Cancer is such a scary thing; it doesn’t discriminate. I guess that I can say that I’ve been lucky to have lived 26 years without cancer affecting my life. All of that changed when I turned 26. My cousin, June, was diagnosed with kidney cancer on my 26th birthday. He went in complaining about a slight pain in his belly, above his belly button. Two
days later, the doctor called back with the news that it was cancer. Shocked, that’s an understatement. I have a very large family on my mom’s side; my grandmother has 10 children, 14 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren (no get together is ever small). I wouldn’t say that we are all close but it seems that in times of trouble, the family bands together. A month after the cancer diagnoses June went in to have the kidney removed. With hands together, fingers crossed, and heads bowed everyone prayed that this would be the answer to our prayers. Hopefully the doctors would remove the kidney and the cancer would be gone. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. When the doctors opened him up for surgery that only helped the cancer spread, something NO ONE could have seen coming, more shocking news. June kept a positive attitude; he knew that cancer wouldn’t beat him. He wasn’t going out without a fight. And fight, he did.
For the next year and 5 months he fought, his parents fought. I can’t tell this story without mentioning how vigilant my Uncle Johnny and Aunt Deena were. They were experiencing something that no parent should have to experience. In June of 2010 he was told by the doctors that there wasn’t anything else that could be done. The cancer was spreading so rapidly that it couldn’t be stopped. He was told that he only had two weeks left to live. The family was preparing for the worst, making travel arrangements, calling other friends and family to notify them. Remember I said he was a fighter? Two weeks came and went and he was still fighting, cracking jokes, making people laugh. A month came and went, and while he wasn’t well, he was still living. Everyone had high hopes for a recovery. We were sure that the doctors didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. Two weeks…yeah right, it’s been 2 months, 3 months. I was able to take a trip to Michigan to visit him and I am so glad that I did. Although, he didn’t look like himself, his personality was the same. When he wanted to make a point, he MADE a point and the day that I saw him, his point was about Almond Joy. He didn’t understand how you can have those Almond Joy pieces (a new candy that is out) without having almonds in them. “It just doesn’t make sense, that’s false advertisement,” he said. Month 3 took us into October; the cancer was spreading more rapidly than ever. June was going blind; the cancer had spread to his brain. The call came at 10:15pm, the words were simple, “he’s gone, that’s it.” On Saturday, November 6, 2010, June lost his battle with cancer at the age of 38.