breast cancer a few years ago, it was still “distant” enough as to not be “real”.

    That all changed, of course, when my late wife lost her fight with melanoma. I honestly don’t recall that much humour being used to take the edge off what was really happening. By the time the disease’s progression really picked up its pace in the last couple of months, there really wasn’t any time for humour. Too much shock, I think.

    Which is in contrast to the way my late wife reacted to any situation of stress or crisis, which was by giggling.

    Like nursemyra says, now when I read or learn about someone I know or some I “know” or their loved one having cancer, it’s very sobering.

    I’m very sorry about your brother and about the effect this is having on you. Writing things down, though, is good therapy – at least I’ve found that to be true.

    There’s a task still on my to-do list – something I committed to do – and that is to write down my late wife’s experiences. She wanted to share what she had learned through her ordeal in the event that it would be helpful for someone else. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do that though. It’s still too soon – and too painful – to revisit those memories.

    Sending cyber ((hugs)) to you gnukid.

  7. silverstar98121 Says:

    I’m sorry you and your brother are going through this. However, I would probably react the same way, with the same bizarre humor and bad puns. I highly recommend this course of action. And hey, if you decide you want to put the other stuff out there, you can always start another blog to be morose on. We are all multi-faceted.
    I would come and read your morose blog, or you could make it a private, sign in thingy. Think about it, you might need it in the coming months. And tell your brother he has good company in Ted Kennedy. Or not, if that would piss him off.

  8. thegnukid Says:

    nursemyra – exactly said… and good to know i’m not alone. i had no intent to bring you down, but do understand. thank you xx

    rob – we all have to react in the way that best supports our hearts… and sanity… i think writing your wife’s memoirs would be a beautiful tribute. thanks for the hugs… i’ll take any and all, virtual and otherwise

    silverstar – i will keep the idea of a side blog as a (good) option. the mere writing of the morose was therapeutic, so i may not need to post as well. but it’s good to have options. [laughin’] my brother does know about Ted K. having this too… makes him grumble…

  9. Dolce Says:

    Ah. The best defence indeed. When you lose the ability to laugh, all is lost.

    I hope you and your brother keep laughing.

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