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Keeping the Faith



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Geoff’s story is not just about him, it is about how it changed our lives forever. Geoff was living the typical 20 year old life, while I was in my senior year in high school. Geoff fell ill, and came home to be taken care of like any 20 year old would want. Geoff had had migraines for a good part of his life, and this one seemed like it would just not go away. The first trip to the doctor left him and my mother with not much hope. He returned home and continued to get worse. My mother was working 40 hours a week, taking care of Geoff, and trying to attend every senior function that I had. If there is an award for juggling mothers, let me know, I will nominate her. My mother asked me to help her and take Geoff to a doctors appointment. To say I was annoyed was an understatement, I mean it was my senior year, I had more important things to do. I look back at my actions those days and get sick to my stomach quite often, I should of seen the signs, I should of helped more, I should of been there. I gave Geoff one order and that was to be ready when I picked him up. I show up and he had snake skin pajama pants on, shoes with no socks, and a jacket that wasn’t zipped because he didn’t have the strength. Again, signs. It was close to christmas time and there was snow on the ground. I get Geoff in my car and listen to him complain about how every bump was killing him, the doctors office was two blocks away and there were no massive bumps like he was saying. We get into the office and he falls, falls into the rows of chairs and just starts screaming in pain. We left there again, not much better than we showed up. At this point in time, my mother was exhausted, and my brother was getting extremely worse. He would wake in the middle of the night screaming, couldn’t stand up straight and could hardly open his eyes. His arms were curling up and it was difficult for him to walk.I had to help him out of the bathtub because he couldn’t get out on his own. My mother had had enough, after the last visit and the doctor telling her it was an inner ear infection she went to a second opinion. That day she took him for a second opinion he was set up for surgery that day. Geoff had a tumor on the base of his brain that was blocking spinal cord fluid which was causing his body to curl up like it was. I was at the YMCA for our school party before Christmas break. My counselor came and found me and took me straight to the hospital where we found my mother on the hallway floor looking exhausted and somewhat relieved at the same time. This whole time Geoff was in amazing spirits. Someone asked why this had to happen to him, and one of my brothers replied, ” because no one else could handle it like he can”. As they were wheeling him back for his surgery he rolled past us doing the infamous hand gesture from 8 seconds. Everyone in that waiting room had a smile on their face at that time. He pulled through the surgery and they removed what they could of his Astrocytoma. It was Christmas Eve and seeing him awake and out of surgery was the best gift we could of received. From then, we thought that it was going to be down hill, and compared to most it we were extremely lucky. My mother had to learn how to give Geoff the proper medicine that he needed injected into his pick line that was inserted into his arm. Months had passed and he had made major gains and improvements. The time had come to check on his tumor, he was scheduled to have a needle biopsy, which if some of you don’t know, it involves screwing a cage onto his head while he is awake. Then the needle. After that biopsy, during his stay in the hospital he had a hard time regaining the movement in his left side. With work and time he gained everything back. The results came back and it had not grown and was seeming not to affect him much. We did learn that it was weaved into the part of his brain that controlled his motor functions. Doctors wanted to remove it, Geoff and my mom decided to watch it, if it wasn’t opposing a risk right now, then they didn’t want to jeopardize his motor functions. It has been 10 years and Geoff is not a better, stronger and at the most healthiest he has been in his whole life. He has remained positive, and has always looked forward throughout this whole situation. He has baffled doctors with his progress and the fact that the tumor is still inside him yet he is living his life as carefree as possible, there was even a journal written about it. He still goes in for yearly MRI’s just to check on it, and this last year I was present and they were once again amazed at how well he is doing and how the tumor is not affecting him. We truly are one the of the very extremly lucky ones. I am so proud to be his sister and watch him live his healthy and positive life. Now there have been bumps in the road for him, but like a true champion he has handled them with integrity. He has changed and inspired all of our family, and the love we have for him can not be measured.