Thursday, March 17, 2005

Now go get some rest...

I have one brother. And now one sister in law, who I love like a sister. And of course, the little dude - Cameron. 11 years ago I was in college. Remember how I said it's funny the things you remember?

I'll never forget that day. I was 18, maybe. Lived in a basement suite on 17A street NE Calgary. Grey tiled floor, wood paneled wall beside where my phone was. I still have the end table my phone and answering machine were sitting on. But I threw away that phone awhile ago - the cord kept getting tangled. It fell off that end table several times and even a 2 foot drop to concrete is hazardous when it happens often enough.

Mom called and with mom, you can tell when there's something wrong. She told me my brother was going to Saskatoon the next day. Nothing outstanding on it's own but what the hell, I ask "why?" More like, why is this important to me? Well I soon found out. He was getting really tired at work. Couldn't even sweep up the shop floor. Not good for a 20 year old. So he went to the hospital and Dr. E felt there was something wrong. So 2 days later, my brother was in Saskatoon. Now, if you're not familiar with healthcare in Sask, nothing moves that quickly. So I knew that this wasn't just a doctor thinking maybe, possibly there was a problem.

I called my boyfriend at the time. And no, not my current ex. Although this response is why this guy was very quickly my ex boyfriend. I'm clearly upset and he says "It's nothing." That's all. LOL. Don't worry about it. It's nothing.

It wasn't nothing. Then it was Hodgekins Disease. Another weird thing I'll always remember, looking that up in my old Webster's dictionary. From that definition, I had to look up Lymphoma to discover that my brother basically had cancer of the lymphatic system. Something about D and I...we never fought much. I mean sure, all siblings do fight, but for us it was just the odd disagreement. The odd slammed door, thrown object. Nothing major. I used to borrow his car all the time. Just don't tell him about the time I scared the hell outta Dawn playing cat & mouse....

Anyway. That summer, I watched my brother go through Chemotherapy. That is hell on a person. The chemo, watching too, but I really got the easy part of that job. Now, if you know D, you know he doesn't sit still. Ever. We play cards at christmas? D is up wandering around between hands. He just doesn't sit still, never has. That summer, I have pictures of him with a cat sleeping on him on my mom's couch. And he doesn't like cats. I was home for 3 weeks, and that's ALL he did. Sleep. After that, he did radiation in Saskatoon, but I was back to school in calgary.

The next phone call isn't so clear in my memory. The first one is probably just burned in memory thanks to the shock of it all. But a year or two later, my brother's cancer was back. Same cancer. This time they weren't going to do the chemo and radiation. They were going to send him to Calgary to get a stem cell replacement done. I guess this would've happened in 1996. The Tom Baker Cancer Clinic was on my way home from work...

Anyway, getting ahead of myself. My brother made several trips to Calgary before the actual replacement. He had blood taken so they could separate his stem cells and treat them with chemo. I think there were three trips to do that until they had enough blood for the treatment. Then came the actual procedure. I will always have soooo much respect for my brother for what he went through.

Chemotherapy. Poison. Same thing. Really. Only with conventional chemotherapy, they don't give lethal doses of the chemicals. In a stem cell replacement...they do. This happened in the fall. How do I remember that? Hunting season so T was missing in action and my parents were harvesting. So there was me to go and keep D company. And guilt... well, guilt sucks.

So every night, I went to see my brother. And he'd try to stay awake for me. But there was no point. He finally asked me to stop going to see him. Guess guilt affects him too. Must be genetic.

Another weird thing to remember. My brother and parents staying in my little apartment, this time 427 3rd Ave NE. Horrid green carpet in that little place. We were having hamburgers and dad was frying onions. The smell made D sick so he went outside for fresh air. He still can't stand the smell of onions frying.

Anyway. All that over and done with and the cancer was gone...again. Woo hoo. After 5 years, a person is considered cured. The whole remission thing and all that. So, after 5 years, my brother got engaged, then married to S. I think the whole family celebrated and Dad could finally rest assured D wasn't gay. Cause we had that discussion once. Another thing I'll never forget. But at least that makes me laugh. My dad speculating on my brother's sexual orientation.

Then a few weeks ago, he found a lump again. His blood tests came back clean, but he came up here anyway to see Dr. S. A naturopath who really helped D last time, just with the treatments and stuff. he checked D out and felt it was just an infection, nothing to worry about. So, that, combined with clean blood results made us all feel things would be fine. Thank god the surgeon insisted on removing the lump.

Well, hows that for a little emotional dump this evening? LOL, I started this an hour ago, and several tissues ago. Funny the things I remember. I can picture that wall in that old basement suite like I was still there. And the green carpet in that horrible apartment. And his hospital room at the TBCC. Washing my hands when I went in because he had NO immune system at that point. I'm not sure I can handle all of that again.


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