Our neighbours are a wonderful couple from New Zealand. They are in their 70's and have sort of adopted us as family. We are close and we spend a lot of time together. They have three children, 2 of which live in New Zealand, 1 child lives in Toronto.
Four years ago he was diagnosed with Colon cancer. He had major surgery which included a permanent colostomy, many rounds of chemo and radiation, and we thought he was cured. Two years later they discovered tumors on his lungs, so they operated and removed those. The tumors came back less than a year later, so they operated again followed by more chemo and radiation. Last year the tumors on his lungs were back yet again, and they deemed our friend incurable.
Miraculously he got better. He put on weight, started to do things again, started to live his life again. They went home for a month to New Zealand to visit family and friends.
This past September his elbow started to bother him - they said it was bursitis, and treated it accordingly. On Palm Sunday he fell outside jarring the elbow and ended up in the hospital. They x-rayed the arm and found the elbow completely gone - a scan showed bone cancer.
After Easter he began to see double and we noticed that his speech was slurred at times... a scan discovered that he had 3 tumors on his brain. He was given 3-6 months to live.
We have walked this journey with our good friend, and all along he has stayed positive, happy- never bitter, never angry. He doesn't talk much about his cancer, he doesn't dwell on it.
Yesterday he had brain surgery. It was successful in removing the largest of the three tumors, and he did very well. They now will concentrate on the other two and try and deal with the elbow as well.
This man is an inspiration to me. The rest of us think we have problems - we whine, we complain, we act as if we are the only ones who are stressed, hurting, or with problems. How very sad we are.
This man has pretty much had it all - and the nurse in me believes that he is nowhere out of danger even yet. But when I go up to ICU later today to visit him - I know he will greet me with the brightest, widest smile with genuine joy and delight to see me. His wife will be right there beside him, and her smile will be just like his, because we a true friends... we have become family.
God Bless you both - Gordon and Elaine!