Exams of a Lifetime

Early this morning I sent a text to my brother to say:
“We’re with you. We love you.”

I had to get it to him early because he is currently in a time zone two hours ahead of the one I am in. My inner alarm went off before the alarm on my clock, so I had no trouble getting that message to him. He greeted me with a “Good morning!” and a wish for a great day, signed off with a “Love you too.”

After his initial meet and greet assessment appointment at the Mayo Clinic he sent me another text.

“Sounds like more scanning and biopsy. Will meet with surgeon Friday to see if surgery is possible. No more radioactive iodine as it didn’t work on my June scans and apparently not effective in December. External beam radiation back home if no surgery indicated.”

A bit later he texted me his schedule for the day.
10:40 Labs
1:15 Chest x-ray
1:45 Neck Ultrasound
3:05 Neck CT

and the schedule for Thursday (the day he and my sister-in-law celebrate their 32 wedding anniversary):
9:30 Ultrasound Biopsy of Neck

and for Friday:
1:30 ENT Surgical Consult
3:30 followup with Endocrinologist

Possibly the most important exams he will ever have.

At this point his whereabouts and schedule for next week are all up in the air.  All depends on IF. With this advanced stage of thyroid cancer still being in his body, becoming more aggressive and having hidden in some deep recesses of some difficult to get to places, the answer to the question IF surgery is a viable option is unknown.

The reason for all these exams today.
The reason for the biopsy tomorrow.
The reason for the consultation with specialists the next day.
The reason he is at the Mayo Clinic.

He is a beloved family man, son, brother and friend.

The one person, other than my parents, whom I have known the longest in my lifetime.
My brother, just five years younger than me.
My brother who makes me laugh because of the obscure, funny stuff he remembers from our childhood – sometimes all he has to do is look at me when something triggers one of those memories and we’ll share a big smile or laugh out loud for a while.
My brother who still remembers theme songs to several of the television shows we watched as kids.
My brother who is so supportive of me, who has counseled me on so many things and was audibly one of the happiest people when he found out I was going to marry Jeff – because he knew how happy I was.

I truly wish that I could be there with him, now, as he is going through some of the toughest exams of this life.


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