CSN Login
Members Online: 6

You are here

September -- a vent in progress....

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

September started out pretty good. The more it's gone on, the worse it's gotten. Every day is a new challenge in courage and bravery.

I have a HUGE family. I have eight siblings and their spouses, more nieces and nephews that I can count. My nieces and nephews have kids of their own. We are also close. I mean close. We lived so far out of town when we were growing up, our siblings were also our best friends. We did everything together. Even in high school, we'd go to the same keggers, wore each others clothes, listened to the same music, rode back and forth to school because the bus didn't go out of town that far, we moved pipe together, we did chores together... you get the idea...

My sisters were here from Boise visiting the family over the Labor Day holiday. I love visiting with my sisters. On the ranch/farm, three siblings have set up homes. You can throw a dead rat from my mom's house and hit any one of their houses. Two-fold benefit... they keep an eye on my mom who is getting up in years and they also work on the farm/ranch. One sister married one of my brother Tom's best friend. We all decided to take a walk and go visit with Tom and his family. Tom has been married to his jr. high school sweetheart for over 30 years. He's 50. They were married about 2 weeks after high school graduation. Well, we walk into Tom's house and he's in his recliner. It hit me like a sledge hammer that he looked horribly gray. Oxygen deprived, blood deprived gray. He's coughing like the true smoker he is. When I asked him if he's seen a doctor, he said yep. They've given him antibiotics for his "bronchitis". Ok... did they do a chest x-ray? Nope. Just give him stronger and stronger antibiotics for his "bronchitis" that doesn't seem to clear up. This was Saturday. By Labor Day Monday, the pain is so bad in his ribcage he's thought he broke a rib coughing so hard. They go to the ER because his wife is insisting by now. The pain and cough is so bad, he has trouble catching his breath.

If you're still reading this diatribe, you've probably already guessed that they diagnosed him with lung cancer. Our happy close family is once again, threatened by the beast. This is the fifth time the beast has reared it's ugly head in my family. His cancer has already wrapped itself around his spine and ribs creating his horrible pain. Devastating. Two of my brothers feel it's best if I break this news to my mother. I opt out. I refuse. I had to tell her about my own. She had to hear about my nephews leukemia, and she fought along side my dad when he went through colon cancer. Cancer is an unwelcome foe in our family as well as yours. We hate it. All of us.

Treatment begins. One of Toms very good friends is a physician. In fact, this is the doc that did his colonoscopy. He's recommended an onc who is one of his colleagues. Well, this family has seen enough cancer that we're pretty picky about our oncs. I've not heard one good thing about this onc. I had two friends that went to this onc and they fired him. My brother wants to talk to the one his MD friend recommended. I'm like Switzerland -- I'm remaining neutral in this. It's his cancer and his choices. I just want him to be comfortable with the choices he's made. Secretly, I want him to see my onc. I want him to see the onc that's saved the life of my nephew, and me. The oncologist recommended to him by his MD friend is an ***. His bedside manner is horrible and he's given him no hope for survival. He's told him a few months is all he has left.

My secret wish for him to see my onc is slowly becoming more than a wish but a thought that nags at me all day, every day, because his onc has already ended his hope and life and he doesn't see any use in trying, yet I still say nothing. I want to respect his wishes. I cry in secret, not letting anyone see because this oncologist has given up hope on one of my best friends -- my brother. I pray and wish and want him to fight. He's more like my dad than I originally thought. My dad wasn't a fighter, either. My brother certainly isn't. My brother is as big as a grizzly bear, but a pacifist. He doesn't like confrontation, never has. I've seen this six foot 240 lb guy walk away from more fights because he hates fights.

I did remind my brother that it's OK to seek out a second opinion. Any physician who gets mad because you've sought a second opinion isn't worth a dang anyway. I guess he must have thought about it. His biggest objection to seeking out my onc is that he lives 25 miles away from him. This is actually quite trivial to those of us who don't care how far you have to travel. If there's a chance, you take it, right? Well, my nephews dad (one of our other brothers) encouraged him to see our onc. One thing I've always admired about my onc is that he doesn't throw out numbers. He doesn't tell you that you have three weeks or four months to live. He says we're gonna do our darnedest to kick this thing. He gives hope. He doesn't sugar coat things, but still, he gives hope. There are miracles that happen everyday and why can't his patients have them? True. Why can't they?

