Grace and The Meaning of Christmas

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Annie, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Went to my brother's this evening for family Christmas Eve. Everything is topsy turvey this year because my nephew has been in radiation treatment at Mayo for the past 5 weeks, today was his last treatment. He doesn't have cancer, but he does have a brain tumor.

    A year ago August 31st my dad died. He was buried on September 4th, the 5th we found out about Jay's tumor. He had his first surgery on the 8th, he got married on the 22nd. This past May we had confirmation the problem was recurring and he underwent a second brain surgery in July. By September it was back again. This time Loyola said the only thing they could recommend would be a permanent shunt, which would make his quality of life, at 25 much less. They did say that since Mayo had been involved in countrywide consultations, they'd likely take a referral if asked. They were asked and immediately agreed. After the preliminary testing, they disagreed with Loyola as to the cause of the problem, which in fact allowed that Loyola had been more successful at the surgery than the Loyola team thought.

    So radiation was suggested and accepted. Tonight I looked at my nephew, 6' and probably 130 pounds. The radiation has taken not only his appetite, but his hair, well about half of it. The scars from the two previous neurosurgeries are evident. He was so tired from the drive, though my brother said he slept most of the ride, yet he tried so hard to make us all feel hopeful. I know my brother is exhausted and full of fear. My sister-in-law, a nurse is less fearful, but very aware of the not so hopeful prognosis.

    Grace? I used that in the title. Grace is my nephew giving me a purple 'hope' bracelet, from the American Cancer Society. He said, "Aunt K...., I don't have cancer, but most of those I grew close to do." One was a 6 year old boy, with the same type of brain tumor, but malignant. Jay was like, "He's too young, he hasn't had a chance to live." Needless to say, from a 25 year old, he didn't see the irony. He also seemed to bond with a man that was close to his father's and my age, a man with children and a couple grandchildren. Jay is ready to wage a war against cancer, period. When I told him I'd already made a donation to Brain tumor research for Christmas, he was glad, but said he thought it more important that we address cancer in general, that research will 'spill over.'

    Grace is helping others find the good road, without being self-righteous. I was touched by grace tonight. I got the message about selflessness. There's a gift, without strings, that we can all reach out for. It may be one thing or another, all have different trials; but in my case my example is someone I never would have thought possible or wanted to be a role model, but nonetheless is making me a better person.

    Christmas is a time of gifts, I hope a year from now things are looking better for my nephew, but I know I'll always remember this Christmas Eve.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 2
  2. chloe
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    chloe Guest

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    I hope so too Annie
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Thanks. It's hard to explain how touching this was, yeah he's my godson and special for many reasons. 5 years ago or so, he graduated summa cum laude from the university for law enforcement. He had done his internship with the secret service and they wanted him to apply, while going to grad school. He chose instead to pursue a patrol position, following his dad, a deputy chief of police in a Chicago suburb.

    While waiting for a position he went to work for TRW in their identity theft division, getting 2 promotions before landing a job with a police department a little less than a year after graduation. He graduated #1 in his academy class, went on the street for 2 weeks and realized he'd never feel comfortable. His biggest fear was that he'd disappoint my brother. Needless to say, his dad said, "The worst policeman is one that doesn't feel they belong there." Not a problem. He went back with TRW and immediately into management of identity theft. They have been so good to him. They allowed him to work while undergoing therapy to regain the skills needed. They've said they want him back, as soon as he is able, with no time table. Two of the managers drove from Chicago to Rochester to visit with him and understand what he's going through.

    The surgeries took away his peripheral vision and some word retrieval abilities. He can never drive again, that's for over a year now. He was running before the radiation, but had to be extremely careful of signs, curbs, etc., or he could seriously hurt himself. He smacked into a sign while walking with his wife, and needing stitches on top of a concussion. Now the radiation has sapped his strength, but we're all hopeful it will come back soon, along with some weight.

    He can't have a beer, something that makes him feel weird around his friends. He had sperm frozen prior to radiation, for the future but is adamant that he doesn't want children until he is certain he'll be around to raise them. I can't imagine any of this at his age.

    How someone so young, so smart, so strong is now in this place? Yet he is, and making the most of it. He raised literally thousands of dollars last summer, weeks before his second surgery for brain tumor research. Now he'll turn his attention and ours to brain cancer research. He's a remarkable person, it's a privilege to know him.
     
  4. chloe
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    chloe Guest

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    It sounds like it and I hope & pray he gets well and stays in remission.
     
  5. Caligirl
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    Caligirl Oh yes it is too!

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    (((HUG)))

    THank you for sharing that.
     

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