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Scared about my brother with bowel cancer

(5 Posts)
NooNooHead Wed 17-May-17 00:17:27

Hi everyone

I'll get straight to the point and say that I am so scared right now about my brother who has bowel cancer.

He's had it for about a year and has had two rounds of chemo and radiotherapy, and is now in a hospice after his last round of chemo last week.

My parents have been taking him to and from his hospital appointments etc for the past year, as he doesn't drive. He is 34 and has had a myriad of health issues, including bladder/kidney problems, hip problems, depression etc for a long time. His lifestyle has not been great either, and he smokes, doesn't have the best diet and has got a job to focus on or give him motivation.

After I spoke to my mum tonight, she said the doctors have said it could go either way. She said they don't really know whether the cancer will go or get worse, but it's just a case of wait and see. He has lost a lot of weight recently, and has always been pretty skinny and sickly-looking, but she said if I saw him then I would be very shocked.

He is sleeping a lot and doesn't want to see many people at this moment in time. I'm not sure whether this is because of the chemo, or if generally his body has started to shut down.

I am SO. SCARED. My parents have been doing everything they possibly can to help him and ensure he gets the best possible treatment, but the prognosis isn't looking good.

I just don't know how to cope, deal with or emotionally react to any of this. I haven't been close to my brother for a number of years, but we see each other at Christmas etc. Last year, I was really upset to see him looking so weak and ill and I don't know if I would cope seeing him so ill, but equally I couldn't live with myself if I didn't make the effort to go and see him, tell him how much I loved him, and spend my time with him.

I feel so alone, and don't want the worst to happen, but am almost going into denial in a way, as I'm not sure how I will cope if it does. I had a mental breakdown 18 months ago after a head injury, post concussion syndrome and drug induced movement disorder so this would bring back a lot of pain and grief about all of that - and dealing with something like this isn't something I feel ready for after just about getting back into life after all my problems.

I know it could go either way, but the way my parents are describing things, it doesn't seem great. I don't want to think the worst and be bleak, but am not sure how I am going to cope when things happen and reality means he doesn't survive. My husband and daughter will be the only things that will get me through this.

Please help me - I just need some words of comfort at the moment. Sad

OP’s posts: |
WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Wed 17-May-17 22:02:33

Hi NooNoo

Sorry I don't have anything very useful to contribute, but you sound understandably very upset and I didn't want you to go unanswered flowers

I'm having chemo for bowel cancer at the moment. Mine is incurable, but treatable for the moment. It's not entirely clear from your post, but do you know what stage your brother's cancer is?

I know hospices are really scary, but he's in the right place. They are the experts in pain and symptom management so hopefully they can help him to feel as well as possible.

Try not to get ahead of yourself by thinking about what might happen, though I know that's difficult.

1234hello Thu 18-May-17 15:01:42

Hi NooNoo

So sorry to hear about your brother, I have sadly been down this path with a family member. Like Leslie said, hospices are abolsutley the best people on pain and symptom management and being care for by them does not always mean the end is near.

Your emotions sound normal and to be expected, frightening though it all is. Try to lean on support where you can it in friends and your husband.

Post again if it helps. Sending you strength x

1234hello Tue 23-May-17 22:33:06

How are things NooNoo?

sarahC40 Thu 06-Jul-17 21:42:02

Dear noonoo, I'm really sorry to hear about your brother and wish for peace and calm for you in this horrible situation. Can I gently suggest that hospice staff might be the people to lean on? In my experience, they were utterly kind and understood all of our concerns, but not only that, spent time talking to us about our feelings, worries and health problems. They put their arms around us all, figuratively but also literally at times. Wishing you well x

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