My brother found out he has Stage IV liver cancer, and it is inoperable. Apparently it started in his colon and spread to his liver through his blood. I was at the meeting with his oncologist Monday when we got the news. He has, at best, three years to live with chemotherapy. We were both in shock. He is only 46, eats right, drinks occasionally, does not smoke and never used drugs. Then this.
His mother is 92 and has dementia, so she gets the news every day and breaks down. We’re afraid this is going to kill her before it takes out my brother. Our father is 86 and in good mental health, but has spinal stenosis and cannot take care of my stepmother. My brother has been living with them (he never married) and taking care of the house and property, and doing all the cooking. Right now he cannot even lift five pounds because he had a port put in his chest for delivering the chemo drugs. He had his first round of chemo yesterday, and is feeling good but that is one thing that has him confused. How can he be so sick and still feel good? The oncologist said without chemo he’d live about 10 weeks.
I drove to their home last Sunday and am staying a few more days until my brother can lift moderate weight and resume cooking. I plan to fly back and forth twice a month to help my parents and my brother until this is over. My wife is very supportive and told me to not worry about finding a job: she wants me to take care of my family.
This sucks in many ways. I’m losing my only surviving sibling and my stepmother is shocked every day to learn she is losing her only son.
Well Darron, I guess you just gotta make the best of this. It’s a crappy hand to be dealt.
Try not to let stress, fear, or any other distractions get in the way of what’s important; mainly having a good, wholesome, loving time while everyone is still around.
Everything seems so immediate right now. Let the emotions settle. This might go for years.
You may find yourself having to continue with your own life plans during all of this.
Let things settle, in awhile if you want to look for, or find the perfect job, don’t put it off.
You gotta do multiple things at the same time…don’t get tunnel vision.
I’m very sorry to hear that Darron and you’re right about making the time he has remaining enjoyable for both of you. It sounds as if you have a supportive wife and believe me that really matters. One of my friends and colleagues had exactly the same condition and was the healthiest among us. His eventual death was a shock to all of us. He kept it secret until the end. Vy’s advice is IMO pretty sound. My thoughts are with you.
I’m very sorry to hear that Darron. Not one to give false hope here but if its at all possible try to get a second opinion and if possible go to a major cancer center for it. Stage IV cancer is never a good thing but its not always a universal death sentence either. I have a female patient in her late 60’s who was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer with liver mets about 10 years ago and she remains in good health and free of disease to this day after a combination of aggressive surgery and chemo.
I can’t promise the same is possible for your brother, and most patients with Stage IV colon cancer will not do this well but a second opinion is a small thing to do even if there is only a remote chance of altering the outcome.
So sorry your family is going through this. Please consider a second opinion. Always, before any major medical event have a second opinion and sometimes a third.
See if he can get part time help in to assist. Wearing him down will not do him well. Enjoy your days, appreciate each other and make memories. Maybe see if he could consider a visual or audio journal. Take pics and vids of your outings. You will treasure them later.
Many people turn to a lot of different things to comfort and heal themselves, one thing that is never a bad thing, eating healthy. Some say eating a plant based or mostly plant based diet can help your body fight illnesses even major ones. You might want to look into that.
Thanks everyone. My brother’s oncologist suggested getting a second opinion and he’s probably going to the MD Anderson Cancer Center for that.
Mac, the problem with surgery is the cancer is so widespread that my brother would only have a 10-15 percent of surviving if the chemo knocks the tumors back enough that they could operate.
We do plan to have some good times while my brother fights this.
As for getting a job, I am not concerned with that now. I’ll continue taking fine art landscape photos and building that business. Getting a job was always just a bridge to going full-time with my photography again. I am very lucky to have a wife who is supportive and has the income to let me take care of my family.
That’ a tough one Darron, but have hope. My uncle was in his mid 50’s when he was diagnosed with cancer and given literally months to live. He passed away this year, after beating it through chemo and force of will for almost 8 years. And those 8 years, though tough, were spent surrounded by family so they were good ones.