Saturday, February 23, 2013

the magic fountain

I have lung cancer I am not broken.

For nearly a quarter century unpaid family caregiving has been my choice. So when I noticed that Facebook chatter between cousins in Northern New Jersey seemed like sending up a flare for help earlier this week I did not hesitate. 

I drove 320 miles round trip to facilitate my young cousin’s transfer from Goryeb Children's Hospital to PSE&G Children's Specialized Hospital just in case a familiar face was needed. 

Following a fall down some steps my young cousin suffered a severe Epidural Hemotoma and a Subdural Hemotoma. For weeks his parents and grandparents have basically camped outside PICU.

With both grandparents and his Mom down with flu like symptoms and his Dad basically out on his feet … my familiar face could be helpful with transition for the little guy. 
A little backstory, last March as I was concealing my own looming lung cancer surgery from everyone except my daughter, this same young cousin was undergoing brain surgery from an unrelated fall. 

As I lay in my hospital bed recovering I had to ask my daughter to sign in to my Facebook account, let me know what was going on and comment as me. 

Thank an Irish God we both were sent home on St. Patrick’s Day and my end of the ruse could end. 

Two brain injuries and surgeries should be enough for anyone much less a 7 year old – yet the little guy not only has Muscular Dystrophy but is a 5 year liver cancer survivor and most importantly inspires the best in everyone around him.

Children’s Specialized Hospital claims it is the largest pediatric rehabilitation system of its kind in the nation and is the preeminent provider of rehabilitation services for children with special needs.

Since lung cancer surgery and recovery, some people I used to know have weighed, measured, and found me wanting. That is their mistake. I am not broken. Feeling wanted and feeling needed is part of living. 

Plus how many hospitals serve Irish Nachos in their cafeteria? 

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. Prayers for your little cousin. Your right about feeling needed. I always seem to have more energy on the days my daughter needs help with the grandbabies. (my joy!) And BTW, I too believe God is Irish!

    1. Amen Mel! Before lung cancer surgery it was always "would you help" now it's "can you" or even worse no one asks. :)