Miracles, gratitude and ‘The Wizard of Oz!!!’
2012 was a very challenging year for our Quayle/Barca ‘Ohana. Our one and only brother/uncle, Hank Quayle, was diagnosed with third stage cancer, and our youngest son, Andrew, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Hank not only had to live with the agonizing pain from the tumors, chemotherapy and radiation, he also was put out of his home over the 2012 holidays.
Throughout his treatments, he kept all of the nurses, doctors and hospital staff in stitches, as that’s who Hank is. The smiling light at the head of the locomotive… he had only one speed: straight ahead, at any cost, hope must be kept!!
He had help and support from his friends, the Kostiks in Phoenix, and our dear friend Jim O’Conell was always his ride to and from the airport, as he was receiving chemo monthly in the Phoenix Cancer Centers of America.
He always picked up Hank’s dog Ella, as she was his constant companion and second love of his life throughout his living hell. His beautiful daughter, Monique, takes spot number one!!
Everyone in our office at Sakamoto Properties has stepped in from day one to help Hank with all his rentals and anything that needed addressing. Our family there will always be one of the most treasured parts of this life-altering experience.
Discovering Andy’s tumor was a miracle, as he had gone to the hospital to get stitches for a fall he sustained, and the mass was discovered at that time.
In January of 2013, he had brain surgery at Cedars Sinai, and has just received his first “all clear” scan. While we were in the hospital, his room was located adjacent to the heliport. The night after his surgery, the helicopter landed (in the pouring rain) and made me instantly drop to my knees and pray for the mother of whomever it was that was being transported.
Miraculously, I found out the next morning that one of our lifelong friends from Huntington Beach, Larry Marvin, had received the heart of that very same 30-year-old, healthy male victim of a car accident. Marvin is doing well and is thriving for the first time in many years.
Andy got his brain, as did the Scarecrow; Marvin got his heart, as did the Tin Man; and Hank showed us all what courage really is about, as did the Lion – who made us all love him so.
Hank passed in my arms on Dec. 9, and he was finally free of the agony…. we are so devastated, and yet so grateful to have been with him to the end, or beginning, depending on perspective.
My sons Alex and Andy and my awesome husband, Dave, were with us in the hospital, and they taught me what true unconditional love, fidelity and family is all about. The most incredible lesson of my life was taught to me by the most important people in my life this year. I am forever grateful to them as well. Happy New Year to you all!!