For those of you who know me, know that my little brother has always been a big part of my life. I will readily admit that I have picked on Josh (as big sisters do) but I always looked out for him and felt responsible for him. He may not know this but I always felt like as his big sister that I could protect Josh from everything. I knew it wasn’t possible to put my little brother in a protective bubble all his life but I still tried. We would tease and joke around but I’ve always been there, hovering around Josh making sure he was doing the right thing (whether he liked to hear my opinion or not). A few weeks ago the bubble burst.
In November my brother realized that he was having some facial numbing which he accounted for an impacted wisdom tooth. The day before Thanksgiving Josh had a wisdom tooth taken out because he had pain in his jaw. As with most wisdom teeth surgeries, his face swelled up huge. We joked around with him that it would stay that way. Josh took it all in stride, sharing pictures with me of his swelling so we continue to joke around. After a few weeks with the swelling not decreasing and antibiotics not helping, the joking turned to worry. My little brother wasn’t getting better and his joking spirit just wasn’t there.
Things turned downhill fast in early December when our lives all came to a crashing halt. Mom and Dad rushed Josh to the hospital where they ran test after test after test. Josh woke up and couldn’t see out his left eye. Finally after nearly a week of tests we found out the news… Josh has cancer. The team of doctors diagnosed Josh with NK/T Cell Lymphoma – a rare and aggressive form of lymphoma. They started him on radiation and chemotherapy immediately.
The diagnosis came on 12/12/12… a day considered by many to be lucky. I really hope this is the case. While the news we received on that day wasn’t good by any means, and definitely didn’t feel lucky at the time, I’m hoping that in the end it will turn out to be lucky for Josh.
I have never seen someone so brave in my life. I can say with some certainty that my brother has probably always looked up to me in some way. But now, I can say without a doubt that I look up to him even more for everything that he has been through and battled during this time.
I know that my brother is a fighter and we are gathering our army. Anyone that has ever met my brother knows that he is an amazing person, with a big heart, and an even bigger personality. He loves to make people laugh and argue with you about football stats. Don’t even try to tell him that the Chicago Bears are no good, because he won’t go down without a fight.
My brother does not have insurance and has been out of work for almost a month due to his infection. Finances are going to be a struggle and we ask for any help that we can get at this time. Every aspect of this debilitating illness is costly. Not only financially; but mentally and emotionally.
We’re just at the beginning of the battle and we need as much support to help Josh in his daily fight just to live life. We are going to be planning multiple fundraisers in the weeks to come. So please show your support for the most loving, funny, brother a big sister could ask for.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank you!
Jennifer Strong (Logan) and Family