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my dear brother 
Started by colleen61
03 Jan 2012, 11:40 AM

my brother has just turned 43 on new years eve, and he has been fighting aggressive brain cancer for over a year now, he has had radiotherapy, 2 crainiotomies, trial drug treatments, numerous bouts of chemo, takes 18 or so tablets a day and 2 injections in the tummy to stop a blood clot breaking up which is sitting at the top of his leg..

he has been fighting and fighting and now he can hardly get out of bed, and sleeps most of the day, he has lost most of his mobility , he can still talk and eat but its getting harder and harder for him .. i have been watching my poor brother go from a happy healthy married man with a 6 year old daughter so someone who just cant no longer do much at all... my heart is so broken, many tears i have cried andkeep asking why why why, never smoked, hardly drank, and i am frustrated, and angry i guess all the emotions you can think off. i have been to the doctors my self cos i am not coping very well myself and all i do is cry and want to take this horrible cancer from him so he can get back to where he was..i am so so so sad....Cryand totally overwhelmed watching him fade away...

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Reply by GirlWithTheBlackBeret
03 Jan 2012, 7:01 PM

Hi Colleen,

I am so sorry to hear about your brother, stupid disease attacking him in his prime and with a young family. It’s unbearable to watch as a loved one’s health and vitality is stolen. My Mom died of the disease a few years back. No matter how much effort to put in to trying to comprehend the situation, I have learned there is no good answer to “why her or him”. Cancer is so indiscriminate.

Feeling frustrated and angry is completely normal even though having to stand by and watch a family member struggle feels anything but normal. I think you are wise to visit your doctor to investigate other ways to cope. I found talking with others who understood the situation helped. Back then, I did not know online communities (like this one) existed so I mainly talked about my feelings with friends and family members who also helped care for my Mom. I channeled the emotions I felt into helping out at my Mom’s house, getting the anger out while scrubbing floors or doing other chores like cutting the grass. Would you sister-in-law be open to you helping her out around the house?

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Reply by Plum1
04 Jan 2012, 12:50 AM

Dear Colleen,

I am also very much with you in your pain and frustration. I am convinced that one of the most difficult experiences we face as human beings is to watch helplessly as a loved one suffers. In our helplessness, we lash out at the disease, or at medicine which is not able to cure, or at God who does not seem to care, or....It all just does not seem fair. The many feelings you have are very understandable. At the same time, they can be very destructive to your own health and to your ability to be present to your brother.

I sense that, hidden in the feelings, is the great energy of love. I wonder what it would be like to acknowledge that energy, and then channel it into compassion, first for yourself in your pain, and then for your brother and his family. You clearly love your brother very ddeply. And he no doubt needs your love now more than ever. Might he be able to communicate in what concrete ways he could benefit from the care of others who love him? How are his wife and little girl doing? How might your love be expressed to them?

Although I have not had a loved one die of brain cancer, I had a very close friend enter into a very deep depression. She was in that state for about two years. In it, she was not able to communicate with me or others at all. I felt anger, and great sadness - for her who had just retired and had wonderful hopes and dreams for what she would like to do, and myself at losing someone who was precious to me. I used the energy of my feelings by writing letters of love to her very frequently, never knowing whether she could read them or absorb them. I also made a long trip to visit her where she was for a time. Our visit was probably one of the most difficult experieces of my life, but I kept letting her know how much I loved her no matter whether she healed or not. I affirmed her, caressed her, listened to her. The end of the story was eventually positive, but for so long there was no sign that she would recover. All I could do was love faithfully. The other feelings did not go away completely, but love permitted me to live with them in a more balanced and accepting way.

I wonder also whether this time ia a huge transition for your brother, and all of you who love him. He has been courageously battling the cancer. It now seems that he may be entering a palliative time in his life. Surrendering into this is not easy, is it? How are all of you facing the possibility of death?

I hold all of you in much love. 

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Reply by moderator | modératrice
13 Jan 2012, 3:11 PM

Hi Colleen,

We haven't heard from you in a while. I'm just checking in to see how you are doing. We're here is you want to talk.

You're in our thoughts.

Colleen (moderator)

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Reply by Cath1
24 Jan 2012, 11:09 AM

Dear Colleen61:

Your story about your brother is absolutely heartbreaking! I am wondering how you are managing in these past few weeks since you posted here? I can only imagine how difficult life must be for your brother, and for those of you who love him so much. I could actually feel your grief as you describe how you're feeling as a new year begins and you are faced with the possible ending of your brother's life. Your brother is and has been doing everything in his power to fight his disease and to prolong his life and that takes so much inner strength and courage! I'm sure he is fighting not only because he cherishes his own life, but he cherishes the lives of all those he loves and wants desperately to live for them all, including you!

Your brother is so young to have to be dealing with so much, and I imagine you are similarly young as well. Life is so cruel sometimes. It is hard even for strangers like me to know there are good people in the world suffering so badly, so intensely.

It is not only your brother and his wife and child who suffers. You, as well, have a lot to cope with and I hope you are finding ways to do so with lots of support. Of course you feel overwhelmed. Only the heartless could watch a loved one suffer and fade before their eyes without being overcome at times by upsetting feelings, and as long as you can express them somehow, you will find your way through the darkest hours of your fear, sorrow and anger for the injustice of it all.

You are grieving I'm sure, even though your brother is living, as the very threat of death causes many of us to experience anticipatory grief and we also grapple with the sorrow for the concrete losses of health and vitality of a loved one as we watch and feel helpless to change the situation, or the outcome. Your love does help your brother though, and I hope you know this always. Your presence, your love and support, however it expressed, does make a difference to him, I just know it.

I know now that I had been grieving the losses my mother experienced long before she actually died, long before I even considered it a possibility that she could die or would. My Mom died a little over a year ago and she had lived a very long life and for that I feel so grateful and I know she and I and all of our family were fortunate to have had her with us for so long. Yet, length of life is not a measurement of a person or their importance. Each life is valuable no matter how long it lasts. When a young person is ill or dying, I believe it is different though, harder to accept for many of us, as it seems utterly unnatural when someone in their prime has to suffer from extreme illness that sneaks up upon them to rob them of their quality of life in the present, their dreams for the future, if not their very life itself. Thank goodness that memories and love last forever!

There is nothing I can say or do to change what your brother is going through, nothing I can say or do to cure him and relieve your sadness, but I can say that I care deeply and that I keep your brother and his family, and you, in my thoughts and prayers every day. That is the best I can do, and I am wishing you all the very best.

Blessings to your brave brother, his young family, and to you, Colleen61. My heart is with you all.


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Reply by Cath1
18 Feb 2012, 6:32 AM

Hi Colleen61:

Just a quick note to let you know that you and your brother and family are in my thoughts, and to remind you that our Virtual Hospice community is here to support you if ever you feel the need.

Have a good night and take care.

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