Reub's journey

26 June 2015

Red

 Today is the day for the color red. It is the color of passion and anger, fire and strength, courage and danger, radiance and joy.



But today, most of all, it is the color of blood. At least for me.



Decades ago one of my older brothers drove ammunition trucks for the US army in Vietnam. His extended tour of duty exposed him, probably through drinking water, to chemicals in the defoliant Agent Orange. This carcinogen wreaked havoc on the people of Vietnam. It was indiscriminate, causing terrible cancers to soldiers on all sides of the war.



My brother is in the last stages of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood; his doctors wonder if I am willing to undergo DNA testing to determine suitability as a donor of blood stem cells or bone marrow.




 If I am a 10-to-10 match, my brother has a 25% chance of ridding himself of the cancer that is killing him. If you were a betting man, you wouldn't place money on the two of us.



Never the less I swabbed my cheeks this morning and went to yoga, taking the return envelope along, planning on putting it in the mail after class.




 It is everything that I am, but it may not be enough. The envelope containing all of my most basic information, my DNA, ticked like a time bomb on the seat of the car while I lay in savasana, corpse pose, at the end of class.



It will take about two weeks to determine the status of my DNA. In the meantime there is nothing more to do than to breathe in the expansiveness of summer, to see the earth in full bloom, and to be grateful for the world as it is. We will wait and see what happens: passion and anger, fire and strength, courage and danger, radiance and joy. Life-giving blood. Red.


42 comments:

  1. i am so sorry to hear about your brother. it is a terrible disease. my mil had it. i do hope you are a perfect match so this attempt can be made for him! glad you are willing to try.

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    1. Fingers crossed that I am his ideal match.

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  2. Sorry to read this about your brother. I've heard so much about Agent Orange. I hope everything comes out OK.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Hello Cubano. Agent Orange was a wicked weapon indeed, and today there are millions of people feeling its aftermath.

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  3. Ah, Kerry - allowing 'all that you are' to be all for your brother. I hope you're a match and you have the goodness of knowing you did what you could.

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    1. It is mostly a helpless feeling when someone gets a disease like this. I will feel so much better if I can be a donor.

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  4. Very tough to go through, I had to take a break reading this right at the swabs. I have seen a few real bad cases. I was ready for to give marrow, but the patient lost his fight. Very painful and I really respect your at least giving it a try.

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    1. Oh man, that's a tough story. My brother is tough and my hope is that this will have happy ending.

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  5. I feel for you. You're doing what you can do. Hope everything turns out positive. Best wishes to you and your brother.
    Take 25 to Hollister

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    1. Thanks Susie! That's nice of you.

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    1. Thank you Patience. You are an RN; you must be familiar with situations like this.

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  7. The legacy of the Vietnam War continues to touch all of us. Your post touched my heart. thank you

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    1. So it certainly does. Thanks Gayle.

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  8. Sorry about your brother. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    Meanwhile, I am in favour of red. I have decided that more of my new summer T-shirts must be red.

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    1. I also love red, and it was my mother's favorite color. When I taught art, the 2 most popular colors where red and blue. :)

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  9. I love the color red. My car is bright red, the hippie purse I carry is red, and even my watchband is red.

    I'm so sorry about your brother. My husband was a grunt in Vietnam, and he was also exposed to Agent Orange, because airplanes actually rained it down on him and his squad when they were in the jungle. According to the doctor and the VA, that's what caused his diabetes. Bless you for being willing to donate stem cells or marrow to your brother if you're a match. You're a good sister. I hope the next couple weeks go quickly for you, and you turn out to be a match.

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    1. I have a red purse too!
      I did not know that diabetes was also on the Agent Orange list of consequences. God, what an evil potion it was.

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  10. so sorry to hear about your brother. that was a terrible war and we did terrible things to the people and that part of the planet, to our own soldiers who we refused to admit needed help.

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    1. Luckily my brother does not have to rely on VA hospitals to help him. They are unequipped to do so. Our returned vets have gotten a bad shake.

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  11. Hoping that your blood might be life-saving for your brother. The color red - let's hope!

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    1. Barb, thank you. Here's to the color red!

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  12. Oh, I hope you are able to help your brother!

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    1. Well there is a chance that I can. :0 ) Not a huge chance, but a chance.

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  13. I am hoping and praying for a match of red cells, Kerry. Stranger things have happened in life for some people against all odds. I am glad you are able to try.

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  14. ooooooh fingers crossed, it would be the greatest gift of all.

    i never liked the color red, it my "better years" i have grow to love it!!

    i am crossing everything!!!

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    1. Thank you Debbie! Don't cross your eyes, though, ok? :-)

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  15. Kerry, I am so sorry. I lost my sister to skin cancer and there was no way I could help. Perhaps this is a good thing for you to help him win his battle. Blessings and peace to you both! You are most sentient in this journey.

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    1. So sorry to hear that you lost a sister to skin cancer: how terrible. It helps soothe the feeling of helplessness to be able to donate stem cells, if that's even possible. Thank you.

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  16. Kerry, so very sorry that your brother has this awful cancer. Let's pray and be hopeful that a cure is forthcoming. Keep us posted.

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    1. thanks Gail. It is difficult to talk about.

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  17. Loved this. My brother died of pancreatic cancer in 2013.

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  18. I am so very sorry about your brother. Let’s hope you can help him.

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  19. Good luck with the tests. You can take solace knowing you have done all you can at this stage to help your brother. I do hope it all works out for you both.

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    1. Hello Pauline, how kind of you. Thanks.

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  20. Oh Kerry, I'm so sorry about your brother. I am keeping the two of you in my best thoughts so that one day soon we can celebrate a good outcome. Big hugs to you.

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  21. I am really hoping for that 10 to 10 match. Your brother (and you) deserves at least that after what he has gone through.

    Kindest wishes,

    Jerry.

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    1. Thanks Jerry. Still waiting on test results, but should know within a week.

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