My brother had been living in China for the last 10 years. We had a cordial but obviously remote relationship during that time. Just before Christmas 2015 he sent me an email asking me to look at an attached document which was basically in Chinese but a few familiar lines stood out.
PSA, CBC…it was a lab report
It gave normal levels and even in its cryptic form seemed to show some very abnormal lab results.
To be honest, I didn’t think about it too much.
After Christmas/Winter Solstice and the usual niceties continued in this casual tone.
I am a nurse and very used to people posing health related questions.
He moved on to talk about tooth and sinus infections
In early January 2016, he told me that he would be away for a few days at a hospital having a battery of tests.
In mid January-Jan 12 at 6.42 am to be exact he wrote this:
The tests are back and I’m seriously fucked. The diagnosis is cancer of the mouth, larynx, lymph nodes, liver, one kidney and one lung. I’m not making this up and I’m not trying to be funny. The best thing that could have happened to me was that the problem with my tongue made it physically impossible to continue to ignore the problem. If it wasn’t for that I probably would have kept teaching until one day I coughed blood, went into a coma and died. The doctors estimated that that unlovely event would have happened around the end of the school year (in about 6 months).