My brother Michael died on Sunday. He was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, in June 2010, and while he was briefly “NED” (No Evidence of Disease) in late 2010/early 2011, it never went into remission, despite chemotherapy and surgery to remove the primary tumor. He was my brother and my friend, and I miss him terribly. He did a lot of things in his life – he was an incredibly talented musician, a graphic designer and art director, a teacher, a traveler and an adventurer. He was married twice, and at the end he found true love with Jen, who remained with him through his diagnosis and struggles. She was with him on his last night of consciousness in the ICU, talking all night. He made her laugh that night, as he did so many times. She was the best thing that ever happened to him, and I told him so. He agreed.
I’m keeping up his blog, as I have done for the last couple of months, trying to carry it on in the spirit he intended. He wanted it to serve two purposes. For his friends and family, the blog updates were a way to know what was going on in his journey and to connect with him. Even when he was not able to update it in the hospital, he was reading my posts and the responses. For others who may have the same struggle, he wanted it to provide a sense of what the journey might be like for him. He called it The Unintentional Expert, because he was learning so much about cancer, and chemotherapy, and the systems of his body. In his characteristic way of dealing with hard things with humor, the subtitle is “One man’s attempt to make sense of a senseless thing (Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma/TCC). With hilarious anecdotes.”
Writing about his passing, and the memorial gathering we have planned, and what he wanted people to do with donations – those things are hard. The hardest, though, was editing the “Who is this guy, anyhow?” section, to add the note that he is gone.
Farewell, my brother. I miss you so much.
Michael’s blog: http://theunintentionalexpert.blogspot.com/