And When the Cancer Diagnosis Came

And When the Cancer Diagnosis Came

photoHow I reacted when we sat down with Joe’s doctors after we had learned Joe had cancer.

I sat in the middle of Joe and my mom with one of the surgeons who helped diagnose Joe in front of us, another one in his scrubs sitting on the floor with the oncology nurse practioner, Dwana standing off to one side of the conference table. Joe had been diagnosed with cholangiocarinoma the previous week. Dr. V. began this meeting asking me if I had any questions, did I need to be brought up to speed on anything. I told her, “No, I was fully up to speed on everything and I would ask if I had questions.”

I sat next to Joe looking the doctors in the eyes and smiling through it all so Joe wouldn’t be afraid.

The next night my mom and I spoke on the phone. I was upset, screaming.

My mom told me she had gone back to see the surgeons and had spoken privately with them. She asked me if I wanted to do this too, if it would help. My mom told me that the doctors explained to her that we could come back anytime and they would answer our questions and help us understand. That this was real hard and that people can’t take it all in at once.

In fact, Dr. Z. told my mom he finds that people can only retain about 5% of what he tells them. It’s simply too much, too overwhelming. This is why these incredible doctors encouraged us to come back to learn more. My mom told me she would make sure I could speak to whichever surgeon I wanted to when we returned to the hospital in a couple of days when my brother was going to be having yet another scan.

I told my mom, “Yes, I want a one on one sit down with the surgeon. So my mom called Dr. Z.’s office and asked if Joe’s sister could meet and have a chat.

The surgeon thought I would be like the others saying this can’t be. Instead I told the doctor someone is trying to find a cure for cancer. I want to be sure everyone knows about Joe. I wanted to implore how special my brother was and also how strong. If someone was trying something somewhere they should know about Joe.

Knowing Joe could only help advance the need for a cure.

I also told the surgeon, you don’t understand my brother. Joe and his friends have put me through hell and back over the years. Meaning that cancer wasn’t going to stand in his way. We were still going to live life and give it all we had.

See for a taste of what we did.

“‎Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. PLay with abondon. Laugh. Choose with no regrets. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

Try not to be afraid, ever.


Joe’s Sister

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