Tuesday, 15 March 2016

When my world lost its colour...

Back in January I wrote Can't Blog - 10 Reasons Why. Reason No 6 was that a friend was very sick. But the truth is, it wasn't 'a friend', it was my brother, and although I gave only two lines to that excuse, it felt like it should have been in Capitals, Bold and in 72 font.

I have observed Facebook friends sharing news of ill loved ones, but it felt wrong to do that. It wasn't my news to make public. I'm only blogging about this now, because my brother gave me his permission, and because, as a blogger, I feel I won't be able to move on unless I do.

It began months ago, in Summer, with a pain in his testicle. My brother went to see different doctors, some told him it was normal, others admitted they didn't have a clue and to go somewhere else. He was subjected to every type of test and scan, but no one could give him a straight answer. It seemed he had a tumour somewhere blocking the flow of blood. He was young, it was bound to be benign, the doctor said. They gave him a list of possibilities of what it could be and told him not to google them or he would be scared to death. The worst case scenario was Sarcoma. The doctor assured him it couldn't possibly be that.

Early in January, we found out it was the worst case scenario. Not only was it a malign tumour, it was also extremely rare and in a complicated position. When I heard my brother had cancer, the world lost its colour.

The question was: Would they be able to operate on him?

He was made to wait for what seemed an eternity for an answer. Communication with the hospital was awful. They would call him in only to deliver paperwork, like a courier. It was because the original hospital where he'd had all his tests couldn't cope with such a complex operation and he'd had to do them all over again. There are only 4000 cases in America a year of this kind of tumour. Incredibly, my brother managed to carry on as normal, running his business,  continuing to make everyone laugh with his brilliant social media videos. How he got on with his life is a testimony to how resilient my brother is.

The tumour couldn't be treated by chemo or radiotherapy.

If they couldn't operate, then what?

An appointment with the surgeon was finally set. I flew in to Barcelona and went with my Dad and my brother to hear his verdict. To remove the tumour, they would need to remove a kidney, his vena cava and put a prosthetic aorta. It was a very complicated operation, one that was done less than once a year in Spain. They were only suggesting it because he was young.  There wasn't an alternative.

After getting that news, there was no communication from the hospital for ten days. This was because they were busy assembling a team of the best surgeons and deciding how to operate. The wait was excruciating. The fear grew until it was crushing my chest and I couldn't breathe. How he didn't go mad, I don't know. Two weeks later, a date was set for the operation. 

On Thursday my brother underwent 9 hours of surgery. I spent the day with my parents, his girlfriend, and two of his close friends hoping and praying he would make it through. There were four different surgeons working on him. It was an emotional day. My Dad, who doesn't drink much, needed a glass of wine with his breakfast. We all did. When they wheeled him out of the operation theatre, we felt we could start to breathe.  

In the evening, my parents were allowed to see him in the emergency ward. While his girlfriend, Nicola, loyal friend, Joan, and I were able to see him through a window. We didn't expect him to be conscious. His eyes flickered open and he said: Sorry if I don't get up

It was incredible. That's my brother! I thought, making a joke after major surgery! Of course he was drugged up, and after that, there were days when speaking was too painful.

I'm happy to report he is recovering well, and his remaining kidney is working. Now he just needs his digestive system to kick into gear so he can start eating and drinking again.

I left Spain and my brother yesterday, as I needed to be in Colombia. It broke my heart to go, and on my first flight I seriously considered grabbing the arm of the sleeping man beside me and balling into his shoulder. I know he is in brilliant hands. One of the positive things that have come out of this is I've spent lots of time with his new girlfriend, who I feel like I've known forever. My brother is so loved.

I know my brother will get through this. He is strong and determined. The fear of losing him was the worst feeling of my life. Since we were little, I've always looked up to him. He is the funniest guy I know and a brilliant, creative and loving man. I'm so proud to be his sister. Without him, the world really would have lost its sparkle.

