A Fighter….

DSC_0916A cliché title for an all too familiar story.  Cancer and the person that it is trying to claim.

I never really knew if I would actually get a chance to take these pictures.  I honestly didn’t think it would come.  I work so much that it is hard on me to drive several hours to visit people.  I mainly want to curly up in a ball to sleep, but that is neither here nor there.  The point is, I rarely get over there and I figured that the next time I was able to…well, I figured it would be too late.  That was never my intent, it just seems to be how my life works out for me sometimes.  Anyway, here is the man.

My uncle.  Mark, early sixties, father of one. He has been battling cancer since 2010.  At least that is when we found out about it and by then it was already stage four.  I suspect he had it for sometime, but he was one of those that rarely went to the doctor.  And now he has more visits than anyone person should ever have to endure.

When the family was first informed, he had stage four liver and colon cancer.  Chemo and surgery appeared to have worked, but then the cancer manifested else where.  That is how it has been since the family found out.  Chemo and radiation, cancer moves else where.  I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t sitting here wondering if this has been the truth.  He doesn’t want people to worry about him; especially, my grandpa-he has enough on his plate.  My uncle has told my dad multiple things that were never supposed to and on other ears, in regards to his health…..my daddy.  Truth be told, you want to keep a secret, you might have better luck telling a small town gossip hen. I kid…kind of.  The trouble is, my dad usually tells my mom and she is the head hen.  But this is not about them.

The chemo is no longer working.  The radiation has been tapped.  Borrowed time is an understatement.  When the chemo and radiation stopped working, he and my dad headed to St. Louis to visit Barnes Jewish Hospital.  They had a trial and he was to see if he qualified.  He did for two separate trial drugs….neither worked.  He was told he needed to see my cousin, in short…he was told to make peace and get closure and say good-byes.  But here, this day, on a sad day for some…he was in good spirits.  Or at least, he faked it.  Told stories. Gave directions.  Acted like there wasn’t a thing wrong that couldn’t be tolerated.

I guess fighter is the best way to describe him. Honestly he is one of the strongest men I know.  He is the third of three of uncles to have cancer and so far the one to last the longest.  I’ve buried two now because of losing battles.  Soon, he will join them, though…he’s on my dad’s side so he will not be sitting at any ghostly tables with the other two.  The table he will be sitting at, will probably have more love and laughter.  Angels singing.  He goes to church regularly when he can.  Helps take care of his ex-wife whom is also battling cancer.  Sang in the church choir until he could no longer.  I’m not saying that he was better than my other two uncles.   My parents just come from two completely different sides of the track and sometimes it is painfully obvious just how different.

DSC_0882
Amazing how different people can come together and get along.  It is possible, though these days you wouldn’t know it by looking around.  It is also so disheartening to see how much cancer really does just tear into us like it is nothing.  I mean, I knew the statistics of cancer related deaths, but I guess I never really thought about it in terms of my family.

As for my uncle, I don’t know what to say.  He was around as I was growing up and I was close to my cousin at the time (not the one he needs to see, this cousin was his stepson at the time), but then he and his wife split up and he eventually moved back to Illinois and we lived in Oklahoma….we would see him during the holidays and that is it, but he’s always been good to me.  So, he really is a good man, a good uncle.  Always around and always lending a helping hand.  The things you are supposed to say about a person.

I don’t know if these will be the last of the pictures that I get to take of him.  I don’t know if I will get to see him again.  When the chemo stops working, borrowed time gets called in on its loan.  I don’t have any pictures of him from before, but I now have these.  It isn’t how one should want to remember a person, but I think that they are as good as anything.   He looks frail, but he doesn’t look sad and he doesn’t look like death is standing next to him.  He was telling his stories and joking around.  Being the uncle that I’ve always known when he’s not mad at the kids.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and I hope that you like the pictures.  Much like the last ones I posted, I don’t know what I was hoping to convey but I hope that they convey something.

DSC_0900Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

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