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brother and cancer diagnosis

(32 Posts)
weeonion Thu 26-Jun-14 22:52:17

my older brother has told us all this week that he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. my family are in bits - very upset.

Sounding callous but I am not. the reason - i am not sure i believe him.

He has a history of exageration, fabrication and lying to us all. From more minor things like having been robbed, involved in car accidents to more major things like having a child, being kidnapped whilst in another country or receiving personal phone-calls from Lana Del Ray. It has reached the stage where i am hmm about nearly everything that comes out of his mouth. He is soooooo easy to catch out on lies and doesnt even realise that he has been at times. He forgets what he has said and when challenged about it -he denies all knowledge or will make it a whole new set of lies to cover that up.

With his latest news - he said that he found a lump in his neck last thursday. went to see his GP on Friday who spent most of her day with him and collected him late on Sunday night to get him admitted to a private clinic (for free) where he had an operation at 10.30pm with the results back at 9am Monday morning to say it was cancer. His GP waited with all night while he was in the operating theatre and drove him home before collecting him at lunch time that day to meet his oncologist and radiologist. She has apparently spent most nights with him ever since and has given him alot of attention to come to terms with this diagnosis. He is starting radiotherapy and chemotherapy tomorrow.

He told my parents on wednesday. They dont know what to believe but think he simply couldnt lie about something as major as this. They wont challenge him on their doubts as he has a history of stopping speaking to people - he once refused to speak to them for over a year when they caught him out on a lie about borrowing money. He also has a history of being violent and has smashed my mums kitchen up a couple of times.

I can understand to a certain degree why they wont challenge him but I am not really willing to go along with what may well be another lie. I have asked him if i can have the name of his GP to say a thank you card as i think her level of personal care and attention in this day and age is almost unbelievably good. He has refused. He doesnt know the name of the clinic he was in last sunday as his GP sorted it all out and it was dark when he was admitted.

I think the whole time frame is strange. i am confused as to how rapid this all has been and there seems to be huge holes in his story. i appreciate that may be because he has just received shocking news but after everything that has happened in the past - I just dont know....

Am i being callous and harsh?
Do you think i should go along with this and give him the benefit of my doubts?

malteserzz Thu 26-Jun-14 23:04:02

It doesn't ring true with me either, why would a gp take such a personal interest ? Also the time frame sounds amazingly quick !

weeonion Thu 26-Jun-14 23:11:08

yep malteserzz - when i commented to him that the GP gave an almost unbelievable amount of attention -he just said she was v kind???
i find it hard to believe that even a private clinic would have labs open and working through a sunday night to get a biopsy result back in less than 10 hours.

weeonion Thu 26-Jun-14 23:28:41


storytopper Thu 26-Jun-14 23:36:32

Not knowing the name of the clinic/hospital is very strange. Even if I was ill, I think I would be listening if the GP told me where we were going.

Also, why didn't he contact one of the family while all this was going on? You would think the GP would have asked him to do this.

Given his previous history it all sounds very suspicious.

thefirstmrsrochester Thu 26-Jun-14 23:39:57

I think your brother is making it up. The timframe rings far far from true.

weeonion Thu 26-Jun-14 23:51:05

storytopper - he said he didnt let any of us know as he didnt want us to worry. i told him that t was only natural we would worry, be concerned and that our parents were upset. his response was to email them saying that his prognosis is excellent, everyone thinks he will be fine with this and for them not to worry. nice words but again i am hmm thinking that is one lie he may not be able to brush away. he has told them that he has to give up work, return his work car and so will not be able to visit them for months as a result. he lives about 20 miles from them.

we have offered to muck in and arrange his transport for radiotherapy / chemo but he says he likes the idea of buses and trains.

my mum thinks i am being harsh. i find it hard that no-one will call him out on this.

notapizzaeater Thu 26-Jun-14 23:52:22

They will be scared to in case he goes nc again. sad

Mini05 Thu 26-Jun-14 23:59:04

Sorry, but I've never heard such a load of crap!!!

No doctor would go to your house personally and take you to a clinic???
It would be a hospital.
I've never heard such crap, does he take you all for idiots!!!

