"Live life" is my brother Michael's mantra. When he was 18, he was diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and I think at that time, he knew he would pick his battles wisely for the battle to fight cancer was in his near future. No one could have predicted how soon and how aggressive the cancer would come.
It was during a work trip abroad when he experienced a severely painful episode of stomach and chest cramps unlike previous ones he had. It was a frightening moment that led him to get checked up. His first visit was with a GI doctor who, after hearing my brother's story, firmly responded with, "You are very lucky to be alive right now." CT scans and various tests soon followed, including an overnight stay at the ER due to getting a fever of 103 the day after his liver biopsy procedure.
Three weeks before his 31st birthday, he found out he had stage four cancer of the colon and liver and two tumors. He lives alone, in a different state from where my parents and I live. After taking a cab alone to the hospital to start chemo, he would go home alone, too. I want him to know that he is not alone.
You see the photo of my brother and I in front of a Christmas tree? That was last year (2016)
and I was distraught with uncontrollable tears. Michael, well, he made me laugh with a video he made of me on his Snapchat. Instantly, he lifted my spirits and put things in better perspective for me. He knows how to pick his battles and his choice of words and actions speak highly on how he wants to live his life:
Live Life - Like everyday is your last.
I look back at that picture and only think about laughing out loud, not whatever it was that bothered me temporarily. Also, I think how wise my brother is, how he is like my older brother when in reality, I'm almost a decade older.
My brother and family need your help to fight his battle against stage four colon and liver cancer. While we are all scattered across the country and can't be physically by his side everyday or take him to the hospital for his chemo treatments, we can help him with his living and medical expenses. He will be living life with on-going chemo to keep the tumors from growing; he will be faced with not enough time and money. We are thinking about how much funding my brother will need in the near future. Ultimately, we don't know what lies ahead. Our goal is not really a dollar amount, rather, for improving Michael's quality of life in spite of his cancers and of course, for him to live life longer!
"Michael, this burden is not yours to carry on your own, no matter how strong and positive you may be. You are not alone."
P.S. Please email me if you prefer to send Michael a check. Family and friends are encouraged to send checks so online fees are not deducted from your donation.
- Raph Jose
- jo carpenter
- Jo Carpenter
- Ellyn Phillips
- Esther Haas