Discussion Forums



My brother is terminal  
Started by Leigh70
20 Sep 2012, 5:54 PM
I found this site today. My family has been dealing with my brother's terminal cancer since the spring. We recently got news that he has six weeks. We're all devastated. Last year at this time my brother was a strong, independent father of two little girls (he's only 45). In the course of four months he's lost 70 pounds and he has aged 10 years. It breaks my heart to watch him waste away. He's in pain physically and emotionally and there isn't anything we can do.  
I'm worried about my parents now too. They are not looking after themselves and I'm worried for their health and wellbeing.
I find the grief comes in waves. I have days when I'm okay and I go about my day then I have days when I can't do anything but cry. It's an awful, helpless feeling seeing someone you love go through this.
Cancer is an awful disease. How is it that we put a man on the moon in 1969 but we can't find a cure for cancer?
Report this post      
 
Reply by moderator | modératrice
20 Sep 2012, 9:31 PM
Dear Leigh70,

Welcome to Virtual Hospice. I'm glad that you found us. The sense of helplessness can be unbearable at times. We are here to listen and support you.

Are you all (your brother, your parents and you) in the same town?
Colleen

PS: The website may be down for a few hours tonight as they are updating the server. Please don't worry; we will be back and by your side. 
  
Report this post      
 
Reply by Cath1
21 Sep 2012, 4:19 PM
Hi Leigh70:

I am so sorry to hear that your brother has cancer and that he will not live much longer. What traumatic news for him and for you and your parents. My heart goes out to your brother and to you and all of your family. In a family when one suffers, all suffer. I hear your frustration and anger about cancer. Yes, indeed, we put a man on the moon and yet still in 2012 this heartless disease claims so many innocent lives!

I understand that you feel worried about so many things right now, Leigh70, including how your parents are coping and how they will manage later, when your brother passes away. To feel overwhelmed by anxiety and emotion as you go through this experience is natural, and yet you bravely continue living your life each day. That requires phenomenal courage!

As a mother I can only imagine how your parents must feel. To face the prospect of losing one's own child is known to be one of the hardest crosses to bear in this life. Your parents are likely completely focused on your brother, doing whatever they can to comfort and console him despite any demands made upon them and they will sacrifice so much of themselves for your brother's sake. I think it would be very hard to persuade them to take time for themselves, yet it is sometimes necessary as they too need comfort and consolation. I am sure your love makes your brother’s and your parents’ heartache feel more bearable.

As your brother's sister, your heart is breaking too Leigh, and you are trying to prepare yourself also for the future without him. You cannot change the outcome for your brother, nor can you spare your parents or yourself from the grief you are all experiencing, but together you will each find your own way to get through the challenges day to day.

Do you have a close friend you can speak with about how you are really doing and feeling inside? Do you realize how strong you are being for your brother and parents? I hope you can answer yes to both questions because you deserve to know how extraordinary you are being in this extremely sad situation! In this moment you are a hero! I feel your tender heart searching for solace as you write, Leigh70, and I wish I could be there to hold you and give you a big hug!

Please write to us again to allow you an emotional outlet for expression as the difficult days and weeks progress. There are others on this site who have experienced similar circumstances who may be able to offer you more help and insight than I, as you do need support. No matter if we have had the same experience as you, Leigh70, we do empathize with you as your story reminds us of our own struggle with illness and with sorrow. We are all here for you. You will not be alone!

Your brother, your parents and you are all in my prayers.

With affection -xo- hugs
Cath1
Report this post      
 
Reply by Plum1
21 Sep 2012, 4:21 PM
Dear Leigh70,
I wish you to know that I am with you in your pain and helplessness. I really believe that the greatest suffering is to watch helplessly as a loved one goes through the process of dying with pain.You are also worried about your parents as well as your brother's children, not doubt All of this is very emotionally exhaustingI feel for you deeply and am ready to support as much as I can.

Is your family aware of Palliative Care in your area? It might be in a hospital or in a hospice.  I encourage your family to consider this tremendous service where your brother and yourselves would be surrounded with excellent care and compassionate presence. The main goal of Palliative Care is to attend to the patient's pain and to bring as much relief as possible. It sounds as though that would bring you much solice.  The husband of a close friend of mine went to a private hospice just a week or so before he died, but that time was a great blessing for him and my friend.