Tom calls another brother of ours. Wants him to call me and ask if we can both go to his appt with my onc. He's made an appt. My heart lifts. He's finally ready to seek treatment elsewhere. I've prayed like no woman has prayed before for this day. My wish is coming true. Now, my oncologist has the same sounding surname as my maiden name, just spelled differently. Mine is Dixon. His is Dickson. When I first went to my onc, we laughed. He said we're "family" and the only reason his name isn't spelled like ours is because 300 hundred years ago, his horse thieving relatives weren't that smart. We laugh! I had an appt at my oncs office yesterday for CEA and labs. My brothers appt was an hour later. They met me there, we left, got a sandwich and went back. Dr. Dickson walked in. Said us "Dixons" have to quit meeting this way. :)

Tom liked him immediately. Dr. Dickson explained to Tom why his cancer is inoperable. Something no other doctor (onc or radiologist) has explained to him or what laid ahead of him with treatment. Explained where the tumor was and could explain exactly why he was hurting so bad and why the radiation treatments he's had so far haven't let the pain up. This was all news to Tom as his other doc never even talked to him about treatments and what he could expect or why he was unoperable but just told him it was impossible. Tom's wife sighed and told Dr. Dickson, "Thank you -- nobody has ever explained why he wasn't operable or why his pain is still so severe." Tom looked at Dr. Dickson and exclaimed, "I'm going with you! Dr. S is an *** and his bedside manner sucks!" He didn't throw out numbers and he explained he's treated this same kind of cancer and he's had success of getting some them to remission. In others he says, the tumors might still be there, but they're stable. We all know stable is good. Stable means no new growth. He also explained to him that the chemo regimen Dr. S wanted to put him on wasn't what he would prescribe and why. Most of us know that Avastin can cause bleeding... Well, Toms tumor is very close to a big blood vessel. If that tumor breaks up, it could rip that vessel and cause hemorrhage and death. Why would Dr. S suggest Avastin? Tom didn't even know where his tumors were located until Dr. Dickson explained this all to him.

Tom finally has hope. I could see a whole attitude change when we left.

I didn't post this so the naysayers could turn it around and say he can still lose his life. I'm not stupid and this ain't my first rodeo. I know he can -- but I also know that he's also in the best hands, and if he does die because of this cancer, I'll know they tried everything they could and that Tom was comfortable with his choices. My hope is that I'll have one of my best friends around for a long time.

Now, if I can just keep my mother out of the hospital... But that's another story.

Lori-S's picture
Lori-S
Posts: 1287
Joined: Sep 2010

So sorry your family is going through this again. It's so tough when one family gets hit so hard. I will be praying that all goes as well as possible with him and that you are given the strength and guidence to help where needed.

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks. I hate cancer. We all do, but I really loathe the beast. It's put our family through hell.

I really have hope that my onc (and his now) will work wonders.

Like Dr. D said, "Miracles happen every day in this office. Why can't you be one of them?"

Where some of us see a hopeless end, others see endless hope. I'm in the latter.

Love and Hugs,

Holly

Kerry S's picture
Kerry S
Posts: 607
Joined: Dec 2009

Holly darlin,
That was a damn good vent. You have a lot to vent about. Makes me appreciate that my problems are small.

In my family there are 37 folks from my grandmothers down to my kids. 7 got cancer but only 2 have croaked from it. We are a stubborn group. You will get that spunk you have in your brother.

Kerry

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

I am still amazed by the change in his attitude after talking to Dr. D. I hope he keeps that fight up!!

Thanks Kerry!

Love always,

Holly

Patteee's picture
Patteee
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

Oh Holly
I know all about what your brother found in your oncologist. I found the exact same thing in my surgeon. It makes a HUGE difference! I had so much PEACE under her care- I knew, just as you have found out, that I could move forward knowing in my heart I was under the best care possible. That no matter what happens, your brother is being treated as precious, that his being and life and living DO MATTER.
Best to you and your family.

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

Isn't it a wonderful feeling, Pattee? He not only treats us medically, but holistically! So important.

That no matter what happens, your brother is being treated as precious, that his being and life and living DO MATTER.

I love and thanks for this... He is precious. To me and the rest of the family.

PGLGreg's picture
PGLGreg
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I think you did a really good thing. It's an important victory.

--Greg

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

Your brother knows what a Godsend you have been to him...Its been that way all of ya'lls life to be there for each other, why would it change now...Thats a loving family you have, protect it as best you can.........Love to you and yours, Buzz

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

Maybe this is what the Big Man had in mind... I don't always understand His plan, but he always has one.

I love my family and it's so cool that our in-laws are like siblings as well. I love them all. I would go to hell and back for any one of my family members.

Love to you, Buzz...

I hope you're doing better. I think of you often and hope you're recovering.

Holly

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

I don't think I did anything. I'm just glad he decided to go.

I think he'd already had his mind set that he WASN'T going to like Dr. D. I think he was just doing this to shut the rest of the family up. I'm so glad that he changed his mind. :)

Love and hugs.

Holly

AnneCan
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

You have made an amazing difference for your brother. Hope is very important + you have helped him by guiding him to a professional who can help give him that. No one knows for sure what will happen with any of us. I remember talking to the social worker @ the hospital after I was diagnosed + I asked her if she thought I could be in the % that made it. She replied "Yes I do." And she added that sometimes the people that they are surprised by some of the long term survivors". I am glad your brother is away from an onc who would take away his hope + is now with someone so encouraging - kind of getting out of a bad marriage + into a good relationship. I want to wish your brother all the best. Good work Holly!

