Sometime ago we introduced you to one of our heroes, Ben Martinez, who is waging a brave battle against Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Ben finished his chemo treatments in June of 2014, however in January of 2015 the cancer came back, and it spread throughout his body. Now 14-years-old, Ben is fighting “the monster” once again.
Ben has had the strong support of his family, and especially the support of his older brother Rob. We often forget that siblings experience their own form of trauma and pain while watching their brother or sister fight childhood cancer. After all, there is nothing more difficult than watching someone you love so much fight a disease that you cannot do anything yourself to “fix.” That’s difficult enough as a parent, now imagine how difficult it is for a child or a teenager. They are difficult emotions to work through, process. and express.
Rob, who is 15-years-old, shared his story with us through his mother Diane. We must warn you that what you are about to read may be difficult. It is graphic and raw, but it is real. It is the true experience of what it is like to be in the shoes of a sibling as he supports his brother during the most difficult of fights. Thank you Rob for being so honest and for sharing your story. You're our hero too.
My Brother's Torture: Through A Brother's Eyes
By Rob Martinez
I hate going here.
That tall building is the living embodiment of slow painful death.
Yet we walk in here every day of the week.
As sickness starts to dwell in all of us, I start hearing the loud sounds of machines.
And the strong smells of chemicals.
It makes me want to gag.
I want to get out, to not see anymore of want I've already seen.
We go in the elevator, rising up only a few floors.
I went to push him down the hall, because he's too weak to walk.
We go in and wait till they give us the clear.
To go in, it takes awhile.
As everything checks up, we walk in.
He tries so hard to stop me from pushing him in.
I wanted to stop for him, but I can’t.
We finally made it in to only see children sitting lifelessly in their seats.
As I look to the left I see a newly-made friend puking out acidic vomit with hints of blood.
Then as I slowly turned to the right I hear and see a little girl crying.
As she was suffering her parents wanted to help, but they can't do anything about it.
My brother sits down in the same chair as he has sat in before.
Preparing for the worst.
The nurse came in with a needle to poke through his chest.
Much like a mosquito taking blood, but only this time taking his child-like innocence.
The tube that connected with the needle would slowly inject more into him for hours and hours, with a toxin that killed his insides and left him vomiting what's left.
I would try do to anything to cheer him up, to see hope in his dark time.
He would open his eyes and stare directly at me with no emotion, but his eyes told me everything.
That there was no hope or cheering up allowed, he was here to suffer and to suffer only.
He would rather die!
He turned his head back to close his eyes to not look at his own torture.
Hours later the nurse came back to retrieve the empty bag saying, “You’re done with the chemo Ben.”
My brother woke up and started puking.
He loathed that word! (chemo)
Whenever he heard it he wanted to cry.
Knowing he'll never be cured without it, yet it was killing him.
I would rub his back, to comfort him, to let him know that he wasn't alone, but the reality is he was alone.
He looked up with teary eyes at me.
I wanted to cry seeing my own brother in blood suffering, but I needed to be strong for him.
I helped him up from his chair to his wheel chair and pushed him out.
My mom behind me hugging the other families trying to comfort them.
But he wanted out, and I don't blame him.
It's a damned prison, a living hell for children.
We walk out only to come back.
Again, and again, and
To support Ben and Rob in their journey together through childhood cancer, be sure to visit Ben's support page on Facebook called Facing Ben's Giant.