Everyday is a new day

For a very long time I have believed that everyday is a gift and you have to make the most of whatever is thrown your way. Not every day is amazing but there is something amazing every day! The past two months have been a lesson about that gift. In late August my brother was diagnosed with cancer of the Larynx. After lots of tests, it was decided in late September that he needed to have a complete Laryngectomy which meant that he would have his voice box removed and a new airway inserted in his neck.

On October 3, he was admitted to UCSF, Mt. Zion in San Francisco for a temporary Trach while waiting for the surgery to remove his Larynx. I flew home on Friday and was amazed when I arrived at the hospital. Mark was laying in a hospital bed, unable to speak, several tubes attached to him and he was smiling! He was feeling much better than before the procedure because now he could breathe. That weekend was lots of preparations for the long surgery and stay at the hospital. The reality of what he was going through slapped me in the face but when I looked at him I couldn’t help being sure this was a blessing! He was going to have the cancer removed and live.

On Monday, Oct. 7, his doctors performed a 9 hour surgery to remove the Larynx, all of the cancer and create a new airway for him to breathe. He was transfered to ICU about 9 pm and pretty out of it. Tuesday morning we returned to the hospital about 10 am to see him and he had already been up and walking. Again when I entered the room he was smiling and throughout his 10 days in the hospital after surgery he smiled throughout and kept us laughing everyday. Have you ever seen someone writing a note to you and laughing so hard they couldn’t write! Waiting for him to finish writing what was so funny was tough! He had lots of tubes, couldn’t eat for over 7 days, has no voice, his privacy was completely invaded and not once did he complain or even get grumpy. He did tell us everyday he wanted to eat! He is a guy that never did much writing and now he is making us laugh through his writings – I am amazed.

The whole staff was very impressed with his attitude and stamina to get moving so quickly. He was getting such praise from the nurses, infact the ICU nurses didn’t want to let him go! All of a sudden my baby brother is a star pupil! That gave us all a good laugh! When you put your mind to anything amazing stuff happens.

I left him on Monday, Oct 14 so I didn’t get to see him finally getting to eat or learning how to use his new voice. He sends me text messages and email and is still making me laugh! I’m told he is saying lots of stuff and he is so determined to speak again. He has a long road of recovery ahead as he endures 6 weeks of radiation and learns how to use the tools the speech therapist has given to him but there is no doubt he will win this battle and do it with gusto!

Cancer touches so many lives and this is the closest I have been and somehow my brother made it not seem so hard. I know he was really scared and is still probably but he never gave into the fear and made sure I didn’t either.


Paul and I are in Spokane Washington and working our way back to California. We will be back in the next 2 weeks.

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