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Thread: My Brother Has Cancer - I'm Having Trouble Dealing

  1. #1
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    My Brother Has Cancer - I'm Having Trouble Dealing

    Hi guys, hoping you can help me with this cause I'm having trouble dealing.

    My brother has been struggling with lung cancer for several months. He is in his mid-40s and never smoked in his life but my mom was a huge smoker so may have gotten it second hand, but who knows.

    Anyway, he was on chemo to reduce size of tumor which worked and then had surgery to remove the tumor.

    They got most of it but not all so he's having radiation treatments.

    He was doing really well and we were all so hopeful but it appears the cancer has now spread to his liver and other organs, he got the biopsy results a few days ago.

    My problem is I don't know how to react properly when he talks to me about it.

    I try to not get upset but it's hard not to, he is my dear brother after all, we already lost both our parents (my mom passed from lung cancer herself) so this is almost too much to handle sometimes.

    Anyway, whenever we talk, like a few minutes ago when he called to tell me about the biopsy results, I got a bit upset and ended up upsetting him!

    Which is the last thing I want obviously, but I don't know how else to react.

    His prognosis isn't good so how do I stay positive and encouraging when we talk? It seems phony when his prognosis isn't positive and also how does he expect that I would not be upset?

    Would he rather I not be upset? I'm trying to remain detached when we talk, but gosh the thought of losing him too is just too much.

    This just happened so I'm a bit raw; my bf is working, my other brother I am close with is in Switzerland skiing with his wife, so hoping you guys can help me so I can be more supportive to my brother instead of upsetting him whenever we talk.

    Thnx in advance guys.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    So sorry to hear that you are all going through this, Katrina. Yes, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, we all go through it and as a survivor myself, I can tell you that the majority of times, the cancer victim ends up comforting our love one's rather then them comforting us. I'm sure your brother is understanding that you are grieving and that you will do anything that you can to help him fight this. That's all you can do is support him, take him to appointments if you can, or cook for him and do anything that you can do that he asks of you.

    In time you too will become strong and you will just accept and you will be a positive and loving influence.


    Sending positive energy your way. I lost my brother to lung cancer that spread to his brain so I can empathise with what you are going through. ((()))

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    Oh. My. Gosh. I am so unbelievably sorry for all of this. Unfortunately, lung cancer can absolutely affect non-smokers. Christopher Reeve's wife was one. So there's nothing he could have done to have prevented this.

    As for how to handle it, the best thing is to just act normally. Talk with him as you normally would.....movies, books, current events, the weather....just whatever the two of you would normally talk about. Not his treatment, his doctors, etc. He deals with that on a daily basis.

    I just had brunch with my HS best friend, who I knew had been battling cancer for a while. In her instance, she, too, has had metastasizing in other areas. We sat at brunch like two 15 year-olds, just talking about life, times, laughing....for 3 hours. The cancer was just something mentioned, not the subject. Mind you, she's now walking with a cane, she had a baseball cap on to hide her lack of hair, but her heart, her soul, her laugh....exactly the same. I felt like we were sitting on her bed as teenagers.

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    Thnx TwT I wish I could help in that way, but he's in New York and I am in CA.

    I just went to visit him over Thanksgiving and other than he lost part of his voice during the surgery he was doing great!

    Now this.

    I'm scheduled to move to London in a few weeks for a contract job, but torn as to whether to go now or not.

    He's married, his wife has been awesome, his rock.

    I just struggle with how to react properly when we talk cause apparently my getting upset upsets him, which is the last thing I want!

    How do I remain detached to avoid upsetting him?

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  6. #5
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    Originally Posted by LHGirl
    Oh. My. Gosh. I am so unbelievably sorry for all of this. Unfortunately, lung cancer can absolutely affect non-smokers. Christopher Reeve's wife was one. So there's nothing he could have done to have prevented this.

    As for how to handle it, the best thing is to just act normally. Talk with him as you normally would.....movies, books, current events, the weather....just whatever the two of you would normally talk about. Not his treatment, his doctors, etc. He deals with that on a daily basis.

    I just had brunch with my HS best friend, who I knew had been battling cancer for a while. In her instance, she, too, has had metastasizing in other areas. We sat at brunch like two 15 year-olds, just talking about life, times, laughing....for 3 hours. The cancer was just something mentioned, not the subject. Mind you, she's now walking with a cane, she had a baseball cap on to hide her lack of hair, but her heart, her soul, her laugh....exactly the same. I felt like we were sitting on her bed as teenagers.
    Thank you LHG and I'm sorry about your friend, cancer sucks! :(

    But your advice is good, I will try it, and try to stay strong, for him!

  7. #6
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by katrina1980
    Thnx TwT I wish I could help in that way, but he's in New York and I am in CA.

    I just went to visit him over Thanksgiving and other than he lost part of his voice during the surgery he was doing great!

    Now this.

    I'm scheduled to move to London in a few weeks for a contract job, but torn as to whether to go now or not.

    He's married, his wife has been awesome, his rock.

    I just struggle with how to react properly when we talk cause apparently my getting upset upsets him, which is the last thing I want!

    How do I remain detached to avoid upsetting him?
    I think LHGirl had some good advice about just acting with him as you always have. I don't know what to tell you about going to London, it has to be your decision. Have you discussed it with him? I don't see what difference it makes, if you stay you'll still be long distance and both places are a plane ride away.

    As I said, as you come to terms with it and accept, you will be able to talk with him in the manner that LH does with her friend.

    I lost my best friend to pancreatic cancer, drove her to all her chemo appointments for four years (I had retired by that time) and we just carried on normally as if we were on a girls day out. Many of the oncology nurses in the department told us they loved when we came in because all they could hear coming out of her chemo cubicle was chatter and laughter. Just be normal, luv.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member mustlovedogs's Avatar
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    Iím sorry :(

    So this is just me, but I would want to be surrounded by upbeat people, who would allow me to vent but would do their best to keep my spirits up.

    But I think itís fair to ask him. Acknowledge youíre having a hard time and ask what heís looking for specifically. Say youíll work on that. And then maybe plan things to do together? Or have other conversation topics?

    Easier said than done - this is a terrible situation

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    I am so sorry , Katrina.

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    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I wish I had some advice here, but I really don't know what to say except be your best self, your true self, your normal self, which I'm sure you're doing. Your post alone is an extension of your love for him, which I'm certain he feels and cherishes right now.

    Really I'm just posting here to say I'm sorry, so very sorry, to hear about this. Hugs to you and to your brotheróand lots of healing vibes.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    I lost two very close people to me in the past year due to cancer so I am sorry you're going through this.

    I think the number one lesson I learnt in it all is, this is about him, not you.

    I had a hard time swallowing that one too, but it is true. I know you're upset, I know it's hard to think about losing him but your focus right now needs to be on his feelings.

    If you have to keep your feelings to yourself, so be it. Make things as comfortable for him as possible. Keep being positive (in front of him)..cry at home later if need be.
    Keep trying to remain strong around him even if you don't feel it and even if it seems phoney to you.

    It's not easy. I know it's not. It can be so draining. But for now, this is about his comfort and him feeling as less stressed as he can be.

    I hope you have a good support system too, so that when you do finally go home, you have someone who will listen to you or will be there for you when you cry.

    Again, I am so sorry you're dealing with this.

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