Posts Tagged ‘brother’

The Battle Done

November 8, 2008
GnuKid Brother

GnuKid Brother

S, age 60, went to join his God on 10/27/2008.  He was born to JG and LV in Pennsylvania.  He is survived by his loves and joys, wife, M, daughters, K and J, and extra special grandson/son, R, sister E, and brother, GnuKid of Ohio, and many other loving family members and friends.  S served his country on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 1970-1990, earning three Meritorious Service Medals and two Air Force Commendation Medals.  He was also a Vietnam Veteran.  After retirement, he worked with a civilian contractor continuing his previous Air Force work training crew members.  S enjoyed good times spent with military comarades, civilian co-workers, and friends.  He enjoyed playing music with Oklahoma City Traditional Music Association friends and others who enjoyed music as much as he did.  He cherished his Scottish heritage and enjoyed attending any Scottish functions, including the Highland Games.  His favorite pastimes were 1/32 scale toys, reading books of every subject matter, and listening to a wide array of music (especially classical and gospel music).  A memorial will be held to clebrate his life at 1:00 pm, Mon., Nov 3rd.  In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations may be made to Hospice Care.

He Decided To Paint

September 5, 2008

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…

My Brother’s Battle

May 29, 2008

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…

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