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July 2010

Rene's Report (post 2)

Rene's body 

By the time the surgeon showed up we were extremely nervous. Somehow we started having the weird feeling that something was wrong, even though the surgery had been so quick. 

The Dr. arrived and talked to us In such a direct way, so straight forward that it took about a minute for us to react. Unfortunately he had bad news. Rene's thymoma was not a small encapsulated tumor as he expected but a mass that had already started to invade other areas that are just too painful for me to mention here. I tried to illustrate it on the picture #2. The picture #1 is what the Dr. and ourselves had in mind before the surgery. 

All I can say is that that was the most painful day of my life. I have suffered all kinds of pains, but knowing that a loved one is in serious risk is the most traumatic feeling that I ever experienced.

We had a moment of collapse, but fortunately and because the human brain is something amazing, we started, little by little, putting all the pieces of our broken hearts back together.

Up to this point the thing that made us think positive was the fact that the surgeon had been able to take the invasive mass out of Rene's body. There are cases when this cannot be done, that's why the surgery was considered successful. But the truth is that what's coming next is a tough effort to extend Rene's life as much as possible. The chemotherapy will start soon and it will be aggressive because the cancer is already in his blood cells.

Forgive me if I need to say that I have felt weak/unsure about sharing something so sensitive in this blog. But I'm doing it (with my brother's permission) because there is so much for us to learn from Rene's story. I believe that we're all a human family and we all have something to learn from each other. Right now I see Rene not only as my beloved brother, but also as an amazing and inspiring human being. He's my hero and my teacher right now. In other posts I will tell you why.

Rene's Report (post 1)

I will try to write a general report about my brother Rene in a couple of post so you can learn a little bit about his sitution:

1. About a month ago Rene went to see the Dr. for something unrelated to his current health condition.

2. Everything was fine but he told the Dr. (just by the way) that he was feeling something funny deep in his chest when he laid down on the left side. "Something liquid", no real pain, just something funny.

3. The Dr. said that that was an unusual explanation ("something liquid") and he even made a joke, but he was going to order a test just in case.

4. This first test made the Dr. think that other tests were needed because there was definitely something small, a dark area, next to his heart.

5. Different tests were given, from the most simple to the most sophisticated until a final diagnosis was delivered to Rene: A rare type of cancer known as Thymoma.

6. On July 16 at about 8:30 am the open-chest surgery began. We were told that it could take up to 6 hours plus there was the risk of death because of the location of the tumor. We were all extremely nervous. 

7. Two hours and a half later, one of the members of the team came to the waiting room to tell us that the surgery had been successful and that the Dr. was going to see us in a little bit.

8. As you can imagine we were extremely happy to see that the surgery had taken half of the time needed. We hugged each other. Deep inside me I knew that the surgery was going to be successful.  But we still needed to hear from the surgeon so we waited patiently.

I will continue as soon as I have a chance...

Elsita - renejpg 

Photo of Rene and I taken by my brother Alex in the waiting room of the hospital early in the morning, before Rene's surgery. We didn't stop making jokes and having fun regardless of the seriousness of the moment. We all have the same sense of humor that comes from the kind of life that we had in Cuba. We learned that humor is more important than ever when you're going through a tough time.


My Brother Rene

Rene y Elsita July 16 2010 before surgery

My brother and I before his surgery on July 16 @ 8:00 AM.

I came back from Miami, Florida, last night.

There is so much to share.

But I just wanted to stop by for a second to say hi and thank you so much 

for all the good wishes for Rene's recovery.

I'm so sorry that I have to go now.

I will be back as soon as I can.

All I can say now is that my brother is the most positive person that I know.

He's my hero right now.