With the report of the cancer being 98% eradicated, our focus and talk turned to his right leg. The tumor located in his hip was mega-size, and growing (turns out after surgery it was determined to be the size of a pro football, no I'm not kidding). And his health other than the tumor was the best it had been in 9 months. So surgery options were examined and teams of surgeons discussed pros and cons. The course of action they decided on was one of replacement of the femur bone with either a cadaver bone or a metal one, specially designed and built to his specifications.
(I will add here that when cancer was discovered and a chemo regimen was decided on, the doctors wanted Janell or I to sign the authorization papers to begin it. One of us were going to take off work and go to the hospital and do so. Yes, we were working, because Brandons request from the diagnosis of cancer was that we not treat him any different, keep life as normal for his brothers as possible, and should the time come, care for him ourselves and not hospice. The last one almost did us in, but thats another story. He was to call us when the doctors started making rounds on the floor. He didn't call and finally after a couple of hours past normal, Janell called him to see what was wrong. Brandon said nothing was wrong. He had researched things and knew that in the state of Alabama, a 16 year old has the legal right to make his own medical decisions So when the doctors came around he signed the paperws himself, because if something went wrong and he didn't survive chemo, he didn't want us to be able to blame ourselves)
Anyway, we are meeting with the surgeon and discussing the surgery, and right out of the blue Brandon asks the doctor "What about amputation of the leg?" I looked at Janell and said "Where did that come from?" She looked at me and said, I'm not surprised. I looked at Brandon and then at the doctor. He was as surprised as I was. He told Brandon " Well, thats always an option, but only as a last resort" Talk went back and forth for a few minutes, with me throwing in my two cents every once in a while, but in the end, when we walked out the door, Brandon made the call to take the leg off. I was beside myself. On the way home, I asked him, "Son, why not let them do what they feel is best?" He looked at me and said "Dad, don't you think I want to walk again? Don't you think that if I thought that was the best option I'd tell em to go for it? But the truth is God told me it has to come off". Again, I looked like I'd just seen a ghost. I said "GOD said to do it? He looked at me and said "Yes sir. He told me that people wouldn't understand. But He's always right, Dad." I was beginning to see a pattern here. Didn't Jesus say he came to confound the wise? But He didn't say he'd be shut up juice for Dad's. Oh well.
Surgery was set for two weeks later on a Monday. On the morning of the surgery, Kevin told Brandon. "You be sure to tell the doctor I left a brother here and he better not send me a sister home! Typical brotherly love! Now for over a year, we had been used to seeing this swollen mass of a leg (he was 6'-5") and it was always propped to ease the pain and discomfort it gave him. But when we walked into the recovery room (yes Janell's threats of unit destruction were taken seriously) we were not prepared to see a blanket laying flat below his torso, and we both almost passed out from the shock of it. We walked over to his bedside, with the tube still down his throat and he peeked through swollen eyes lids and grinned. "I told you I'd pray you through it, son". He raised his hand in the air and pointed to Heaven and shook his hand and pointed again. I got his message, God got him through it. And I said to him "Yes He did, yes He did". The next afternoon a bunch of his buddies have shown up, and are in his room trying to come up with a new nickname, they said "Bubba" had to go. The two finalists were "UNO" and "Ilean". About that time the doctor came in, asked how he was feeling, checked his bandaging, and then got serious. He said "Brandon, I don't how you knew what you knew, but you made the right call. Had we done the surgery we wanted to do, we would have cut about 2 to 3 inches lower than we did. However, your amputation decision required we cut higher in the groin. By cutting higher, we missed slicing into the tumor by two inches. The surgery we did kept the tumor with the leg. Had we cut into it, the cancer would have spread throughout your abdomen and groin. Your decision probably saved your life". Well, it did add about three years. Brandon asked when he could go home. The doctor said probably a week. He would have to do all the exercises in Physical therapy's regimen and that usually takes about 5 days. The next morning, Brandon goes to physical therapy, does every one of the required functions, and we left the hospital in time for him to be at church that night. He drove himself!
I'll be back..........