Warning: this post is not at all on topic and not very pleasant. I just need somewhere to vent and this is where I do it. You may prefer to go visit with some of my friends in the blog roll to the left.
First I'd like to thank everyone for all the support, prayers and emails. They are so greatly appreciated. I'm packed and will soon be on the road to Virginia to see my brother and his family. Things have been a whirlwind with his condition changing almost hourly it seems.
We have a diagnosis and it's not good. He has Pancreatic Cancer, stage 3 or maybe 4. We will know more for sure after the next MRI to check for metastases. Either way, it's not good. The tumor has invaded his arteries and veins and is inoperable. The prognosis is a matter of weeks, or if we get lucky, maybe months.
The doctors haven't actually told them that yet, but with my medical knowledge and what we have been told, I know. I am trying to hang on to the last little shred of hope that he will be in the less then 5% of people who beat this diagnosis, but that's been very difficult for me.
I feel as if I am stuck in a bad nightmare and I can't wake up. Because of my 30+ years working in the medical field my family always looks to me to explain things in plain language. I haven't had the courage yet to explain it all too them. I feel like I owe it to my brother and his wife to make sure they understand first, and I refuse to do that until I'm with them. Then we will have to tell their boys, I don't know how I am gonna be able to do that. The youngest is only 12. How do you tell a 12 year old boy who's father has been absent for large portions of his life, due to deployments to war, that his father may die, very soon?
My family up here where I live are either firmly in denial, or creating drama because they can't quite get that this isn't about THEM. Makes me want to slap all of them. For Musicman and I this brings up not only the pain of possibly losing my brother, but some very bad memories. This is almost the exact same scenario in which we lost his mother. She was admitted to the hospital with vague pains, diagnosed with widespread cancer and passed 6 weeks later. She never made it back home. We know exactly what they are facing and it's going to be brutal for everyone.
My goal now is to get to my brother and hope we can get him stable enough to go home. Right now, that's looking very doubtful. He is on a pain pump and a feeding tube. He is very weak and they were hoping to get him more stable, then do surgery. They can not remove the tumor but are going to try and bypass it so he can eat again. The surgery was supposed to be tomorrow or the next day, but he's not tolerating the tube feeding and will go into surgery later today. If he makes it through that, we might have a chance of getting him home.
At some point he will start chemotherapy, with the goal of shrinking the tumor enough to relieve some of his pain and maybe give him a few more weeks. That is if once he knows and understands, he doesn't give up. He's young, only 39, he has access to some very good doctors, if he fights, he might make it. We just gotta convince him of that and get him to fight with us. If we can, I'd like to try and get him into a clinical trial, that's his best bet for surviving this.
As things stand right now, I will be coming back home late Saturday. We both have to go back to work on Monday. I'm hoping to have a concrete plan of action for moving forward before we have to come back. I'm very much hoping to wake up soon from this nightmare and having some good news to share. Maybe even something on topic occasionally.
If you've read this far, thank you. If you take anything from this post, let it be this: live every day like it's your last. Be generous in giving your love and open to receiving love, that's really the only thing in life that really matters.