This year, it was a different Christmas for us - much quieter. Not just because it was the first Christmas without Grandma Burch or Uncle Joe, though their absence was sadly felt.
Our 2015 Christmas will be known as the one where Uncle Zane couldn't speak. Not that he didn't want to, he is a lawyer, for by, and his voice is usually the loudest in the room; the one heard above all others.
In October, my brother-in-lawyer, Zane L. Todd, Jr. was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma. The tumor was removed, as were his tonsils, which is where the cancer began, and the fight was on.
He began aggressive treatments with both radiation and chemotherapy. The radiation he handled well, but the chemotherapy robbed him of most of his energy. He was unable to keep down food and fight off the nausea, so he typically spent the first 2-3 days after the chemo treatment either bent over a bucket or in the hospital on I.V. fluids. He lost a lot of weight, lost the ability to salivate, and the sores on the back of his throat were so painful that it hurt him to swallow or speak. After a month of not being able to eat foods, a feeding tube was inserted in Zane's abdomen so that he could receive nourishment, but even that food did not stay with him long - so great was his nausea.
Two days before Christmas, Zane's doctors decided not to give him his final chemo treatment - but only stick with the radiation. It was really good news for him and the family, as they felt the treatments were all working fine and it would probably hurt him more to go through the treatment than to actually administer.
So yeah, in all - cancer sucks and is bad and all that hoopla. We believe Zane is now on the way to a complete recovery.
What this meant for the Burch family, was a very quiet Christmas. That's not necessarily a bad thing, except that Zane brings a lot of light to the chaotic action of Christmas morning, or any party where we are all together. Again, his voice is the one that is heard above all others.
So a room in which Zane is sitting but not speaking is almost eerily quiet, if you don't count the kids (who range in age now from 6 to 23 - big shout out to my daughter Austyn, who turned 21 on Christmas day - WHOOP).
There was still excitement, and ripping paper, and pouting kids, and whispers about whether or not Santa was real, and was the turkey in the oven yet, and how about some more coffee...
It wasn't a bad silence. Just different. A time to reflect on what it means to be a family, how much we have grown, how big the kids are getting; how accomplished.
But mostly, this Christmas, it was a time to be thankful. For health, for prosperity, and for God, who gave us the Savior, the one to be heard above all others.
Rocky Mosler stopped by on Christmas eve to speak with Zane about what
having the same cancer had done for him and to show Zane that there really
IS light at the end of the tunnel.