It's impossible, sorry he's taking the piss

weeonion Fri 27-Jun-14 00:03:41

yep notapizzaeater. that is the unspoken threat.

if they call him out - he will go nc and then they will make themselves ill yet again wondering if this is true and what is happening.

if they dont call him out - they will go along with whatever happens no matter how ludicrous it gets. he has already told them that money will be tight with no work so my mum who has v little is working out how they can keep him going. yet again....

weeonion Fri 27-Jun-14 00:11:30

mini05 - that is my point. i dont believe him but am the only one who wants to confront him about this. it makes me angry that we are meant to swallow all of this - in case he stops speaking to us or becomes violent.

he is 43 btw.

Years ago he went on holiday, wasnt in touch for a month. when he did - he said he had been kidnapped in spain and held for 2 weeks. they only released him when they cleared out his bank account. hence he had no money for a flight home and we had to pay. my parents also then covered his bills for 2 months whilst he go back on his feet. the police were never involved as this gang in spain had some kind of life long threat over him hmm

Mini05 Fri 27-Jun-14 00:11:35

Your brother sorry as some sort of mental illness

Mini05 Fri 27-Jun-14 00:15:18

Cross post,

He just wants money!!! So concocts make up stories.

Is it just your parents that believe him?
Are they scared he won't talk to them again, because he will the next time he wants money!

weeonion Fri 27-Jun-14 00:21:37

mini - all other 3 siblings dont believe him. i am the most vocal / angry on this. the other 2 dont want to upset my parents so will play along with them in this game.

i think the money is part of it but i think it is also the power / control it gives him - playing a game with everyone as pawns.

i dont want to be part of it.

BanjoKazooie Fri 27-Jun-14 00:32:54

What a strange man. confused

I honestly don't know what I would do but I think I would find it hard to keep quiet. I suppose the most important thing is to protect your parents rather than confronting your brother. You need to make sure they are clued up about what he is doing.

Mini05 Fri 27-Jun-14 00:35:39

If your strong enough to stand up to him I'd say

You might think you've got the others fooled, but me not a chance I've got you well and truly sushed out!
I wouldn't even waste my time and intelligence listening to his crap

weeonion Fri 27-Jun-14 00:43:28

i have found it hard to keep quiet to him but my parents and other siblngs know how i feel. they are also sceptical (and have been on most of his other adventures / escapades) but choose to keep quiet to him. i am the one who will query and question him on aspects of his walter mitty fantasies which i know makes everyone uncomfortable watching him squirm.

i did confront him directly once before. my poor mothers kitchen was trashed by him as a result.

i will next see him face to face next weekend when i am home to visit my parents.

2Retts Fri 27-Jun-14 01:49:47

Hope you don't mind my asking weeonion, but has he always had these Walter Mitty tendencies? Did he/you/other siblings have a particularly difficult childhood? Apart from his obviously crap lying skills, is he otherwise quite bright? Is he the oldest, youngest or a middle child and has his relationship with your parents been very different from yours and your siblings?

Sorry for the questions (and please ignore any you think intrusive or irrelevant) but I have known an inordinate number of such characters over the years and even my DCs (older teens) have managed to introduce a couple into our lives; it absolutely fascinates me.

I can feel your absolute frustration but I think there has to be a general consensus in (what appears to be) a relatively close family with other siblings. It's more about respecting your parents than it is about your brother, how you collectively choose to deal. Can you disengage with him without upsetting your parents? It may help you in not having to waste emotional energy on his various dramas.

2Retts Fri 27-Jun-14 02:05:11

Also, IME, it is NEVER ever productive to challenge a fantasist on any particular scenario. As with your brother, it is almost certainly years and years of behaviour that will not change with direct challenge on one instance.

The NC thing is almost a relationship re-boot for the'll forget with a little time, you can start again.

BigPawsBrown Fri 27-Jun-14 08:29:09

He should have a scar on his neck. You can't fake that.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 27-Jun-14 09:26:13

A friend of mine is currently being treated for HL and what your brother has stated does not stack up at all. There are more holes in his story than a sieve.

