You bring up an important point in describing cancer as affecting the entire family. I agree.
My brother was 16 years of age when he was diagnosed with a Grade IV glioblastoma multiforma (the same tumor type that was diagnosed in Senator John McCain). I was 12 years of age. The year was 1984. The many advances of CT scans, MRI imaging and complex understandings of cell mutations were yet to be discovered. My brother had an incomplete resection of the tumor, which was less a solid mass and more like a wispy sider’s web laced through his parietal-temporal lobe. Chemotherapy was not an option as there were no agents that could cross the protective blood-brain barrier. My brother was given a 3-4 month life span.
I internalized much of my brother’s harrowing experience. My parents included me in their discussions and decisions. It was overwhelming for me to process.
The experience left me with significant survivor’s guilt. I was the healthy sibling as my brother languished. I would have gladly traded places with him to take away his pain. I later expressed my internal turmoil as an eating disorder/anorexia. Restricting food helped me to numb my own pain.
My brother survived his grave diagnosis. He is a genuine miracle. He is alive today and lives a life with some residual neurological effects but overall a good life. It is surmised that his immune system identified and eradicated his brain tumor, a living example of the principle of today’s science surrounding immunotherapy.
My brother’s diagnosis had a profound effect on my life. The continual stress left its mark on my health.
Exaussie, my thoughts are with you on this painful anniversary. I appreciate your comments and opening of awareness of cancer’s outreaching effects on the family as a unit. Your care and love for each of your children is obvious and heartfelt. The love of a mother is like no other.
Dear friend to Bella Piazza, former Colon Club member (NWGirl).
I have a permanent ileostomy and offer advice on living with an ostomy - in loving remembrance of Bella
I am on Palliative Care for broad endocrine failure + Addison's disease + osteonecrosis of both hips/jaw + immunosuppression. I live a simple life due to frail health.