Monday, April 29, 2019

Phone call

August 2017
My brother phoned me yesterday. Usually we only phone on birthdays and Christmas despite good intentions to do better than that. It was not good news.

He started by describing surgery on his wrist for a longstanding problem that had worsened in recent years, we had talked about this upcoming surgery on our birthdays (two days apart in early April) and so I thought he was calling to talk about the results.

Pre-surgery he was required to do a regular physical check-up, and it turned out that in his medical records was a 5-year-old diagnosis of liver cancer. Somehow that report was overlooked at the time. My brother has his suspicions about how that happened and it pretty much amounts to grounds for suing somebody, but that is kind of beside the point now.

At the time of the diagnosis the cancer was operable, but if nothing was done he had a prognosis of 18 months to live. Five years ago. Now it is not operable. He will do chemo for it but the prognosis is considerably dimmer than 18 months even with the chemo.

He has been healthy as a horse the past five years. He quit drinking, he ran, he lost a bunch of excess weight, he renovated his house and built a monster workshop/garage/guest apartment pretty much by himself. He still has no symptoms.

I'm kind of stunned. His first appointment with an oncologist is after I get back from kayaking. He is my youngest brother and I don't want him to die. I wasn't planning to go out west this year but maybe I should.


CheerfulMonk said...

I'm so sorry!

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh Annie, that is dreadful news, I am sorry. My mother's cancer diagnosis was missed too so I can relate. A time of grief and terror.