November 30th, 2017
Two posts in one day from me – a rarity. But there’s more, and this is the harder one.
After I was diagnosed with lung cancer, my younger brother Ethan decided to go in for a check-up, just to make sure that everything was alright with him. A CT scan revealed a nodule in his lower right lung, and his team at Mayo Clinic have determined that it is cancer.
The good news is that they’ve caught it very early, and he’s scheduled for surgery to remove it on Monday of next week. From there they’ll be watching him like a hawk and staying ahead of any developments, should they arise.
While we’re all so grateful to have caught Ethan’s cancer so early, we’re in a sort of perpetual state of disbelief. It’s all so surreal and words often escape us. I found myself saying to him on the phone the other night, “No, no – you don’t understand. I have cancer – not you.” Even as his doctors have confirmed what we’ve feared, I still find myself hoping for a colossal medical mistake. I’m past the denial stage with my own cancer, but my mind wanders there for Ethan quite regularly.
Ethan is strong (he teaches Body-Pump!), wicked-smart, wildly funny, kind, compassionate, thoughtful… He lights up a room with his warmth and innate welcome. He and his spouse Jill have two amazing, talented young daughters, Willa and Addy. So, so precious. They are all life and love to me in such meaningful ways.
So we’re all in a bit of a freefall, mindful now more than ever before of life’s giftedness and unfairness, its beauty and its hardship.
When he announced this news on his own Facebook page, Ethan wrote, “Let me end here by saying that come what may I am determined to live well. None of us know where our days will take us, but I am resolved to meet this with all that is right and good in me and in this community.”
He’s so good and amazing. I’m so lucky to have him as a brother. Even in his grappling with this, he is a source of great resolve and goodness for me. So we stand in strange solidarity together and move forward to meet this with all that is right and good in us and with all of you.
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I have stage IV lung cancer and I write about that here. If you're out there and you're fighting cancer, solidarity. If you read "lung cancer" and you wonder if I was a smoker, read this. Living with cancer is a daily, death-defying reality - one that pushes me to not simply defy death, but to affirm life, bless goodness, cheer for wonder, celebrate beauty... you get the idea. I hope I do that here.