|Loving my new baby brother's fro in 1987|
Growing up I always wanted a sister. I thought having a sister would be the best thing ever because we could share clothes, do each other's hair and play Barbies together. I would constantly tell my mom that she needed to have another baby--and make sure that it's a girl. She finally sat me down and told me that she wasn't having any more babies, so I better learn to be happy with my little brother! Frankly, now I'm actually glad I never got that sister...selfishly speaking of course...because all the physical transformations I've had to deal with in the past 3 years probably would have made me hate my sister. She would have remained the same as I lost my hair, lost my perfect skin and in some ways, lost my dignity.
So I guess it took cancer for me to realize that having a brother wasn't so bad! Lol...just kidding bro! My brother Garrett will always be my "little" brother. Like any big sister, it's hard for me to see my brother as a true adult. Despite the fact that he towers over me at 6'4", he just graduated business school, he's living in Atlanta on his own, paying his own bills, and working in corporate America, I still see him as the eternal 12-year-old that drove me crazy. So it makes it even harder to realize that on March 24th, Garrett will turn 26. This is astonishing in itself, but for me, 26 is a milestone age because it's the age I was diagnosed with cancer. I often mourn those first 25 years of my life and the person I was. The way life was before it became so damn hard.
|1999 holiday photo! Don't we all |
have a pic like this?
"Oh the irony," I thought. The brother that I had tormented growing up would now be charged with saving my life. God was definitely trying to teach me a lesson with this one! But sadly, Garrett wasn't a match. I just assumed he would be, and after learning that he wasn't, I soon became fiercely jealous of any cancer patient with a sibling who was a match. There's a sense of safety in knowing that your sibling will always be there to give you the stem cells you need exactly when you need them. As opposed to a stranger, who may not be available if and when you decide to push the button to move forward with an allo. I am still lucky, having two 9/10 matches and one 10/10 match, but in the back of my mind I worry about those potential matches. What if something happens to one of them? What if they change their mind? What if they (God forbid) get cancer themselves? Hey, it happened to me. I've been in the Be A Match registry since 2001 and was diagnosed in 2009.
|When did he get so tall? Garrett and I in November 2009|
So I pray that as Garrett turns 26, his health remains unblemished. He gets to hold on to a little of the carefreeness that I no longer have. Of course he's not completely naive due to the fact that his big sister was diagnosed with cancer at such a young age, but I hope that he has a long, healthy life in front of him. Because health is the best birthday gift you can get!