Any sign on his wrists that a canula has been inserted?.

Some general info on HL:-

The most common sign of Hodgkin lymphoma is swelling of glands, or lymph nodes, in the neck, chest, groin or armpit. This swelling causes a lump that is typically painless but persistent, usually lasting for up to six weeks.

Lots of other infections also cause swollen glands but by comparison these are usually tender and shrink away quickly.

Other symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include:
• Enlarged glands that persist for up to six weeks
• Abdominal pain due to enlarged liver or spleen
• Bruising
• Night sweats
• Weight loss
• Itching
• Breathlessness and coughing, especially when lying flat
• Bruising
• Recurrent infections
• Bone pain

Treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma

Most patients with Hodgkin lymphoma respond well to treatment.

The drug combination most widely used for Hodgkin lymphoma is called ABVD (adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine). This regime is usually given in four-week cycles by administering the drugs into the vein on days 1 and 15 of each cycle. Patients with late stage Hodgkin lymphoma are given more cycles of treatment.


Chemotherapy, a combination of anti-cancer drugs, is the main form of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. These drugs need to be taken in a precise sequence, called a protocol, to have the best effect. Patients may be given different protocols according to their specific diagnosis and the stage of their disease.


Radiotherapy may be used along with chemotherapy for some patients . Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and has been shown to decrease the likelihood of the disease returning after treatment has finished.

TheFuzz Fri 27-Jun-14 09:33:21

Any signs of surgery - cannula marks take a couple of weeks to go, and any surgery scars will take many months to clear.

If this is UK there is no way a GP gives that attention to any patient, nor are test results back that quick.

MyFairyKing Fri 27-Jun-14 11:11:26

This doesn't ring true at all. sad I am so sorry for you all. He needs help though, serious help.

weeonion Fri 27-Jun-14 12:06:30

2retts - he is the eldest of 4 of us. Ever since i remember he told 'stories". He dropped out of school early without taking exams. we all thought it was because he was afraid of failing them Drifted for many years with a serous chip on his shoulder and has never taken responsibility for things that go wrong in his life. I was close to him until i left home, went to uni and developed my own life. he used to want to come and hang with me an my pals which i stopped as i was embarassed by his "tales' and lies.

He was close to my younger siblings but only as long as they gave him all their attention. when they started developing their own social circle / having relationships - he would "pick' HUGE rows with them (often physical) and stop speaking.

we are a close family. I feel sorry for him at times as he can be like a storm crow arriving into a room and sapping all energy and fun out of it. i can only spend so long in the same room as him before i have to get out. when he is coming out with yet another tale, he watches me like a hawk to guage my reaction and i feel he is testing just how far he can go before there's a reaction. I try and keep a lid on it - as i dont want anything to start for mu parents sake.

When he comes to visit my parents - it is a constant offloading of all the horrendous things that has happened to him in the past week. he NEVER asks about anyone else and will say / do whatever he can to make sure all attention stays on him. When my mum was unwell last year - he never made contact / called / came to visit but as soon as she was better - he was over with yet another tale of woe and tragedy. He has done some really awful things in the past which involved the police. My family are not like that and none of us have ever done anything similiar. he was charged twice for wasting police time.

I agree that he is unwell. I have said it for many many many years but my parents find that too hard to accept.

I havent seen him since this latest episode. I will next weekend so i dont know if there are marks from a cannula and / or scar. mum says he has a small plaster on his neck from the operation. Apparently last night he told them that it was found so early was due to his aplastic anemia - which we had never heard of nor were aware he also had.

myfairyking - i do think he needs help but where the heck would i even start with this??

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 27-Jun-14 13:23:42


re your comment:-
"Ever since i remember he told 'stories". He dropped out of school early without taking exams. we all thought it was because he was afraid of failing them Drifted for many years with a serous chip on his shoulder and has never taken responsibility for things that go wrong in his life".

Snap re my BIL. He has a personality disorder.

AA is rare and its annual incidence of aplastic anaemia is about two cases per million population.

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