Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Move Because You Can

Life is so unpredictable. Things can change in an instant. The way my brother's physical condition changed in a moment - going from walking to paralyzed - has traumatized me. While I am so happy that his mobility is returning, his fight is not over yet. Unfortunately, today he began his first round of chemotherapy for lymphoma. He's been fighting different battles since late April 2013.

At first, his paralysis was attributed to his weight -- he was clearly obese. It was an interesting (and very upsetting) experience seeing how doctors in Kuwait were so judgmental ... that his physical condition must have been brought on by his size.

It was later found that a tumor on his spine was compressing his nerves which in turn caused the paralysis. He was bedridden for months. When the treatment (steroids, surgery, physiotherapy) finally started to take effect, he had to basically start all over - he had to learn how to walk. He had to learn how to move. He had to rebuild his muscles. He had to make his body work for him.

In the meantime, due to being in the hospital with more regimented food, he was losing weight. In fact, he lost just over 40 kg (88 lbs) in about 6 months.

Later, as his check-ups continued and the diagnosis was getting closer and closer to cancer, it was thought that the weight loss (at least part of it) was a side effect of cancer.

This conflicts me in so many ways. When I showed some people recent photos of my brother, they all commented on how good he was looking and expressing amazement with the amount of weight he had lost ... but part of me inside cringes at those responses because I know that he went through hell - paralysis, multiple surgeries, biopsies, and now chemotherapy ... does it matter that he has lost weight when he has had to suffer so much?

Anyway. The bottom line is - our health is precious. Focus on all the things you can do and take advantage of them. Focus on eating right because your body deserves it -- because you are still FREE to eat right and get healthy instead of being forced to because of some unfortunate health circumstance. Move not because it is part of physiotherapy -- move because you can.

It is tearing me apart that I am not by my brother's side today as he starts his treatment in Bangkok. However, I know that he will be strong. We are all staying hopeful and optimistic. He's been a true champ through all of this. I don't know how he did it, but he has been amazing, not a single complaint through the whole ordeal.

When we were living together in Kuwait, my brother helped me with my training during which I didn't hold back and I definitely kicked his ass a few times ... now it's his turn to kick cancer's ass.

Never stop fighting. 


  1. I will definitely keep your brother in my prayers. You are right - so many people take their health for granted, it truly is a gift.

  2. Your first sentence says it all for me - "Life is so unpredictable. Things can change in an instant." Wishing only the best for your brother is the days and weeks to come!


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