Receiving a cancer diagnosis can instantly turn someone’s world upside down. If that individual is someone you love, there are many ways you can proactively build a cancer support community that not only helps with coping, but also raises awareness about the disease and empowers others to reach out, too.
Today, we’re fighting a different kind of battle together.
In August 2007, my older brother was diagnosed with astrocytoma, a cancer of the brain located in his brain stem. It was too dangerous to be fully operable, and he’s been battling with it ever since. After going into remission for a few years, it started growing again. Two years ago, he moved in with me, and he’s been on chemotherapy ever since.
He’s been on chemo for way longer than anyone expected. It’s really a miracle he’s here at all. When he was diagnosed, they gave him only six months to live. But the chemo has started to affect his liver and kidneys. Recently, after he became severely dehydrated, we took him to the emergency room. An abscess that he had developed after a fall required a surgery, and that surgery has taken him back down to square one.
He’s been in long-term care since the surgery and will require constant home care when he comes home, and expenses are building up. He has good health insurance – thank god – though his former employer and through social security, but the bills coming in are twice what the insurance pays.
After our early years, I always looked up to my way smarter older brother. I’m sure he never expected to need my help. Now, we’re asking for your help, to get through this latest setback and see what the future holds, together.