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Heather Jose: A Brother and Advocate for Breast Cancer

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It’s a gray and dreary day in Michigan. For all of you lovers of Fall this is why I hate it. Blah, Blah, Blah.

Where is the sun? There is something good about today though, it is my brother’s birthday.

Troy is my older brother by twenty months. He has always taken his job quite seriously. We have pictures of us as young children where he is lovingly tilting his head toward mine. We played together when we were kids. We rarely fought. I saved that for my younger brother Josh. Troy was the quietest one of us, the thinker. He didn’t mind when I hung out with all of his classmates in high school. He even looked in on me when we attended the same college.

My mom called Troy the night that I found out the cancer had spread to my bones. She told him that they needed to do something. She wasn’t okay with her daughter being told to ‘get your affairs in order.’ Troy, I’m told, dropped everything and went to work as a big brother. He and his wife were living in Texas at the time. Troy was working as a flight surgeon on an Air Force Base, having completed med school already.

Troy picked up the phone and got to work. He started with his contacts at the University of Michigan Medical School. I don’t know how many calls it took before Troy found Dr. Merajver in her lab at U of M the next morning. After explaining all that he knew she told him, “She’s a U of M patient.” With that information he called me and said to expect a phone call from Dr. M. He believed she would be the right doc for me.

He was right, of course. From the first phone call a weight began to lift. She told me that we would get started immediately.

From that point on Troy became my reassuring voice. We would talk about what was happening and he would tell me that the docs were doing it exactly right. He shared his faith as well, and told me that he believed in miracles. Whenever I needed to really hash out medical concerns I would call my brother.

Even though he couldn’t be near Troy told a lot of people about me. I was the in hospital for three weeks for my stem cell transplant when I realized how many people he had talked with.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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