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What would you do?
16 Posts

Cancer has lived with me for 8 years, in 2018 I spent 9 months in hospital, critical condition 3 times from meningitis. My oldest sibling has not contacted me in any way at all not even asking my other siblings how I was doing the whole time. Now he has been diagnosed with a untreatable cancer, I know what he is going through but I can’t help him. I want to help or should I even try to help? damned if I do damned if I don’t

16 Replies
1207 Posts

@H1A2N3 What would you like to do ? And is there a way to make it possible ? Maybe if u miss your brother with all that u have been through . It should make u feel stronger and nothing . now is impossible .

Or are u worried about mortality Now ?
I am so sorry I never had a sibling brother but known many to fill that gap I refer you to contact @West Coast Sailor he would understand here as a member .
I am going to say to you “ I am so sorry “ for 8 years + 9 mth in hospital , with cancer and meningitis 3 Xs ! .. . Grasp your hand across this text , with a squeeze and smile . “ 😊 Your R so brave , so courageous, without your brother ! “

At least someone other then medical staff , must of cared about you ?! Invite him home for coffee or smoothie or out in public sorry . Maybe hosp cafeteria or bring him one just some suggestions . Eh , ask him if he wants something stronger he likes : a beer in a bar should surprise him delightfully LoL ! Sure he will be glad to hear this of his sister , and alive still !
Your a force to be reckoned with !

Or get someone who is a mediator type , to contact him for you . To meet somewhere ?
You have allowed enough time to lick your wounds . Now get up do something !
I am now reunited with my daughters and NED !

I told my oncologist I missed him after he went away on a sabbatical . He was tender , he demonstrated what felt like genuine care , he did not hurt me or if I did he noticed and said sorry . All bc he gave me something missing compassionate love it felt like , I did not want to believe ,being hurt too much for too long . .. I have heard here how others are treated compassionately too , like your the only one that matters .

And then there is the stuff of life !

All I know is I worked too d*** hard in grief to lose any connection with my own family as hard as it was then , and grevious for me . Time after time hurt . The estrangement abondent of their father, my spouse , my love taken advantage of . And what happened being all alone, by my own family kids eventually and bc of the choice direction the other parent made to hurt and what he wrote for our child to read before going to school , left on the kitchen table .

It hurts doesn’t it ! 🤦‍♀️ And when your own young adult child says, I am so sad to be with you , way back then . Family meant every thing to me and still does . Except for their dad we are all re-united together now . Sometimes some things are too hard to be true , bad or good . But if it is constantly hurtful , bad , then you need help , counselling when everyone else u loved leaves , or gone and has come together !
When really you are so brave maybe numbed , to feel anymore . People are here to help you In just a little chat . I am so very sorry you have a form of Leukemia and your own brother now with cancer . Right @supersu , @Brighty and @S2020

They, my girls , were a tremendous help now with cancer . I pray and wish the same love and caring with family , friends and neighbours too for others, as you . And it is beginning to happen all over these positives to share even with strangers , the kindness , goodness , small celebrations is contagious ! Does he like to be in a party atmosphere !

Even though at their weddings he pushed me away ! Last week the cleaning lady I had just blasted angry at me , in the car garage , when coming home . And misunderstood something heard wrong busy cleaning and wanting money & very upset and quit !
Even though I had compassion for her ,knowing she shared some other stressors . I was stunned , how dare she use me for her anger ,right in my face good thing I was sitting . Oh this is wrong on so many levels having bonused her . She knew I had just came into remission . I had low energy and other problems still to mend . I did not need that . With cancer you do not need to wallow in the drama .
You are in a state of Grace , excitement , confusion lifting , lighter , after all the rollercoaster 🎢 post cancer whirlwind discovery process . Even though some doctors tells another member here , no your still METs , MBC it never leaves , your dieing or should be soon ! There no cure .
Yes , we call it grace, from my Faith friends . It’s amazing what you have been through and yet empathize . Because others are still living with cancer too and some now just carrying on , work is better the;think about it , but finished with treatments . They know the spread , here as family caregiving . And they know the doom and gloom , the hurts ,the suffocation , living as family caring for each other too with cancer and being so young I would cry , and sink low .

Find out persist , as u have with cancer , your still a champion !
A friend .

90 Posts

@H1A2N3 I have adopted an attitude of I get to do whatever I want since my diagnosis. Having said that I don’t think we ever take a wrong path when led by an open heart. One of my goals in this time left to me is to heal old wounds. Not for what it does for others as much as what it does for me.

Cynthia Mac
3876 Posts
@H1A2N3‍ , This is a tough one to answer. For one, I don’t know the circumstances under which you and your eldest sibling stopped communicating (and I’m not asking). I also don’t know what his desire would be. Would he want you to contact him? What about your siblings? Are they as neutral as Switzerland, or have they entrenched themselves in one camp or the other? (But, even Switzerland has taken a side in the Ukraine/ Russia conflict!)

There’s a philosophy that we choose our parents, but in my opinion, that does not mean we also choose our siblings. The life lessons our parents dole out on us to share toys and be good to one another don’t necessarily need to extend into adulthood, particularly in situations where there is toxicity or abuse.

