He Decided To Paint

GnuKid is heading back to Oklahoma to visit his Brother.

My Brother is on recurrence number five of the brain cancer. Each new regrowth of the cancer has happened faster than the last.  Aggressive treatment is required each time.

At each recurrence, the doctors pull another weapon out of the arsenal to fight it.  This time it was to be some nasty ass chemotherapy—basically poisoning the system in hopes of killing off the cancer cells.  I say ‘nasty ass’ because the side effects of any chemotherapy are bad… nausea, fatigue, etc.  But, for this round, they were proposing something that would really make him sick, so would have to hospitalize him to ensure he didn’t dehydrate or have other bad side effects without being at reach of a doctor.

Backtracking a bit, my brother has taken up a hobby to help him through all of this.  He’s putting together a 1/32nd scale village, using bits and pieces of different toy sets. He sets up scenes (like, recently, a homecoming parade) with buildings, vehicles, and people.  Some of the people and scenery he paints himself.

Brother was in the midst of painting some people when the calls came from the docs to discuss options for this latest round of treatment.  One point came out that caused my Brother to pause.  The chemo proposed had a chance of inhibiting some of my Brother’s fine motor skills (as well as some other potentially nasty side effects)… fine motor skills like, oh, painting 1/32nd scale figures.

That news had a profound impact on my Brother. After discussion with his wife, my Brother has decided to defer any more treatment.  He came to the conclusion that he wanted to live the rest of his life like he wanted, not like how the doctor’s wanted.  He wanted to paint, play with his grandchild, and do what he could to live his life.

When he called to tell me his decision, he joked that he would have to add a new tombstone to his toy village cemetery with a special epitaph – – –

GnuKid’s Brother

Town Founder

“…in the end, he decided to paint…”

Who knows how much time we’ll have left with him.  I’m off to visit just to be with him and share some more time.

Spooky Addendum:  I called my sister-in-law to make sure it was okay to visit.  My Brother was in the background, talking as well.  Right in the middle of our conversation, my sis-in-law stopped and repeated something my brother said:  “Hijack?”.  I thought that rather a strange wish for my flight the next day.  Then Brother said something I couldn’t hear and my sis-in-law said, “Oh!  You said, ‘Hi, Jack’!”  Seems my Brother ‘saw’ my other brother, named Jack, and was just calling a welcome to him.  Jack died in 1963.

…I’m very glad I decided to go now…

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20 Responses to “He Decided To Paint”

  1. Stephanie of Stopbouncing Says:


    ****more hugs****

  2. nursemyra Says:

    hope you get to make some really special memories together this trip xx

  3. The Unbearable Banishment Says:

    Bon voyage.

  4. kyknoord Says:

    Sounds like you’re in for an interesting family reunion. Paint the town red!

  5. Dolce Says:

    Aw fuggit. Gnu. Ja. Well I suppose the one part is that you have the time to really pay attention. See each other. Invest the time with good stuff. I’m dolin’ out the hugs too!

  6. Rob Says:

    Aww gnukid. Go. Spend the time. Treasure it. Always.

  7. anniegirl1138 Says:

    Have a good visit.

  8. Parenthesis Says:

    Words fail me.
    *hug* *hug*

  9. daisyfae Says:

    no regrets. listen and remember the good stuff… glad you’re able to go on such short notice!

    and maybe you can help paint some people! how about a “nursemyra” corseted people? every village should have one of those, dont ya think?

  10. imeantno Says:

    big interweb hugs ’till I see you in person

  11. leavingevangeline Says:

    I really want to say something that isn’t trite (not to imply anyone before me has). I usually stay quiet and show my concern by being available to attend to anything a friend in your situation might need…but I’m here…and you are there (or in OK)…so staying quiet wouldn’t suffice.

    Your brother is courageous, and truthfully it’s a gift he gives to those around him…to not have to watch him go through any more painful and degrading treatments.

    I sincerely hope the two of you enjoy every second you spend together this trip. I hope every good memory is emblazoned on your mind and heart, as if replaying a film. I hope that time does not fade his image.

    Have fun with him. I can’t imagine you…Gnu…not bringing a smile to everyone around you. You have a such a joyful manner. And I am glad to have “met” you.

    BTW- It’s kind of cool that Jack is hanging with Brother…he must be a comfort…and Brother gets the best of both worlds right now.

    If my arms could reach, I’d give you a great big hug!

  12. silverstar98121 Says:

    Yeah, I think I’d elect to paint, too. Have a good visit, and say “hi” to both of your brothers.

  13. azahar Says:

    A tough decision. I think I’d also choose to paint. *hugs*

  14. beaverboosh Says:

    What a star and a brave one, chosing to paint over listening to doctors… Superb choice. Enjoy your time together.

  15. thegnukid Says:

    stephanie – greatly appreciated, even virtually…

    nursemyra – [chuckle] there was one that involved his grandson… worthy of a later post… but we did have some nice talks

    t.u.b. – it was merely voyage despite your wishes for a good one. but, yeah, there were good moments.

    kyknoord – it was more of a mauve… he wasn’t feeling up to too much frivolity… and, he ran out of red paint anyway…

    dolce – hugs accepted (oooo, especially that one!). i don’t really have the resources to go often, but can make the time, so feel lucky there.

    rob – as much as i can get with him, i will. i told him i’d be back in a month or so.

    annie – mostly, it was. a few moments of teeth grinding with The Wife there. and some sadness, too, with seeing my bro’ as he was

    parenthesis – a *most* excellent substitute for words… very nicely hugged, i feel

    daisyfae – no regrets… very happy i went. and, unfortunately, i couldn’t take your advice on the corset because he already had a couple corseted townsfolk (“Homey”-brand)! should’ve gotten a picture to post this Friday. will be sure to get one on my next visit.

    imeantno – looking forward to hugs as i wish you broken legs

    leavingevangeline – thank you, dear. hugs accepted. and i like the way you put it: “…best of both worlds…”. come to find out that others in my family have seen the departed… my aunt saw my grandpap just a week after he died. i don’t think i have the gift..

    silverstar – yep, there’s something to be said for fiercely living instead of fiercely dying. i hope i keep his lesson.

    azahar – thanks for the hugs. and, yeah, i’m starting to lean to the painting, too…

    beaverboosh – my big brother… always trying to teach me one more life’s lesson.

  16. leavingevangeline Says:

    You might have the gift…you just haven’t opened it yet. 😉

    I’m glad you are home, safe and sound.

  17. Parenthesis Says:

    Glad you’re home Gnu, we missed you. Hope you got lots of real hugs in, from your boet? Hope it was a really special time xx

  18. nursemyra Says:

    welcome back xx

  19. Mandy de Waal Says:

    Sjoe… that’s hectic. Thinking of you.

  20. thegnukid Says:

    leavingevangeline – i’ve been told i’m ‘psychically deaf’… or was that ‘psychotically deaf’? i’d like to believe i can, but haven’t been able to

    Parenthesis – missed you too. without the chemo, he was actually ‘there’ mentally, so it was a good time. heard some stories from childhood i never knew… nice

    nursemyra – aww, thank you [*tear*]

    Mandy – whether i’m psychically deaf or not, i happily accept all virtual hugs and good thoughts. thank you. this all shall pass and i’ll likely stare around at the calm like staring at a stranger

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