My Brother’s Cancer Journey

iowaspring1Iowa is beautiful, even in late winter, early spring. Granted, it’s cold, and the gray days so far are quite a contrast to my usual daily dose of bright California sun. From having grown up here, I know the Iowa gray can go on all too long this time of year when everyone is ready for spring.

I’m here with my youngest brother, who is 49 years old, and has cancer according to the medical people. It has been tough going on many levels.  He is struggling to keep weight on, struggling to breathe, struggling to keep a positive attitude, struggling to accept his situation, struggling to walk, struggling to accept so much assistance, struggling to sleep, and most of all, to live.

His having cancer changed the landscape of our family quite suddenly.  There we all were, going about our days and nights as if all we had to do was “the usual” and then we found out he was not well.  We were having “lah-de-dah” conversations about the weather and “what did you do today?” which took a sharp and unexpected turn into conversations about how to live life fully, how to help someone else do the same, and what really matters in a day.iowalandscape

The mood — the frame of mind among family members on any given day here at the hospital — varies. Wondering if he will live at all is at the top of the list some days.  On other days, all things considered, he looks pretty good.  If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you know the “ebb and flow” I’m talking about.

I have a renewed appreciation for the nurses and doctors who do this service for my brother and for others every day in the oncology wing.  Being here with him and his process is my lesson in letting go.   How he is dealing with the cancer, his treatment choices – all of it is different than I would choose. That is what I think, but I don’t know, because I don’t have cancer and I have never walked in his shoes.

So here I am, hooking up his feeding tubes, learning how to disinfect the ports that carry the “nutrition” into his body, doing driving errands, transporting his children, or doing household chores.  My brother’s wife is carrying on the family business so they have an income. The tasks I’m doing seem very small, and they are, but every little bit helps.

Now he is home and having chemotherapy on a weekly basis.  He is on the least-invasive, most tolerable drug possible, because he has lost so much weight and getting him stronger is the number one goal now. Finding food he can face eating is quite a challenge.  He’s hungry, but nothing seems to sound delicious.  Truly good food, fully nutritious food, natural food — all of this seems to be a big turn off. How curious, since it seems that is what could possibly help him recover.  Again, I don’t know.  I have no idea.

Maybe the information I have about cancer can be helpful to someone else.  I will post more soon. In the meantime, listen to your heart.  Follow your heart. Imagine yourself looking back on your life.  What will you be glad you did?  Get to know your loved ones.  Have honest conversations.

Terriiowagrainbinsbarn

 

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Terri Crosby

Helping you create life-affirming, ever-evolving, happier relationships with those you love. Follow me on twitter at@TerriCrosby or read myblog.

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She’s Got Love Fingers

Christie Lenee can play a guitar. She’s the 2017 International Finger Style Guitar Champion of the Year. In September of last year in London, she also won Acoustic Guitarist of the Year.

But lucky for us, she’s not just a champion guitar player. Christie Lenee is also quite the composer.

A friend of hers, Michael Pukac, requested that she write a song, one he described as “the story of love.” She scribbled notes and went to work.

Through Christie’s ability to imagine, his desire became music. Now she plays this song for the world with her love fingers. Lucky you, lucky me, lucky us.

Take very good care of yourself this week. Why not sing a little…

Love,

Terri

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Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
 
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
 
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
 
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
 
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
 
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
 
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
 
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
 
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
 
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
 
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
 
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
 

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Terri Crosby

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