The Happiness Report #11 – My Brother Larry

Wow – what a week! Last weekend, my husband and I took our kids to Iowa to spend the week with Grandma and Grandpa. When we arrived home, I collapsed into bed only to be jarred awake a few minutes later by the phone ringing. It was one of my sisters and she told me I needed to get to the Emergency Room ASAP… our brother was not doing well and things weren’t looking good.

I arrived at the ER to discover my brother in a horrible state. He was hallucinating, dehydrated, extremely weak and his chest sounded like a fish tank gurgling along. His oxygen level was very low and he was in tremendous pain. To make matters worse, he was nauseous from the chemo he had earlier in the week and he couldn’t throw up because the tumor was blocking his esophagus. He also had pneumonia in both lungs, but couldn’t clear his chest because of the tumor blocking his esophagus. Can you imagine how horrible that would feel?

I watched helplessly as my sister-in-law dealt with the “do not resuscitate” orders… nurses came in and out just trying to keep him comfortable. It was one year to the day that my friend Ann lost her battle with cancer. I was cursing cancer and hating what this disease had done so quickly to my brother.

I ended up staying the night with him at the hospital. I had to leave for a short business trip to Chicago the next morning and as I gave him a hug and kiss goodbye, I honestly was fearful that this would be the last time I saw him alive.

Our friends here at home and those of you who heard the news online committed to praying relentlessly for him, his doctors and his family. I’m excited to tell you that those prayers have worked…my brother has taken an unbelievable turn for the better, thanks to your prayers and the innovation of a great doctor who has apparently gone through something similar with his own family recently.

It was discovered that the tumor had punctured a hole in my brothers trachea and esophagus causing everything from his feeding tube and other fluids to leak out into his lungs and body cavity. The doctor decided to perform surgery to put a stint in his esophagus and it worked! He came out of surgery and is now able to eat, drink, cough, breathe again. After seeing him on Sunday and then visiting him again today, I can’t believe the improvement in just these few short days.

His prognosis is still the same… he’s not going to be with us all that much longer, but we are thankful that we have awhile longer to have him in our life.

So, today’s happiness project is a long story but boils down to one thing. I’m thankful to have my brother alive. Actually, make that two things… I’m thankful for your prayers as well. I’ve received so many kind emails, phone calls, tweets, facebook messages from all of you. Thank you so much for keeping our family in your thoughts. It is so appreciated.

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  1. says

    Dear Kristen,

    I am so glad to hear that the dr.’s were able to ease your brother’s suffering and give him more quality time with all of you. I am so very sorry that you all have to go through this and I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs to you!!

  2. Cristina says

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family! I hope you get to spend some good quality time with your brother, and your family. Thank you for sharing your story!

  3. says

    oh Kristen. I’m so, so terribly sorry. I somehow missed this until now, but please know that you, your family and your brother are in my prayers. Sending you all the love in the world.

  4. says

    While I’m sorry to hear his prognosis hasn’t improved, it is very good news that he has recovered from this latest scare. My heart goes out to you and your family right now. I know you will enjoy every moment you have with him.

  5. Elle Hyson says

    This was great news, Kristen. My best and most heartful wishes for your brother and you and the rest of your family.

  6. Mona says

    I am so sorry your family has to go through all of this. Prayers for your
    brother and the whole family.
    I enjoyed getting to see your family at Grandma’s this week. Sweet little kids!!!
    Love, Mona

  7. Cindy B. says

    I’m sorry to hear about your brother, I hope he’s feeling well.I know the pain of losing love ones because of cancer; my mother and two aunts , one just pass away this month. Stay strong and be there for him. My prayers go out to you and your family.

  8. Tracy Gervais says

    Thanks for sharing. I am so thankful they were able to make him more comfortable and give you more time with your brother. Thoughts and prayers are with you all!! God Bless!

  9. says

    There are no words for such a miracle! Hugs to you and your family, Kristen. Your brother is still in my thoughts, as are you and your family.

    Fondly, Les

  10. says

    I just read this out to my mum and properly choked up whilst reciting it, I dont know what came over me! Such a horrible situation, cancer has devastated this family too more times than i wish to recall. I will be adding another prayer to the long list that im sure God is being bombarded with on behalf of your brother :) I am so happy for you that his condition improved so dramatically and you got some more precious time, my thoughts are with you and all your family


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