All my love Oriol 'Oli' Benet. I love you! Now, hurry up and get better! You have lots of wonderful adventures ahead of you!



Version en Español - gracias a Nuria Perez

Cuando mi mundo perdió su color

En enero escribí “no puedo blogear- las 10 razones porqué”. La razón número 6 es que un tenía un amigo muy enfermo. Pero la verdad es que no se trataba de un amigo, si no se mi hermano, y aunque solo le di dos líneas a esa excusa, sentía que tenía que ponerlo en mayúsculas y letra de 72 en negrita.

He visto a amigos de Facebook compartiendo noticias sobre seres queridos que están enfermos, pero me sabía mal hacer eso. No eran mis noticias que hacer públicas. Solo lo estoy escribiendo ahora porque mi hermano me ha dado permiso, y porque como bloger, no veía que pudiera seguir adelante hasta que no lo hiciera.

Todo empezó meses atrás, en verano, con un dolor en un testículo. Mi hermano fue a ver a diferentes médicos, algunos le dijeron que era normal, otros le dijeron que sencillamente no tenía ni idea, y lo enviaban a otro. Lo sometieron a todo tipo de scans y tests, pero nadie le podía dar una respuesta directa. Parecía que tenía un tumor en algún sitio obstruyendo el riego sanguíneo. Era joven y tenía que ser benigno, dijo el doctor. Le dieron una lista de posibles causas y le dijeron que sobre todo no las buscara en google, porque se podría asustar. El peor de los casos era Sarcoma. Y el doctor le aseguró que no podía ser eso.

A principios de Enero, descubrimos que se trataba del peor de los casos. No solo se trataba de un tumor maligno, además era uno extremadamente raro y en muy mal sitio. Cuando descubrí que mi hermano tenía cáncer, mi mundo perdió su color.

La gran pregunta era: ¿Podrán operarle?

Le hicieron esperar una eternidad para darle una respuesta. La comunicación con el hospital era horrible. Podían llamarle solo para llevar unos papeles, como un mensajero. El motivo es que el hospital donde le hicieron los tests en un principio no podía lidiar con una operación tan compleja, y tuvieron que realizárselos todos otra vez. Solo hay 4000 al año de este tipo de tumor. Increíblemente mi hermano consiguió seguir con su vida normal, llevando su negocio, y continuó haciendo reír a todo el mundo con sus brillantes videos en las redes sociales. Cómo siguió con su vida, solo demuestra lo resistente que es mi hermano.

El tumor no podía ser tratado ni con quimio ni con radioterapia.

Y si no se podía operar, ¿entonces qué?

Por fin se programó una visita con el cirujano. Volé a Barcelona y fui con mi padre y mi hermano a escuchar el veredicto. Para quitar el tumor, tenían que extirpar un riñón, la vena cava y poner una prótesis en la aorta. Era una cirugía muy difícil, una que solo se había hecho una vez en España. Solo lo sugerían porque era joven. No había otra alternativa.

Después de esto, no hubo noticias del hospital durante 10 días. El motivo es que estaban ocupados montando un equipo de los mejores cirujanos y decidiendo como operar. La espera fue horrible. El miedo que crecía en mi interior me comprimía el pecho y no me dejaba respirar. Como no se volvió loco, no lo sé. Dos semanas después marcaron una fecha para la operación.

El jueves mi hermano se sometió a una operación de 9 horas. Pasé el día con mis padres, su novia y dos de sus mejores amigos rezando para que saliera de esta. Había cuatro cirujanos trabajando en él. Fue un día muy emocional. Mi padre, que no bebe nunca, necesitó un vaso de vino para desayunar. Todos lo necesitamos. Cuando lo sacaron en camilla del quirófano, todos sentimos que podíamos volver a respirar.

