Cancer is destroying my family - help

New Contributor

Cancer is destroying my family - help

My brother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer 4 years ago. He is still alive today but physically and emotionally diminished by all the chemo and therapies he has received. Every month, we discover new metastasis. The recent treatments in his brain have left him half paralysed, with no indication as to whether or not this can improve.


After 4 years of struggle, the damage is total. I can just see the situation is destroying my entire family, day after day. I am posting because today I need help to support him and the rest of my family.


I live in Australia and my family, including my brother, is in France. I am an expat for more than 12yrs, my life is here. I have been coming back to France twice a year since his disease, unfortunately with Covid-19 travel from Australia is near impossible. I call my mother nearly every day. We do facetime. But this is not enough. Today my mother screamed at me on the phone as to how much pain this was for her.


Talking to my brother, whom I used to be close to, is extremely difficult. He has so much anger, pain and suffering within him, it is extremely hard to just listen. I have learnt to do so (listening) but he’s often aggressive at me. “you don’t care”. He has been extremely harsh since the beginning his disease. 


I am undeniably in pain for my family, while fighting to continue build my life as a 35 woman. How can I provide better support to them? Why is he upset at me – is this legit, or a psychological side of the disease? What can I do differently to help?


I hope to receive support and guidance on this forum. We used to be such a close family. My parents gave us both all the love that can possibly be given. I need a little light.

Super Contributor

Re: Cancer is destroying my family - help

Hi @Mary_85,
What an awful situation. I actually think your brother is jealous. You have a life; he has cancer, so he takes it out on you. It's not fair or right. Your family can't expect you to give up your life to go back & look after him. That wouldn't be fair on you. When your brother dies, your life goes on. If you were to throw away your career here to go back & care for him, what would you have left?
I think the whole family could do with some counselling, individually as well as a group. It would probably help a great deal. Its not your fault he is sick, but you're not there to help, so they are taking out their anger on you.
There's not alot you can do except try to talk to your brother, about his treatment as well as general stuff. Try to keep it positive - if he was diagnosed as terminal, yet he's still alive, he must have a good fighting spirit. I know sometimes its really hard. When I was younger, my eldest sister was suffering from breast cancer & she would never talk about it, not even with her children. So each time I was on the phone with her I would ask her direct questions about it, her treatment etc. She said little bits but mainly tried to avoid the topic. You can only do so much tho. At least you are still there for him & that is wonderful. Dont be hard on yourself for not actually being there. You have a life to lead.

Take care

New Contributor

Re: Cancer is destroying my family - help

Budgie, thank you very much for the response. This is helping.
This gives me a new perspective which I will reflect on.
Thank you again for responding.
Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer is destroying my family - help

Hi there,

I’m new to this forum and very new to this whole cancer thing (my mum just got diagnosed this week) so I don’t know what advice I can give as this is so new to me. 
I do know that cancer can bring out so many emotions out of you though. Your brother has fought such a long battle so while he’s mad and frustrated, I’m sure it’s not intended to be directed at you. It sounds like you have been doing an amazing job and staying very strong for a long time. Unfortunately COVID makes this whole thing so much harder too. My father in law also had cancer and I remember feeling emotionally and physically drained during that time so I understand to some degree how you must be feeling. I’m sorry you and your family are going through this and I’m sorry if my words don’t bring much comfort. It sounds like you’ve been doing everything you can to support the family. Make sure you are kind to yourself. Cancer sucks 

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