My story is not about me, but about my older brother Michael. We count our blessings every day that he is still with us, and while it hasn’t been easy for him or his wonderful wife of 24 years Patricia, we’re thankful that someone was watching over him in 1996.
Michael was working as a long-haul truck driver for about a year. In September, he was driving through West Virginia and happened to stop at a truck stop for dinner. It was a brief stop, truckers don’t get paid to sit in coffee shops after all, but steps from getting back into his rig and on the road again, Michael suffered a seizure and collapsed unconscious to the ground.
He was found by his fellow truck drivers and was taken to a nearby hospital, where an MRI confirmed a tumor on his front left lobe. I could tell you it was the size of an orange or a golf ball, but really it doesn’t matter. It was malignant and he needed to come home.
Michael was treated at the London Cancer Clinic with the first of his surgeries, he’s had three, done within the first week of his return. The surgeons were able to remove most of the tumor, but due to its positioning, complete removal was impossible without affecting or wiping out completely Michael’s ability to speak. He endured the usual rounds of chemo and radiation and to date there is no further growth of the tumor.
There have been side effects of his treatment: some slurred speech, loss of energy, short term memory loss and the occasional seizure. He can’t drive any more, and he hasn’t worked in years. I’m okay with all that, because we still have my brother around. He has seen his daughter graduate from university, and his nieces and nephews grow up. He’s stronger than I ever thought he was when we were growing up. He’s a fighter, and so far he’s got this thing beat.
I think back to 1996 and wonder all the what ifs. What if the line at the truck stop was just a little bit shorter? What if he hadn’t stopped at all? We wouldn’t be telling this story, but one with a far more tragic outcome. He truly did have someone watching over him that day. And we are grateful that they were.
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