This post is going to be a little different from the others as it won't focus primarily on my actions or sports, but my beliefs. What I should say first is that there are few things that hurt me to be 7 hours away and actually consider feeling guilty for being so far away. Over the past year, our family has endured it all. Last August, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the second time in her life.
First, you need to have an understanding on my mother's attitude in her day to day life. She believes in tough love. This attitude has taught me more in my lifetime than any class or "teacher" could preach. It taught me hard work, respect, as well as humor. Throughout her treatments, every morning (before work) at 6 am, she kept the most incredible attitude I've ever witnessed in a human being. I would call her after school (my senior year of high school at the time) and see how her day went. Her response usually being, "Yeah, I'm fine, when's your next game?" It was incredible. It's almost impossible to put into words what that span of time taught me in life. Her attitude was the single most important thing to her eventual clear tests of the cancer. Unfortunately, this wasn't the only thing thrown at us during the year.
2 months ago, my grandmother passed away. She lived a great life, and though it was unexpected, we knew she was where she wanted to be. With my grandfather. After my family mourned this death, I get a call from my mother once I go back to school. I was working on a paper and pick up the phone. My mother had her "quiet voice." This is never good. "Are you sitting down?" Again. Usually not good. "We found a lump in your brother's shoulder, we don't know what it is but he's going to need to go in for testing next week."
For anyone reading this who knows my brother and my relationship. This was not good. My brother is hands down my best friend and always will be on this Earth and any life hereafter. We are essentially the same person. We laugh at everything sacred enough to be laughed at and together, humbly of course, are two of the funniest people one can encounter. If something happens to him, I want it to happen to me instead.
He went in for testing and they stated it was a tumor on his collar bone. This could be caused by many things. Leukemia, lymphoma, bone spurs, etc. None of them good. It's never, "We found a tumor, but it's made out of Jolly Rancher so that's gonna be super delicious." I was at practice towards the end of the college season and see that there's a missed call from my mother on my phone. She knew I was at practice. After practice, of course I called her. Again, "Are you sitting down?" I was in the locker room with about 5 other teammates.
"Your brother has lymphoma. He's going to need treatment but he should be fine."
My mother asks, "Are you ok?"
"He'll be fine, Ron, do you want to talk to him?"
I partly didn't.
"You okay dude?" Good question Ron, very convincing.
"Yeah, I'll be fine don't worry."
It's again impossible to state the optimistic attitude of my brother throughout this endeavor as well. He went in to have the tumor removed the week after. Naturally, I came home for this, 3 classes can go to hell if they think I'm missing my brother's surgery. I walked in to the waiting room to find most of my family, as well as our best friend Marshall waiting around for whatever results were coming.
Before I continue, I need to focus on the actual title of this post. Faith. I'm going to be straightforward here. I don't know if there is God. No one does. Throughout this process surely I prayed, but it wasn't so "Ryan would be fine" or "Heal him please savior." I simply asked Him or Her or Whatever to make sure these surgeons removed the damn thing without ruining his motor functions in his arm. Let's take this one step at a time people. No one has magically just not had cancer without a misdiagnosis. That's like trying to finish a marathon with no training, but hey we prayed right? This is pretty much my stance. I'm going to poke fun at all I can to keep my spirits up. Sounds shallow? It is.
About 15 minutes later, the surgeon comes out of the "fixing people area." He stated that it was not actually a "tumor," but a big ugly sac of blood on his collar bone. Completely benign. He stayed in surgery another 2 hours until we could see him. This would be one of the single funniest moments of my human life.
I walk back to where he was set up with monitors and wires and whatever else they chose to hook up to his body. Marshall and I ask him how he's feeling and he states,
"My tumor was benignant."
Now, I don't know if it was the massive amount of drugs they had this kid on, or just his comedic nature to make stuff up to be funny, but I teared up laughing. He then continued to feel sorry for himself because, "Chicks loved me when they thought I had cancer." Of course he could no longer play that card.
So this was the extent of my brother and my mother's cancer. I guess the main point I want to preach to as many people as I can is this: It doesn't matter how religious or even what religion, if at all, you are. Laugh as much as you possibly can. Nothing in life is sacred, nothing is free of satire. Why spend this little time we have here feeling sorry for something that has happened. If I'm ever in a horrible situation and have limited time left on this Earth, I'll be honest, I don't want your prayers. Come make me laugh. Please. It's the one thing on this Earth I will never turn away. I'm not saying tell God to make sure not to help me, but don't make praying your main method of attack in the war.
Laughter is the one thing here that everyone can relate to, unfortunately fewer and fewer people understand that today.