The Thursday after Thanksgiving, I was planning to run with my Uncle Frank at Riverside Park, as I often do. Frank is my best running buddy. We started running together about six years ago at our family reunion. Frank always ran about 7 miles from my grandma’s cabin to the shore of Lake Michigan, and that year, I finally decided to join him. We started running regularly after that and became very close. He’s very important to me.
But on Wednesday, November 30, I got a call from Frank telling me he wouldn’t be able to run the next day. He was having a hard time completing sentences, so he handed the phone to his wife, my Aunt Betty, who explained that Frank was at the hospital to investigate the cause of his sudden speech problem. They had already found a mass in his head but didn’t know what it was.
This was shocking to me, because Frank is one of the healthiest people I know. He’s 68, but when we run, he has to slow down for me, 26 years his junior. After I got off the phone and cried a bit, I thought about what I could do for Frank. Since he’s my best running buddy and can’t run right now, I decided I would run every day until he could run with me again.
Frank went into surgery the next day, and they removed (most of) a grade 4 brain tumor. He was home within a couple of days, and I saw him shortly after. He was doing great – laughing, being himself and praising Jesus with all his heart. Frank is handling everything as well as he possibly can, and his faith allows him to accept any outcome with remarkable peace. I find his strength inspiring.
Frank and Betty hosted the BIG family party at their house New Year’s Eve, and he looked great. He wanted to wait until after the holidays before undergoing chemo and radiation, but he’ll start that within the next day or two. Brain cancer is a nasty one, but apparently the mass has not grown back, which is positive.
I’m praying for you every day, Frank, and my prayer is to run. I hope you can join me again soon.