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

Like I said before, I don't think I did anything but tell him it's OK to get a second opinion. Without hope, there is abyss. Nothing.

I'm not sure what's going to happen, and even if the day comes this cancer will take his life, I know he'll have had the best care and the best doctor (in my eyes, anyway) that he could get and that he was comfortable with his choices.

Thanks Anne.... I couldn't have survived this without hope.

I cried briefly over my diagnosis... I don't think I've cried like this except for three years ago when my nephew was dx with leukemia. It's so much easier to have the disease myself than to see someone I love have it. :)

Love and Hugs,

Holly

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Holly,

Your family has certainly been visited by cancer way too many times, but I think your story is also a story of great love and strength. Your brother is so fortunate to have you as his advocate.

I'll be praying for great results for your brother.

*hugs*
Gail

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

Prayers really do work!

Cancer is such an unwanted visitor... why can't it just go away, on it's own, and die?

Sounds harsh doesn't it? But still, I wish it would!!

Love always,

Holly

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3346
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Holly,

My dear you and your family have had a hard time with this disease that is for sure.

I admire your ability to be like 'Switzerland', I am not sure I could do so well.

I am glad that your brother now has hope. That is so important for us all.

Tell your brother that all those fights he walked away from he must have been storing up for his fight now against cancer.

May you and your entire family have better days and many more of them.

Hugs,

Marie who loves kitties

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

I laughed when my nephew's mother (the one with leukemia) told him to go see Dr. D. She was just mad he was so stubborn.

It's hard to remain neutral, but I thought of how I'd feel if someone was pressuring me to go see someone I didn't want to, even though it might be in my best interest.

I want us all to grow old. The thoughts of losing a sibling is a killer.

Love and Hugs,

Holly

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

...of the Holly steamroller, or I would have been hurt, LOL:)

That was a real wind-up, Holly. I know to stay on your good side as much as I can:)

I am glad your brother is seeking help from another onc. Warms my heart to see brother and sisters caring and loving each other - what I would not give to have my sister back with me for a day:(

You take care!

-Craig

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

I'm feeling much better about things now. :)

Our families mean so much to us, don't they?

I'm still proud to call them my best friends.

You take care, Craig...

I've been thinking about you every day, too.

Love you my friend...

Holly

coolvdub's picture
coolvdub
Posts: 410
Joined: Aug 2009

Holly,

Thanks to you your brother now has hope and a real understanding of what lies ahead. When I first started reading what you wrote, I was thinking, kick him in the rear and get him to go. Have to say I'm glad you didn't need to. Your family has really bourne more than most when it comes to this #*%@ cancer. I'm sure your brother knows what a good sister he has, but let me say it. Good job Sis.

Don

pepebcn's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

at least , give much more comfort to your brother life ,good job!,your Onc seems a great guy, seems is good to have a Dix/ckson near you if you get the bug ! haha.
Hugs to all the Dix/ckson family .

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

He's just wonderful. He doesn't have an egotistical bone in his body.

Thanks for the Hugs, Pepe.... We can ALWAYS use them.

Love and Hugs to you and yours,

Holly

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

Stubborn is what he is. I think he just wanted to take the easy way out. Do what he's told instead of doing what's best for him. I really do think he went to my onc only to shut the rest of the family up.

I don't know if he knows how much his family loves him, but I do know how much he loves his family. I'm just glad he went.

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

When I read this, I just kept thinking wow, wow, and wow. You and your family have been through so much.
I just so happy you got your "secret wish" and your brother is now with your onc!!!
Adding him to my list of praying for, because I want you to have one of your best friends around you for a long time too.
You keep on going girl, I'm proud of you!!!
Winter Marie

Erinb
Posts: 295
Joined: Apr 2010

I am sorry you have to see your brother go through this, but your oncologist seems like a great doctor. A doctor who who knows his patients and takes the time to look at their history. Isn't it amazing that there was such a difference in treatment options? I'm glad your brother took your advice! Now I'm wondering...should my husband take Avastin? His cancer is located along the portal vein. Thanks for the info!
Erin

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

He's so wonderful. I've always thought so, even from the first.

You know what, Erin? I'd sure question your onc about taking Avastin and having cancer so close to a blood vessel. It's kinda common sense. I'm curious to see what his/her answer would be. :)

Good luck and please take good care of him. It's so hard being a caregiver!

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

was my siblings' secret wishes as well. I just can't believe how relieved I feel knowing he isn't going to the other onc.

I almost felt like a hypocrite. I didn't seek a second opinion, but who was I going to go to? The onc with the bad reputation? To Huntsmans in Salt Lake City when my own oncs were from Huntsmans and consult with them daily? Nope... I don't feel like a hypocrite. I guess I was just being overprotective and motherly.

Thanks for adding him to your prayer list.

Subscribe to Comments for "September -- a vent in progress...."