Thursday, March 15, 2018

From Bad to Better to Worse

As you know, I traveled to Ohio in a hurry. My brother was given a short time to live with the return of <inoperable> cancer in his liver and stomach. Fortunately, by the time I arrived, the doctors (and insurance) turned to immunotherapy treatment. This could possibly shrink the cancers, giving Jamie more life to live. He had his first treatment on Friday, March 2nd.

For the next two weeks I watched my brother's personality slipping away. Although his first treatment of immunotherapy was behind him, he was getting sicker and feeling more pain. My goofball brother was fading. Most days he couldn't get out of bed. When he could, he was very uncomfortable, weak, and feverish.
We actually discovered that these were symptoms of the treatment though ~ flu like symptoms ~ and it's all part of his immune system fighting the cancer. Jamie still had hope so I did too.

After a scare with my grandfather as well, which he is now stabilizing/recovering at SpringMeade Health Center (hopefully for the short term)... I had a decision to make to return on my scheduled date (March 11th) or extend. I had a feeling to stay but couldn't tell if it was my anxiety trying to avoid the flight/travel or my instinct telling me not to go quite yet. 3 weeks away from your daily life is a long time. Maybe not in the big picture, but for sure in the now.

Everyone had a heartbeat, everyone seemed to be on a path to recovery... so I returned.
And now I'm kicking myself.

Jamie was admitted to the James again last night. The pain was overwhelming. He said it felt like his liver was going to explode. And he had extreme shortness of breath. CT scans have revealed that the cancer has progressed. The immunotherapy seemed so promising and his LDH levels even went down from 3800 to 2400 (normal is 140 btw) but there are even more masses in his liver and in his lungs now too.

He's on oxygen to help the labored breathing, and lots of pain meds. The goal is comfort care now.
He has signed a DNR and hopefully will go home once his pain meds are stabilized.
But from there, it's all about comfort; no pain allowed.
He's aware that he's dying; and my God that is a painful thought to process. He's drugged to the max though. I haven't gotten to talk to him but mom is still there with him (and of course April) and I'm planning my return.

Please just say a quick prayer or send your power in to the universe.
Healing isn't an option anymore, but just for painless final days.

You know what hurts the most? That he's laying there facing the worst thing any person could ever face. He's been fighting relentless cancer and now death is standing there face to face.
How he's been able to control that fear is truly beyond me.
He's laying there knowing he's going to die. Waiting?
Knowing the cancer is inside robbing him of life.
That destroys me.

I am so sorry for him. It's so unfair. It's such bullshit. He doesn't deserve to die like this. I'm so sorry Jamie. I'm so sorry.

1 comment:

  1. No, it’s not fair at all. I’ve been in this situation, as a young teen, with my father. He was one of the sweetest, most caring men that I’ve ever known, and never knew a stranger. I’m so sorry that your brother is facing this. I wish that I had the power to take away the pain and fear that your family is feeling right now. I know there is nothing that I can say that will resolve this for you. But I am truly sorry. Your brother, you, and the rest of your family is in my prayers. ������

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