Marisa's Story: Being strong for my big brother

Marisa's Story: Being strong for my big brother

My brother and I never had the greatest relationship growing up. We fought argued bickered and pulled each others hair out…literally. But on April 5th, 2013 we found out he had a brain tumour, it was that moment that I realized that beneath all the fussing and fighting, the love that I have for my brother is colossal.

We didn’t know much at this point. Type, grade, size and even what this meant for his future. We prayed it was just a contusion, a mistake, a misdiagnosis. Then were told it was a stage one. We prayed it was just stage one until we were told it was a stage two. We cried and prayed that it wasn’t that, until after his surgery we were told it was a possible stage three brain tumour.

Stage three statistics show a 5-9 year life expectancy. We prayed with every fibre of our being it was only a stage two. We put all our faith, trust and belief in God, Yet we prepared ourselves for the worst. Sitting in the waiting room amongst a mother who was told their child wouldn’t make it, that she wouldn’t have another day with her child to tell them how much she loved them, we realized that things could be a lot worse and that whatever we were faced with we would get through because we had each other.

We had to pull ourselves together and be strong and confident for my brother. We had to put on a smiley face and fake some laughs, pretend to be happy when in actual fact we were living with immense fear and sadness. And through this living nightmare he had no idea the possibility of a stage three diagnosis.

The weeks leading up to surgery were difficult. He was scared, something we were not used to seeing which scared us even more — but we realized that knowledge is power. So we researched and informed him of what we could find about his condition.

My brother is 26 years old, strong healthy and mentally prepared for battle and greatly determined. but he had many questions and concerns:

  • Fears that he would not come out of surgery as the same person.
  • Worried my mother would have to take care of him the test of his life.

We told ourselves, we always think the worst … it’s only natural.

The surgery went phenomenally well. He came out knowing his name, location and date immediately after. He was walking around the next day. Eating, drinking and moving, against his will, but we were all there cheering him on.

After a week of waiting for the pathology reports, living in fear, not eating, not sleeping, not wanting to socialize and not knowing my brothers mortality, we got a call saying it was a stage two Oligodendroglioma. They told us that it is fairly slow growing but always have a possibility to turn in to a grade three. With all the prayers and positive thinking, with the begging and pleading with God to please give our son, brother, grandchild, nephew, boyfriend, cousin and friend his health, let us see him get married, have children and be the most incredible father we know he can be…our prayers were answered.

This was a test of faith, a test of love. When faced with a situation like this, I urge everyone to rely on their faith, on their belief in God. If it doesn’t exist, create it, what’s the worst that can come.

I learned we shouldn’t pray just when we need something. We must pray that we wake up and open our eyes every day, we can smell the roses, eat, drink, write, speak, drive…..all the senses and day to day abilities we many times take for granted.

Remember that statistics mean nothing. People beat the odds every single day and people come out of situations better than they were before. Stronger, happier and wiser for it.

We have all learned from this to never take one day of life for granted, not to sweat the small stuff. To live every day to the fullest because you never know what tomorrow will bring. I believe this was a blessing in disguise.

Before his diagnosis my brother was a different person. He was a heavy smoker, a heavy drinker and some might describe him as ‘reckless’. He had to have control of everything and got upset over the ‘small stuff’. This has changed.

He still gets down once and a while but there is always someone around to lift him back up and remind him of the preciousness of life. I am confident that my brother will live a long and healthy life. Remember that everything in life happens for a reason and God doesn’t put anything on you he knows you can’t handle.

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