A Little Help From My Friends Redux

My 7 year old nephew, Nathan, is having surgery to close a small hole in his heart tomorrow morning at 10 AM East Coast (7 AM Pacific). It's supposed to be something like a 5 hour surgery so the upside, for me, is that most of it will be over by the time I wake up.

That doesn't mean I'm not nervous.

This is the latest -- and most serious -- in a long line of surgeries for Nathan. He and his twin brother, Connor, were in vitro babies. They were born at only 27 weeks and, at one point, my family was told that they wouldn't live more than a few weeks after they were born.

They did survive, though, although they've been plagued by the fact that they left the womb too early, and that they need to catch up to where they should be.

This problem would be much harder for Connor, as not long after his first birthday the doctor's discovered that he had cancer, specifically a tumor on his liver.

That's why this entry has a "redux" at the end of the title. I've asked for help before regarding my nephews.

They managed to remove all of the cancerous tumor from Connor's liver. The fact that he was so young meant his liver would regenerate at a greater rate. But the fact that he was so young also meant that the chemo was doing more damage than it would to an adult -- and chemo isn't exactly easy for an adult to take.

Connor has slowly but surely recovered from that ordeal, although it's clear that, on some level, he knows how close he was to death. You can tell by the way he behaves.

Nathan, on the other hand, has had more surgeries than his brother, but they've all been less severe...until now. From what I understand, of the major surgeries a person can have on their heart, this one is done fairly often, and generally works out well. That doesn't really make me feel much better, though.

You know the truly amazing thing? My brother can't have kids. No, really. He has a genetic quirk that is supposed to prevent him from being able to have children. And yet there they are.

I know a very diverse group of people who believe in a wide variety of things. So I'm here to ask you to send your positive energy, your chi, your thoughts, your prayers to whatever god or gods you might believe in, to my nephew in Ohio tomorrow morning. His name is Nathan Vanderneut and while he'll never be the wiser, he could use a little help.

Thanks, everyone. I'm sure I'll post an update as soon as I know anything.