If I thought there was a good chance my sibling truly wanted to mend fences and have me back in their life, I would reach out to another sibling and offer the olive branch to be passed along. If I was 75% or more sure that branch would be swatted away like a cat having a hissy fit, I would keep my distance, but reach out to my siblings for distanced updates. If there was a situation between the two of you where one was an abuser, I would maintain absolutely no contact.

If you still want to help, you can send flowers or pizza - anonymously or not. #familydynamics #estrangement
Runner Girl
2730 Posts

Hello @H1A2N3

I'm sorry that you've had such a go with cancer and that your oldest sibling cut ties with you. Perhaps he did so out of fear of his own mortality. Not a great excuse, especially for you going thru it. I understand your catch-22 now in reaching out to him now that he has received a cancer diagnosis.

If it was me, I'd send him a note and say: Brother (replace with his name) I am sad to learn that you have received a cancer diagnosis, if you would like to chat I am available to you at any time. You know that I've been dealing with cancer for quite some time and I'm willing to share my experience, if you are interested.

This leaves the door open to him, it's his move, you've done all you can.

I am the oldest child, the middle two kids passed years ago, my youngest brother told me that I shouldn't have had treatment. He claims not to believe in it - yet he had back surgery to relieve his pain. We don't speak much, which is sad because the rest of our family is gone. But I won't be made to feel bad because I fought for my life.

I hope you reach out and open the door, let him decide if he will walk thru or close it.

Runner Girl

1108 Posts


oh boy…this is a doozy!

how painful was it for you when your sibling didn't acknowledge you or seem to care about your diagnosis???
I speak from direct experience….it hurts big time #amiright?

but now the tables are turned. the shoe is on the other foot. karma has come to call.

ugh….I think @Cynthia Mac & @Runner Girl & @Mosi have given you beautiful suggestions. I hope when my turn comes I will be the ‘bigger’ person and have some love in my heart and forgive my person's seemingly heartless behaviour.
right now I think I am more in the camp - you give what you get….

whatever you do; it will be the right thing.
know that you are not alone….not every cancer story is like a made for TV movie. real life problems do not go away with a cancer diagnosis.

hugs from over here where the family joke is: ‘we put the ’fun' in dysfunctional.
#funny #notfunny #realtalk


#cancerinthefamily #estranged #realtalkaboutcancer


Family dynamics and relationships sure aren't for the faint of heart. I'm glad you posted as you can see you're not alone. I enjoyed reading the different perspectives in this thread.

My approach would be to do what will you make you feel good at the end of the day. In a year from now looking back will you feel regret if you don't reach out? Can you handle the possibility that you may reach out and hear nothing back? Do what brings you peace.

Let us know how it goes,


4 Posts

@H1A2N3 Hi,I am so sorry to hear what you are going through.I have had a similar experience-hodgkins and non hodgkins lymphoma, sepsis,etc. I have come to the sad realization that I dont seem to have any friends, no one seems to care, in fact it was brought to my attention, that people were saying that I was dead. I felt like taking out a newspaper ad saying that the rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated. Thankfully, my sisters are supportive.I have not heard from my brother. I tried to reach out,but to no avail.I guess I will try again,but I think people are afraid to contact because of their own fears.I have found this to be a sad cold fact of life,and feel upset and depressed,but the few people I have,I really appreciate.I am seding hugs and positive thoughts to you and hope that you have a person to turn to.

110 Posts
H1A2N3‍ Families. Oh boy. I've had some troubles with mine too and it has been very difficult. It made caring for my mom so much harder, and it was already so painful! I'd reach out, and have low expectations. Who knows if he will reply? That's his decision. It's hard to take the higher road and there's likely no prize for doing so but I think you'd feel better knowing that you tried. Later, if you connect, you can try and sort out the hurt feelings and anger.

Take care of you.
1207 Posts

Runner Girl ; I am sorry to have lost siblings , rest of your family, I always think of what u shared about your mum . And pray your baby brother will reach out .

1207 Posts

Huh isn’t it you get what u give .? No it’s not eye for eye .You just keep giving and FORGIVING helps you to carry on .

1207 Posts

I do not have siblings and what is it with males , pride , or not interested to dwell on stuff like sickness etc or even cleaning the house or dishes ?
Or stay out it angry ! We have to leave it or find a way to connect with other we love as family contacting him .

May be it makes them feel worse to enter in any conversations of sharing feelings Ie weakness . They want to forget ! Leave them alone to handle their wounds .

11 Posts

I would do the same send a card and a short note and leave it at that. Then the ball is back in his court.

22 Posts

understandable … how about reaching out when and if you do feel like it (don't force yourself though). And if the response turns out negative – feel good that you had done your part! good luck & take care !

96 Posts

Take the higher ground. Increasingly, research is showing that those who help others live longer.

90 Posts

@supersu and @H1A2N3

Once again, Su, a response full of caring and humor. I always look forward to your input into discussions.
I agree that whatever you decide will be right for you. I have really grappled with friends or family that have dropped off because of my diagnosis. Hard not to personalize that rejection. I am also surprised at how many people have been there for me and the lengths they go to for my comfort. I know I am not always easy to give to as it highlights my incompetence. These people have taught me so much about reaching out with no expectation of gratitude or reciprocity. Now that’s love!!

16 Posts

Thanks to everyone for your comments, guidance and wisdom. I will make myself available if needed.

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