Today I went to help my brother Brian with yardwork and carport/shed hauling. I yelled at him when he pitched in to the point of reaching as high as he could to clip some branches on the small tree. I lectured him about trying to be a player/coach when at this time he needed to be just a coach. “When you coach a softball team, you can’t go out in the field with the guys,” I said. (Brian had been a Little League coach–a good one–some years back.)
Later I apologized for yelling at him. He said it was OK and I was right and he needed to keep in check.
The thing is, Brian is going to the hospital for cancer surgery next Tuesday. He has an IV port in his chest that has been there since his chemotherapy a couple of months ago. Most of the available veins–aren’t.
Brian has been to Hell on his own dime via street life, incarceration, and hard drug use. This century he has trekked back out of Hell heroically, and gives a lot of credit to the faith-based service organizations Streets of Joy and Victory Outreach. He has even (miraculously!) stopped smoking, giving up a habit he’d had since his teens.
But now, the malignant mass having had its growth stunned and stunted as much as possible via chemo and radiation, the docs are going in to remove the mass, and part of Brian’s body with it. And he is far more calm and collected about it than I am.
It is rectal cancer, the same thing that claimed our grandfather back in 1987. Brian knows exactly what he’s in for, because he was Papa’s caregiver in the last four months of Papa’s life.
It is possible that Brian’s long stint of living on the edge has helped prepare him for this next challenge. It’s also possible that he’s just putting on a brave front, but I doubt it. I think I would know. I’ve known him all his life.
And I love him. He is a great brother. He would do anything for family, including me. He is especially generous to the homeless. All are his brothers and sisters.
But this brother is having a hard time with this harsh reality, and has turned to creative expression as a means of coping. You’ll see some of the chaos of panic in the card below . . .
Part 2 will include transcription and annotation. Meanwhile, Brian has given me permission to ask all who read this to pray for him. He believes in the power of prayer, and I believe in the power of Brian plus prayer. Friends, please pray for my beloved brother Brian.