For My Uncle Kreg

“At least I don’t have cancer.”

That’s what I always told people who asked how I could have such a great attitude about my medical problems. That was before my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. I had no idea how true those words would ring.

I always thought he would win. I always thought he would beat it. I never once thought “What if he doesn’t?” I think I was doing it to be strong. Strong for my aunt. Strong for my daughter. Strong for my uncle. Strong for myself. But now I wish I would have asked “What if the worst happens? What if he doesn’t make it?”

I would have gone to see him every day. I would have called him more. I would have sat and listened more. Instead of being afraid to talk to him, afraid to disturb him, I would have asked. I would have thanked him for everything. All the times he just sat and had coffee with me, or dinner. Thanked him for his guidance. For listening to me. For treating me like another adult family member; like my view and my opinion mattered. I would have told him just how much he mattered to me.

It’s not very often that I question the way God works, or why He allows things to happen. But this is one of those times. I still needed him here. I needed him to talk with me and have coffee with me. I needed his guidance and his outlook. My husband needed his guidance and his example. Who is going to mentor him now? Who is going to sneak candy to my kids in plain sight? He won’t be there to see Cruz grow up. He hasn’t really even gotten to notice all the cute things Cruz does now. You know, if it weren’t for uncle Kreg, Cruz probably wouldn’t even exist. Sure, my husband always wanted another baby, and every only child wants a baby brother or sister, but it was my uncle’s constant “So when is the other one coming?” That finally broke my grudge against pregnancy. But he never really got to know him.

And then I think about how selfish that is of me, because if I still need him that much, I can’t imagine what my aunt and my cousins must be going through. 25 years. They’ve been married for 25 years. They’re best friends. I can’t imagine what it must be like, after all that time, to look down the road without him. His oldest daughter’s baby is younger than Cruz. If I’m this torn over him not being able to see Cruz grow, I can’t imagine what she is going through. Or my middle cousin. 19 and going through college. He won’t be there when she graduates. He won’t be there to walk her down the aisle. Or watch her kids grow up. Or my youngest cousin. He’s only 16. He won’t even see him graduate high school. He claims he’s never having kids. Uncle Kreg won’t be there to change his mind like he changed mine.

But we know where he is now. There is no questioning it. He is in heaven. He is with Jesus. He has no more pain; he is healed. He has a joy that we cannot even fathom. And he will be waiting when we get there.

Uncle Kreg is still with us in some ways. Whenever the Oregon Ducks play. Whenever someone gives Promise, or Cruz, or his little granddaughter a cookie. Whenever we help someone, just because they need help. When I look at my kids, or my aunt, or my cousins, and remember how much he loved all of us.

During his fight with cancer, uncle Kreg told me about a book he wanted me to read. A book about one young man’s struggle with the same cancer. I am reading the book now, and I feel so sorry that I never really knew what it was like when he was here with us.

Many times, he told me that if he made it through, his dream was to spread awareness of this cancer. To speak in high schools and colleges and hand out this book that talks about the pain and loneliness of cancer in such detail. Such detail that it gave me nightmares.

You see, my uncle had testicular cancer. A cancer that none of us had ever heard of, yet it is the most common cancer among men ages 15-35. It is also the most curable cancer – if you catch it early. By the time my uncle was diagnosed – because he passed out and went into seizures one night – it had already spread to his lymph nodes, lungs, and brain.

It makes me angry to think that it is the most common cancer in young men, yet most people have never heard of it. Why isn’t there more awareness of this cancer that affects so many people? Awareness can save lives. It could have saved my uncle’s life.

So I intend to help carry out my uncle’s plan. I intend to spread awareness. If he, one of the least, maybe THE least deserving person that I know, had to die, I will help make sure that it was not in vain. That it does not go unnoticed.

Talk to your sons about testicular cancer. One awkward talk could save their lives.

Dedicated to my uncle Kreg, who read my blog posts from the very beginning.
2/14/65 -8/31/13
You are greatly missed.

Aunt Brenda and Uncle Kreg at my cousin's wedding, 2 months before he was diagnosed.

Aunt Brenda and Uncle Kreg at my cousin’s wedding, 2 months before he was diagnosed.

Uncle Kreg holding my son, Christmas 2012, almost 1 year after being diagnosed.

Uncle Kreg holding my son, Christmas 2012, almost 1 year after being diagnosed.

Us at Relay For Life 2012. Uncle Kreg is in front.

Us at Relay For Life 2012. Uncle Kreg is in front.

Testicular Cancer Awareness bracelets in orchid, the color of its awareness ribbon.

Testicular Cancer Awareness bracelets in orchid, the color of its awareness ribbon.

10 responses to “For My Uncle Kreg

  1. God Bless You and well said about Kreg. He was a True friend to my wife and I. Kreg would come by my work about once a week and bring me a pepsi, and we would talk mostly about Jesus and how much we love him. There is no dout in my heart Kreg is with Christ and many others right now. Kreg was one on Christs disiples, a True “Fisher of Men”. He had a heart for others and it showed loud and clear. So be well, and trust that God had a more glorious plan for Kreg, and that the Lords Will be done. your friend in Christ, Scott b. Davis

    • Thank you 🙂 That’s really cool. I always loved just listening to him talk. He had such a great perspective on everything, and such empathy. Thank you for the encouraging word 🙂

  2. What a sad story. I hate cancer with a passion. I have not suffered it nor my closest loved ones, but I do know people with cancer and those whose lives it has claimed. I hate it. One of the guys at work just got diagnosed with prostate cancer and he is going for a $20 000 operation in three weeks which will hopefully kick cancer’s butt. Another friend just had a huge malignant melanoma removed from her back. Luckily they got it all. Another friend in the USA battles daily with cancer and a blood disorder. In fact, I am surprised (and delighted) that she is still breathing. I truly want her to beat cancer because she is a wonderful person and no one deserves to die from this horrible plight. Thank you for sharing your story about your uncle. I always make sure I tell my friends and family that I love them, often.

    • Thank you ❤ I hate it too. My brother in law has the same cancer my uncle passed away from. He is currently cancer-free as of a few days ago. The same uncle's mom passed away from it about 6 years ago. I have an uncle with leukemia, an uncle with skin cancer, and a friend with two kids my daughter's age who is battling leukemia. I try to help her with her kids, and bring meals occasionally. This case especially hit me, because my aunt and uncle are like another set of parents to me. I hope your friend beats it. I hope one day there is as much awareness for other kinds of cancer as there is for breast and lung cancer. My zodiac sign is cancer, but I am changing the name to hope 🙂 Thank you so much for reblogging this.

      • Hey! Yeah, seems that it touches everyone in some way or another, doesn’t it. A family friend passed away from cancer – ironically he worked so hard his whole life that he never had a dog. He always wanted a dog. He retired, bought himself a gorgeous little pup and was dead within three months. It was really bloody sad. 😦

        I actually shaved my head earlier in the year (or late last year? I forget when) to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundations World’s Greatest Shave (which started out as crop a cop, which my senior sargeant friend did in it’s second year). I raised over $1500 but it’s never enough.

        I hope by reblogging your post that even if one person gets it, then it’s worth it. xo

  3. Hi there!

    I just got reading through a few of your posts and I had a quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance. Thanks! – emilywalsh688@gmail(dot)com.


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