my brother is the best

[written 09/07/06]

a few years ago, my oldest cousin on my dad’s side, scott, got really sick, all of a sudden. so sick it seemed he might die at any moment. it was a scary time for him and all the family, especially his wife and two daughters. it turned out his liver just wasn’t working any more – not due to too much drinking or drugs or any of the usual reasons livers stop working, but from some rare disease called PSC. to make matters worse, all this increases the likelihood of liver cancer, which if it happened, would spread more quickly to the rest of the body before a transplant would probably happen. all very scary stuff.

so. yesterday, tuesday, my brother marcus went to the john hopkins hospital in baltimore and they took out 60% of his liver to give to scott. (the liver is an amazing organ – it regenerates and his liver will be just like new once it grows back. ) for those of us that know marcus, this is just so typical him. he was an EMT/medic, a volunteer fireman, a cop,.. basically, if it involves saving people, marcus has wanted to do it. there was a lot of testing involved before the operation of course, and without the support of his wife kim as well as the rest of the family, it would have been pretty impossible, but still, it was marcus taking a risk to save someone, yet again. isn’t he awesome?

marcus was in surgery for hours – like ten hours or something crazy like that – and so was scott of course. so far all seems to be going well for both of them, knock on wood. marcus was moved today from ICU to IMCU, which is a step down emergency-wise, though he’ll be at the hospital for a while until his liver has grown back (!), i believe. so, fingers can be uncrossed now, but slowly.

a nice postscript to all this is that the bbc (working with the discovery channel) was planning a documentary on health stuff, including living liver donor transplants and after contacting john hopkins for possible candidates to film, chose scott and marcus. it’ll air this fall – and believe me, i’ll tell you all when i get the date. i don’t know how long the segment will be, but so far they’ve filmed dozens of hours, including my dad’s birthday party that marcus went to just days before the surgery and marcus riding about on his motorcycle. pretty cool, huh? i’m glad that their story is being captured and that others will see how great my brother is.

after all that, then, thank you for the good wishes and happy thoughts sent this way – as soon as i got them, i bumped them straight over to maryland.

(p.s. scott’s wife martha started a blog, with most of the updates on the status page. all the cheesy comments are from my family, yes that’s how we are.)

(another p.s. when i think of my brother, i think of these things: one christmas he gave me a solid gold barbie – no, not 24k or whatever, but based on the tv show, remember that? – and i was ecstatic over The Most Perfect Gift i was sure i could ever get; sitting in his ford bronco listening to the very excellent rock group rush; being freaked out in the woods with my sister because we knew marcus was hiding somewhere waiting to scare us, ah good times. i remember once when i was like eight and he would’ve been around sixteen, he started tickling me so much i fell down in a doorway. we both kept laughing so much that i banged my head hard again the doorframe – and he immediately went “oops! ooohh, laugh it off, laugh it off, ha ha ha, right, right? don’t cry, it’s funny, right?” hee, he was so nervous i was going to bawl my eyes out, but no fears, i had a hard head and i adored my brother. oh yeah, the first pic is from june this year, the second is marcus in bolivia, with my mom and my cousin jorgito, when marcus was like 15, and the last is him as the goalie for the MC Dogs hockey team in maryland. go marcus!)