Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chronicles of Life … great news for the fam

Normally on Wednesdays, I block out the world and take a 13.5 hour nap. Today was the same, except I woke up at 2:30 a.m., checked my text messages, and now I can’t get back to sleep. My mom texted me some GREAT news: my brother’s tumor is gone!
Praise the Lord, cut the cake and let’s all dance!
My family found out AQ had a tumor in his stomach in late May. I hit the road quicker than lightening to make a trip home, soon as I heard. We may fuss, fight and argue on a regular, but I love my little brother. He’s irreplaceable.
I prayed and cried the whole trip down, because I know a tumor usually denotes cancer. Cancer is not something I would wish on anybody, and it seems even worse when it’s a child. Little Brother was just 16 (17 now) and a rising senior in high school.
Doctors did a biopsy and spinal tap and got the results. We soon learned he has Burkitt’s lymphoma and would be undergoing chemotherapy for about six months.
Burkitt’s lymphoma is an uncommon type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma that commonly affects children. The abdomen is usually the area that is affected for children in the United States and Europe (lymph nodes are the case in equatorial Africa). It is a fast-growing cancer, but Burkitt’s lymphoma responds really well to chemotherapy and is quite curable. Later relapses are hardly seen.
It was not as bad as it could have been. But of course we still were quite upset that he even had cancer. My parents and I were buckets of tears when the doctor told us that news. We made sure to dry up though so my brother wouldn’t see us and get depressed too.
I spent a few nights in the hospital with my brother, much to his dismay. I was the absolute best nurse, in my opinion. His every need was anticipated. Although soon he started cussing me out because I was “annoying him,” and he seemed just a little too happy when I left. Mind you, I was practically in tears because I didn’t want to leave my poor baby. But I make sure to call him (or at least both my parents) every day, sometimes multiple times even. I get hung up on a lot, or ignored calls. I’m not sure why.
But I digress.
That first week in the hospital was filled with visits from family and friends (and my own friends all called me on a regular for updates). They came to show their love and support and offer prayers. I think I heard at least a good 20 prayers. My dad is a pastor and most of his friends are too. Every night seemed like a new prayer meeting.
Prayer is good and does indeed change things. My brother has to go to the hospital every month for a weeklong treatment of chemotherapy. When doctors did the second biopsy in June, 50 percent of the tumor was gone. They were only expecting 20 percent. The chemo was working, but God was working more.
My brother is bald right now (I cut my hair in solidarity) and extremely skinny, but he’s been in good spirits about the whole cancer situation. He makes jokes saying: he is going to ride his bicycle from Jacksonville, Fla. to Palatka, Fla. and get a medal like Lance Armstrong; he is now excused from all gift giving because he has cancer; or the girls all love his sexy bald head (he actually doesn’t look too bad).
I think he has one more treatment in September then he’s done. Yay!
I am thankful to everyone for all their thoughts and prayers. That is what helped my family get through this.
It was too late/early to call anyone, so writing it out was the next best thing. Now we can all rejoice at this great news.


  1. this is so touching I'm trying to keep from crying!

  2. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!! I got your text. I'm mad that I was actually AWAKE then, but had my phone off. I'm so, so, so, so happy for the family!

  3. God is GOOD!! Antonia I am still crying from yesterday. Just so you know AJ is my lil brother too, so you need to share. I just wanted to scream to the top of my lungs when he text me, instead I had to go outdoors and do a dance and cry. I will continue to pray for the entire family, because I'm included in the family.. LOL. Like you said "prayer changes things". I feel a song in my spirit.

    D. Nealy plus 2

  4. LOL Debrina at least you got a text. That miscreant aint even called or told me or the parents.

  5. I have Burkitt's Lymphoma, too, and know how intense that chemotherapy regimine is. I'm thankful to read your blog and know that you and your family love God and are trusting Him through all of this! Praise Jesus!

  6. There is nothing my God can not do. I'm proud of you being there for your family. You have to excuse AJ on this one, he was so excited, and praising God, and forgot to call the family.
    Watch out Columbia County, J-VILLE, Gator Nation, and especially AJ here is Antonia!