Por la noche mis padres pudieron entrar a verle en la UCI. Mientras que su novia, Nicola, su amigo, Joan, y yo pudimos verle a través de un cristal. NO esperábamos que estuviera consciente. Sus ojos parpadearon y dijo “disculpadme si no me pongo en pie”.

Era increíble. ¡Ese era mi hermano! Solo pensé ¡Haciendo bromas después de salir de quirófano! Por supuesto que estaba medio drogado, después de eso, había días que hablar era demasiado doloroso.

Estoy contenta de anunciar que se está recuperando bien, y que su riñón está funcionando. Ahora solo necesita que se active su aparato digestivo y podrá empezar a comer y a beber otra vez

Dejé España y a mi hermano ayer, ya que tenía que ir a Colombia. Se me rompió el corazón al irme, y en mi primer vuelo estuve considerando seriamente cogerle el brazo al señor dormido de mi lado y acurrucarme en su hombro. Sé que está en manos fantásticas. Una de las cosas positivas de todo esto, es que he podido pasar tiempo con su nueva novia, a quien siento que conozco desde siempre. Mi hermano es muy querido.

Sé que mi hermano saldrá de esta. Es fuerte y determinado. El miedo de perderle fue el peor sentimiento de mi vida. Desde que era pequeña, siempre lo he admirado. Es el tipo más gracioso, creativo y cariñoso que conozco. Estoy tan orgullosa de ser su hermana. Sin él, el mundo habría perdido su chispa.

Todo mi amor para Oriol “Oli” Benet. ¡Te quiero! Ahora, date prisa y ponte bien, que tienes muchas aventuras por vivir.


12 comments:

Rosie Canning said...

Oh Emily, thinking of you and sending you huge hugs and love. What a brave brother you have. Wishing him well, well, well.
With love x

Jacqueline Pye said...

That, Emily, is a joyous ending to what threatened to be a very sad piece. So fab that Oriol was taken on by the team, and very best wishes to you all. Have a great day.

Rae Stoltenkamp said...

Feel for you Emily. Know exactly what you mean about sharing very serious and private matters on Facebook. Sending all my positive thoughts to your family and you. So very very pleased your brother came through surgery. I wish him a speedy recovery. I wish you and all those supporting him the mental and physical energy and strength to keep you buoyed. Best wishes all round.

auntie Keri said...

Oh Emily that is a beautiful piece. It's been so hard for you all, but have given such support and strength to brave Oriol, as have your mum and dad. Sending much love my lovely xxxx

Ben said...

Emily, great read. I had I idea until now. Oli is a great person that delights people around. And he's blessed having a sister that loves and supports him. Thanks for sharing.

Thi e Pri said...

Força Oli estou aqui no Brasil rezando e pedindo a Deus para que fique tudo bem. O mundo da patinação precisa voltar a te ver patinando. Abraço e fica com Deus.

Thi e Pri said...

Força Oli estou aqui no Brasil rezando e pedindo a Deus para que fique tudo bem. O mundo da patinação precisa voltar a te ver patinando. Abraço e fica com Deus.

Emily Benet said...

We're overwhelmed by all your love and support from around the world! Thanks so much everyone XXX

Lindsay said...

I've only just managed to read this. How awful for Oli and all of you - such a horrible diagnosis - but thank goodness for the surgery. I add my voice to all others in sending love and the best of best wishes to Oli for a wonderful recovery and for your whole family, because all of you are affected. Here's to great health and being back on those skates.

Oli Benet said...

Thank you so much Emily for this beautiful piece of writing. I never new how to tell anyone and you made it magically easy for my with this, and of course made me cry a big ol' but. I love you so much!

David Mateos said...

Preciosas palabras!...
mucha fuerza aunque se que la tienes Oli, solo tienes que pasar los días y en nada estarás entre ruedas...

Jane Martin said...

All the best to you and your brother. I hope he continues to make a good recovery. I also have a brother and the idea of losing him is unthinkable, even tho sometimes he is a "hobble boy," as I named him as a child.