'It's not a tumah'- no wait, it is

So a couple of days ago, I started this thread about my little brother (14)'s voice problem. He’s not in pain, but he’s had a horrible sore throat and sounded like something was very wrong with his vocal cords.

After the usual stuff didn’t work - he used up all of the rest of my honey lo quat, not that I mind - and nothing improved in a few days, the doctor suggested allergies and told him to take Claritin. It wasn’t allergies, I kept telling my family something was obviously wrong with his vocal cords.

Then we found out one of his vocal cords and a few nerves connected to his tongue, were paralyzed. The word “neuropathy” came up, and we were told it might be a virus. But at least there weren’t any tumors on the vocal cords, hoom, said the ENT. It wasn’t a virus.

My brother had an MRI and some other tests yesterday. First he told me it was some kind of growth, but no, he’s got a tumor on his brain stem. At least it’s benign, I said. He should be able to have it taken out and that’ll be that, since benign tumors rarely grow back, some fuss and trouble, but he’ll be fine.

It’s not benign.

Little bro knows he has a tumor and knows about the three surgeries he’ll need, just after the first of the year - one through the back of the skull and another through the mouth to get the tumor, then another the following week to put a titanium plate in the base of his skull; after that he’ll be in a halo brace for some time - and although he was a wreck when he found out yesterday afternoon, by nightfall he was able to make jokes about dying and puns about “two more” Hanukkah candles, and enjoy the ice cream I bought him. He just hasn’t managed to connect the concept of “tumor” and “radiation” (he’ll need some in the following months) to “cancer,” which is obviously what is going on. Or maybe he’s pretending; he’s already made some unnecessary efforts to spare my feelings. Even if nothing has spread, the doctors aren’t sure that his voice will ever return to normal because of the nerve damage. That seems the iffiest part of the situation; we don’t know what will be possible with speech therapy.

All of which is details and window-dressing, I guess. He’s better today than he was yesterday; I’m worse because yesterday I was sure he didn’t have cancer and, beyond any rolls of the dice that might be involved in brain surgery, was likely to be okay once they went in and got this thing in a few weeks. I’m more than a little lost. I don’t know what to think or say, and I thought I had a handle on this yesterday - now I won’t know what’s happening for weeks, at least, and it’s already worse than I thought.

Oh my god.

You and all your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Pretty sure your bro knows what’s really going on. I find it admirable that he finds humor in his situation. Brave kid. I wish him all the best.

Oh, man. I wish there was something more I could say except that I’m thinking of you and your family, and hoping for the best possible outcome.

I’m sorry about your little brother.

Sending positive thoughts to you and your family.

We’ll be thinking of you through this. Did they say what kind of risk factor you’re dealing with? Hoping for a speedy recovery.

We’re a humor-heavy, sarcastic family, and I have to say he’s shown his true colors in the last two days. Sometimes I wondered if he was ever going to pick that stuff up, but I think now he’s really got it. After he got the news about needing surgery yesterday, we had the following exchange over the phone:

T: There’s some kind of bone growing down from my brain, and I’m going to have surgery to take it out.
Me: They’re taking your whole brain? I’m sorry. That’s a tough break.
T: Fuck you.

He was also kidding about a “going-away” party with his friends, and seems amused (but moved) that people are praying for him and trying to do nice things for him. We sympathized about his feeling overwhelmed and I’m sure he’s going to have plenty of scary moments in the next few weeks, but he’s showing some real resolve. Since he won’t be able to play tennis, at least for a while, I have to make sure we play a bunch in the next two weeks or so.

I’ll be keeping all my appendages crossed for you and your family. Good luck.

Sorry to hear about this. I wish you and your family strength.

Poor kid! What a thing to have to look forward to in the New Year. Here’s hoping for the best possible outcome.

Your brother and family will be in my thoughts - sending positive energy his way. We’re always here if you need to vent.

:frowning: Heavy shit for one so young. I hope he keeps up his humor. All the best to you folks.

I am keeping your brother and your family in my thoughts.

I’m sorry to hear about this. You know where we are, so if you need to vent, or whatever, you will find us here.

I always say, to folks like you, take care of yourself as well. You’ll need all the strength and health you can get, in the coming days.

May whatever gods there be, be with him and your family in this time.

Thoughts and prayers to your brother, you, your family, and all who know and love your brother. All kidding and whistling in the dark aside, make sure to tell him directly that you love him. Take care of yourself in this too, and tell your parents to do the same. Eat, drink plenty of water and try to have a small moment of peace or happiness and savor it each day. Don’t worry and fret and make yourself ill too. Have you spoken to your parents about his precise diagnosis? Will he also eventually need chemotherapy too? Take it easy Marleyfamily, we’ll all be thinking of you and sending good vibes.

Seeing the light side of this just goes to show how strong kids can be.

Sending you all the hope I’ve got. Enjoy the tennis!

Oh, how awful–he sounds like some tough nut. How is the rest of the family holding up?

Oh, shit. I’ve got an 11-y-o son, and I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through, much less your parents. I’ll join everyone else in sending wishes for strength and comfort to surround you and your family.

Please keep us apprised of what’s happening.

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. hugs tight