A Very, Very, Very Belated Update

by Brandon

Today has been a take-it-easy kind of day. I worked on Day Soldiers: Book V for a while, then I checked Facebook, then I saw that Fright Night was on TV so I decided to kick back and watch some vampire action.

And then… I don’t know why… but I suddenly remembered that I had promised to update you on my battle with cancer… about six months ago.


So here’s what has happened…

We went to northern Virginia and had the consultation, then the next day, we went in for the surgery.

They took my wife and me to the prepping area.

I was terrified. I could barely breathe. This was it. This was the big surgery. This was the day it was all going to end, one way or the other.

If it weren’t for the support of my wife and my parents, I would have run back home. I kept thinking, I can’t do this. But then I would look at my wife and my mother, and I would see the hope in their eyes, and I knew.

There was no turning back.

Live or die, I was facing this down.

They eventually took me to the OR. Separating from my wife was probably the hardest thing I’d ever done. I needed her. I needed her hand to hold. I needed her eyes to look into. I needed her strength and optimism and hope.

She just said something along the lines of “See you in about 8 hours” and they wheeled me away.

I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist putting the mask on my face, then….

I woke up to see my mom, my dad, and my wife looking down at me.

“You’re awake,” my wife said with a gentle smile.

I just stared at her, unable to speak.

I turned to my mom.

She stared at me for a moment, then said, “You’re cancer free!”

I was stunned. I knew that was the goal, but I didn’t expect it to actually happen. I turned to my wife and said, “Really?”

“Really,” she said, a smile on her face and tears building in her eyes.

They kept me in the hospital and the doctor eventually came to see me. He was all smiles.

The bad news (as expected): they had to take out my bladder, my colon, my prostate, and my rectum. I didn’t even know they could remove a rectum, but apparently they can. Oh well… live and learn. 🙂

The good news: They got the entire tumor. While the doctor didn’t use the words “You’re cancer free”, he did say they couldn’t find any cancer in my body. Basically, he said they got it and I have a good chance at a long life.

I had an ileostomy bag on my left side and a urostomy bag on my right side. My life would be forever changed… but I didn’t give a shit (pun intended). I had a life to be forever changed.

I was in the hospital for about a week or so, and during that time, I was overjoyed to see that one of my best friends (yes, I mean you, Kristi) came to stay in northern Virginia during my stay.

Eventually, though, they let me go home.

My parents stayed with us for as long as they could, then my brother and his wife came and stayed with us. Eventually, though, they had to get back to their lives. Eventually, my wife took over again as my sole caregiver.

The healing process was long and hard, but we toughed it through. I lost the weight I had gained, but I eventually gained most of it back. I was completely disabled for a very long time (which is why my blogging stopped) and I depended completely on my wife.

Since then, I’ve had a few minor setbacks and one follow-up surgery, but today, I’m doing pretty damn well.

Yeah, I piss and poop in bags. Yeah, I still have to take pain meds (but not nearly as many). Yeah, I still can’t do everything I used to be able to do. Yeah, we’re broke as hell.

But I’m alive. I have a wonderful family. I’m writing again. I can eat. I can laugh. I can go grocery shopping. And I can finally fix my wife dinner. I can do things for my wife!

And did I mention I’m alive!

Thank you all for your wonderful, beautiful, amazing, glorious support.

My life wasn’t saved just once. It was saved over and over and over.

The doctors saved my life.

The nurses saved my life.

My wife saved my life.

My mom saved my life.

My dad saved my life.

My brother and sister saved my life.

My dear, dear friends saved my life.

And you folks… you saved my life too.

Who knows how long this will last… I sure don’t. Maybe they’ll later discover the cancer has returned (or was there all along, but hidden from their scans). Maybe I’ll get some other kind of cancer.

And maybe I’ll get hit by a crashing plane or killed by a vampire named Travis.

I could spend the rest of my life worrying about these things, but the truth is… now I’m just in the same situation as everybody else.

Any one of us could get cancer tomorrow. Any one of us could be hit by a crashing plane. Any one of us could be killed by Travis the vampire.

Okay, the Travis the vampire part’s pretty unlikely, but the other stuff could happen!

So at the end of the day, we’re left with two choices:

We can either spend our time worrying about death or we can spend out time soaking up every second of life we’re blessed with.

I choose the latter.


In the immortal words of George Costanza…

With that said, I’ll make you folks a deal…

I’ll work my ass off on the fifth installment of Day Soldiers, if you’ll tell all your friends about the Day Soldiers series.

The first ebook is free, so they have nothing to lose, and after that, they can decide if they want to continue the series. I’d be lying if I said we couldn’t use the money. 🙂

But seriously… whether you pimp my book or not, let me say this, yet again…

Thank you for your support!

I love you guys. Always.


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