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Should I follow through with current plan to leave for IL in 2 weeks to go see my brother?  

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  1. 1. Should I follow through with current plan to leave for IL in 2 weeks to go see my brother?

    • definiteley yes
    • definitely no

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Hello, My name is Janet, I live in Pensacola, FL. I was born and raised in Peoria, IL, where my big brother has resided all of his life. He is 17 years older than me, I am 49 (the baby), and he is 67, (the oldest of 5), and he has lung cancer.

I didn't find out about it until 2 evenings ago. He had been ill with pnuemonia, and I had this feeling things were not right. I called and asked my sister-in-law Patsy, if John was sick. She asked if I had talked to my other brother, I told her no and said I just had a feeling. I was hoping it was a silly fear. But to my sorrow I was right. I attended nursing school for 2 years and worked in hospitals as did Patsy. Now during this conversation, which felt more like I was interreagating a very tight lipped suspect. GOD! I can't even tell you what type or what stage his cancer is. Well. now you know why I am here. There is no one who knows any more than I do to call. They're 40 year old child, my nephew is coming home from Hawaii, I gathered sometime in June. This leaves me OUT, and hurting, and feeling more helpless than I ever have in my life. I lost my 54 year old brother almost 4 years ago. He had a coronary on the golf course. Died before any could get to the hospital. I only confide in 3 close friends, and my 2 sons. I told her I was going to be up there in a week or so. She told me not to come. She said he won't see you, or anyone else. I said well he'll just have to turn me away, because I am coming to the house. She told me to make sure and call first. DEAR GOD SOMEONE PLEASE THROW SOMETHING OUT HERE FOR ME. I 'M GOING MAD. Why doesn't he want anyone to see him? She said that. He is starting first chemo treatment this week. I can't imagine the fear he must feel. I've been sitting around trying to write to him, but I end up drawing his face. I feel that brings me a bit closer to him. I have this burning desire to just give him a hug. I am lost.

As far as his symptomns. (what I could find out anyway), it was when he had lost a good deal of weight, after his cardiologist suggested he do so. Everyone was bragging him up at all of the weight he had lost. Of course he smokes, like a chimney. Stopped for about 5 years after heart attack at 37. Our father died in sleep at 56, smoked also, his heart failed.

So as for John, Patsy said he was never the same after that weight lose. Now a year later, he has had pnuemonia for almost 3 months, I talked to her a little over 3 weeks ago, and she didn't know yet. So I am guessing that he was diagnosed about 3 weeks ago. So here I sit. Now that you have the whole novel, my main questions and plea for advice from you are......how far along do you think his cancer is, if you would phathom to guess by this bunch of bologna, I have for information?

..........what would you do?

I believe he wants to protect me from hurting for him, and coming ALL that way as Patsy put it. But their son hasn't been home for 8 years. Not for ANYTHING. But they have him coming this month. My oldest son found a rental car and we are ready to go. But I am so confused. I would say they are in great denial, but not when they are having son fly home. No Way. I am sorry for taking up so much space, and if anyone is even still reading this, I thank you. I think it helped a little just to write it. :oops:

Please don't be afraid to speak straight to me, that's exactly what I need. Not games. I am sure no one on this site is here to b.s. anyone else. God Bless you all in your plights, I will pray for you all on here. Thanks again, JhonSis :cry:

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I am so sorry about your brother and your frustration on getting information.

Can you talk to your brother directly? If you can't, maybe you could send him a card with a note asking him to call you.

This diagnosis is tough. Every person handles it differently. Your brother may just need some time to figure out how he is going to handle it.

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Ok I read your post, left it, came back, read it again, still don't know what to tell you. When first diagnosed I think we all go a little nuts, patients and caregivers, you just don't think straight. You've got 2 weeks and by then maybe some of the shock will have worn off and he'll be ready to talk to you or see you. If you read on here you will find many people wait awhile to tell family and loved ones.

You need to go and see him. If nothing else, while he's in chemo you can help out his wife with meals etc or stay with him so she can work (if she does). She now has to pick up what he can't do and believe me she will need you also. So tell them you are coming to help out, that's what family does. Wish you all the best.


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Dear Janet,

It's so hard to know exactly what to do. When my husband was diagnosed and underwent surgery, he wasn't crazy about seeing anyone (and didn't want ANYONE outside of the immediate family to know), but my grown kids did come for the surgery and his sister, nieces and nephews and other relatives did call -- for which he was surprisingly grateful. I think it reassured him that he really WAS loved. He is still somewhat negative about seeing people but actually is happy when it does happen.

Everyone, of course, is different but you have to be able to do what is right for yourself as well as him. I think Rochelle is right when she says that you have to do it -- that you've got a couple of weeks, and if you let them know now that you're coming, hell or high water, and that you're going to be there to help as well as to cheer him on in his recovery that may put it into a slightly different perspective for them.

Keep us posted and let us know what you decide and how it goes. You have our love and sympathy -- this is the time YOU need to be as brave and forthright as possible!


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Hi Janet,

Very sorry to hear about your situation. If it were I, I would call first and request that you would like to talk to you brother as soon as possible. That you are very concerned and worried. No one has a right not to allow you access to your brother, if that is the case. I’m sure your brother is still shell-shocked after being told and with everything else going on it’s a lot to take in. It will take time. I would not just go and show up at the door. Take it one step at a time. Stay calm and collective, but be firm. Not a John Wayne approach. You can also write your brother a letter expressing your concerns. Just find a quite moment, sit down and start. Sounds like it is a he said, she said situation. What’s done is done and it is time to move forward to bring everyone closer together in the most trying of times. As far as protecting you from what, you’re not a child? This is the real world, real life. I’m sure you must have seen a lot being a nurse. As for guessing on his diagnoses there is no way anyone can do that. I think you would regret regardless of the out come the rest of you life if you did not make every effort possible to see your brother. My thoughts and prayers are with your brother and you. Hope this helps. Peace, take care and God Bless.


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Some people can not stand having visitors come and look at them. There they sit with a diagnosis that usually is terminal and people look at them like they are on their way out.

Try writing him a letter. Tel him what he means to you and how much you just want to be with him now.

Let us know what type of cancer and treatment he is to have when you find out.

Love Cindy

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I have noticed over the last few months that a lot of the stories I hear on this site about men have them clamming up and not wanting to talk to anyone or let anyone know about their dx. My own private theory about this is that they are terrified, but society does not really allow men to be afraid.

You know: It's not manly to show fear and stiff upper lip and all that stuff they used to put men through before the 60's when we all started allowing men to have feelings and stuff. Most of these men grew up in that atmosphere you know. So here they are with the diagnosis from h*ll and their upbringing says you can't be scared your a man, or if you are don't let anyone know, so they withdraw into anger and refuse to let anyone know how much they are hurting. Your SIL is just trying to protect your brother as any wife would, she may be like other caregivers on this board, willing to talk about it and desperate for support, but under orders from her husband not to disscuss it with anyone, even you.

Just my theory you understand, I could be totally wrong. But I do know this Janet, follow your heart, if you err it will be in the name of love and that is always OK.



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Your poor brother must be terrified and overwhelmed right now. I would give him a little time to get a better hold on his emotions and then get right over there to see him. I'm sure he will not turn you away and will be pleased to see you. Paddy

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