In the meanintime, we at Virtual Hospice will be with you to listen, support and care for all of you. Let us know more about you and your family, as well as whatever other supports you may have. It is so important to know that you are not alone. Don't be afraid to share your feelings, as raw and changing as they are. All those who have been on a similar journey will fully understand.

In loving support,
Plum1
Report this post      
 
Reply by Leigh70
22 Sep 2012, 10:24 AM
Thank you Cath1 and Plum1 for your caring words.

I live in a different city from my family (a few hours drive) which is making this harder. I want to be there everyday but I also have my own family that I need to care for so I'm only able to visit a few times each week. I have not looked into cancer support groups in my area - I suppose I should do that.

There are so many things I can't do to make this better but I'm trying to focus on how I can help. Last night, I spent the evening cooking so I can take pre-made meals to my family.

Some days I accept that this is happening - other days it seems so unbelievable. I don't know where I am on this spectrum of grief.
Report this post      
 
Reply by Cath1
22 Sep 2012, 12:23 PM
Dear Leigh70:

Thank you for writing again and I welcome to Virtual Hospice! I should have said that yesterday!:) See how easy it is for us to have recriminations? 

It's seems that what we have not done or what we feel we should be doing gets our attention when truly it should not. I am so glad to see that you have the wisdom to focus on the things you can do to help! You are doing so much and from afar.  Cooking all Friday night so that your family will have prepared meals for the week is an ideal way to be there even when you are not able to be physically present.

I believe that you are doing incredibly well in your grieving, Leigh70, and sharing your feelings with others will help. You do have your own family to care for and that is your first priority and yet you still make time to visit your brother and parents so often. You can't be everywhere and you can't do everything, but your heart is in the right place and that alone makes a world of difference to your brother and your parents, and all the family!

You say you don't know where you are on the spectrum of grief and I can relate to how uncertain you feel. Some days you will feel stronger and better able to accept things as they are happening and some days you will fall apart and be swept away by sorrow. Grief takes our hearts and minds to places of weakness and despair that we never imagined but I want you to know that somehow it also makes us stronger and more resilient than we ever thought possible.

I am thinking of you today, Leigh70 and I just want you to know you will continue to have our support and our care.

With affection -xo- hugs
Cath1       
Report this post      
 
Reply by Tian
22 Sep 2012, 3:37 PM
Dear Leigh70

I don't have much to add to the wisdom and sympathy expressed by Plum1 and Cath1. I just want to emphasize that having your brother enter palliative care would make available a team of professionals to care not only for him but for his wife, kids, your parents and you.

You are already doing an amazing job. Remember that in order to continue doing so, you cannot neglect your own needs. Please keep us informed when you have time.

I know it's not much consolation but I can tell you why men have gone to the moon but we haven't been able to cure cancer - because it's much easier.

Tian

 
Report this post      
 
Reply by Cath1
10 Oct 2012, 5:17 PM
Dear Leigh70:

I have been thinking of you since you last wrote and I'm wondering how your brother is doing and how you are coping? Please feel no pressure to update us, but if you do feel like you need to reach out again for support, please know we are all still here for you and with you we will remain.

Your brother and his family, including you, are in our thoughts and prayers.

With affection -hugs- xo
Cath1    
Report this post      
 
Reply by Leigh70
22 Apr 2013, 6:38 PM
It has been six months since I was last on this site. My brother passed away earlier this year.

Fortunately, his 'bad' time was short. He was only in the hospital for a few days before he passed away.

As much as I/we tried to prepare for this outcome it is still incredibly hard - even traumatic. I assume at some point I will learn to accept that it happened but even now it still seems so unbelievable. Intellectually, I understand. Emotionally, I do not.
Report this post      
 
Reply by moderator | modératrice
22 Apr 2013, 9:16 PM
Hi Leigh,

I wish to express my sincere condolences on the loss of your dear brother. How does one prepare for such an unknown journey? One thing is certain - it isn't easy. It may be of little solace, but many here in the Virtual Hospice community are prepared to walk beside you when you need us. 

I see you posted to the I am living with loss and grief forum as well and shared with one of our newest members. Incredible how in sadness we can still find it to give strength and understanding. Thank you.

So good to hear from you.
Colleen
 
Report this post