Cancer Sucks – From a Sister’s Perspective

Cancer Sucks. After hearing about my brothers resent update on MM (Multiple Myeloma) I have a constant thought in my head of cancer. Why? Why him? Will they find a cure? When will I have to say good-bye to my brother? I hate these thoughts, I hate thinking of it. After dominating a year of not having a trace of MM my brother received upsetting news that the horrible crap is back. And since then it’s been the only thing on my mind.

Whether you are someone who has cancer, who have dominated it or someone who is walking aside a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, friend, etc. who has this horrible thing we call cancer…..long story short….CANCER SUCKS.

I have been fortunate to become great friends with one of my co-workers who also found out that his Mother’s cancer is back. Once he told me about that I shared my brothers story with him. And he felt bad for me. And all I could think about after he said that is that I feel bad for him. It doesn’t matter what cancer is worse or who is battling it harder. Cancer is cancer and like I said before and I will forever…CANCER SUCKS.

And then yesterday I was waiting on a table of 2 couples both in their upper 70s. We got in a conversation of tattoos. As they got up and were about to leave the sweet lady grabbed my hand and said, “I see your tattoo.” With a cute smirk on her face. I love telling the story of my tattoo.

For you who don’t know ,I have Dominate tattooed on my wrist. My brother had Dominate bracelets made when he was diagnosed with MM. So instead of wearing the bracelet everyday I got it tattooed on my wrist so I have the constant reminder of DOMINATING life.

After I told the sweet lady of my brothers journey her eyes filled with tears and she told me that last week she was given the horrible news that she has kidney failure. She told me that her Dr checked it 3 times cause he even couldn’t believe it. She told me that she can’t even tell me when the last time she was sick, that the last time she had a cold was over 20 years ago. She was healthy, always ate right and took care of herself.

Sharing our stories was so touching.

May 2001

I told her about my feelings. Why my brother? Straight A kid growing up. A kid who pushed everything he did to the limits and beyond. Played Football at U of M.  Married a beautiful woman, got blessed with 3 ridiculously awesome rocking kids. Works hard to support his family.  Goes to church. And even though he has this crappy cancer he still wakes up everyday thinking ….Who can I help today?

Why, Why him?

And I came to this conclusion…………God only gives you what you can handle. And I truly believe that.

When Phil was diagnosed in 2008, all I could think about was why didn’t I get it? I wasn’t a straight A student and I definitely wasn’t the “perfect” teenager. Why give it to him and not me?

But watching and walking with my brother in his journey…I get it now. I couldn’t handle it if it was me who had this crappy thing we call cancer. My brother can. He is without a doubt the strongest man I have ever met.

And there is no doubt in my mind that even though as of today there is no cure for MM..
…he will dominate it
…he will watch his kids grow
…watch them all graduate college and get married and have grandkids of his own!

Our family is strong….for god’s sake WE ARE BRABBS.. #Dominate


(youngest sister out of four)

Dominate for Kyle & His Team

I was recently made aware of a 19 year old named Kyle who is taking on AML up at UM C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. He is a rock star guy from everything I have heard about him. I was invited to visit him today (thanks Ann!) to help provide some dominate cheer as Kyle continues to try to knock the AML down to the point where he can go to transplant, and his only hope for a cure.

Being back at UMHS, but this time on my own accord and not because of a blood draw, chemo infusion or transplant, I was awaken again with the reality that there are people everywhere, everyday that we will never know who are giving their all to kick cancer and continue to dominate life. Kyle is one of them.
Dominate prayer, positive thoughts, whatever you may call it, so Kyle knows Love surrounds him. Also, join Team Kyle by considering to get swabbed and added to the bone marrow registry. You could save a life.

This one hurts

Last summer I received a phone call from Vada Murray after a little phone tag. We had no problem connecting. Both of us were diagnosed with cancers that were not very fitting. Vada, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer and I received a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma at 28, forty years younger than the majority of MM patients.

Playing football at Michigan and a freak diagnosis were not all we had in common. We both happened to have three kids, the oldest being a boy, followed by two daughters. I could not help but feel connected with him.
During the one and only conversation we had he stated that this was a battle he was not going to win. I really had a hard time hearing that. It’s a reality with those taking on cancer…He knew his fate.
Last week Vada Murray passed away. Today as I attempted to give tribute to him and his family at UM’s Relay for Life I broke out in tears for a man I hardly even know, but feel so close to. It hurts to think about his family right now.
My speech was focused on the Fight Back theme of Relay for Life. It was very fitting. Thinking of Vada makes me want to Fight Back. I have always just wanted to dominate, but now I also want to fight back for him and his family. I don’t have a lot of words right now for what that means, just tons of emotion probably centered on feelings of injustice for what his family is having to go through.

For all those who can make it, there will be a memorial service this Thursday at 11:00am at Cliff Keen Arena.