"I haven't told Dad this yet," my brother said over the phone tonight. "But I will. And then I'll ask him to help me explain it to Mom."
He's been having stomach pain and general malaise for a while. He went to the doctor and they determined that the problem was his pancreas, because it was completely inflamed. They tried drugs, they tried an MRI, nothing's worked and the only thing they've figured out is that there's a big mass in his pancreas. So he's having a biopsy next month.
"There are only three things it could be," he said. "A kidney stone, a benign tumor, or a malignant tumor. They said that if it's one of the last two they'll schedule surgery for me that same week."
He said a couple times that it was "nothing to worry about," but he also said, "If you guys have any ideas, let me know. Though I've done some Googling and I think the doctors are right." Apparently his doctor is consulting his entire group because they can't figure out what's going on and he really shouldn't be having the symptoms he's having.
At the end of our conversation he said, "Love you, sis." He hasn't said that to me in years and years. He asked me to check up on him, and I said I would--I've been feeling guilty lately because he always calls me before I call him, so I would anyway, but now I'm going to be extra-careful to talk to him often. And if he does end up needing surgery, I'll fly out to see him. And then I'll kick his ass, because that's what big sisters do.