I never imagined losing a brother to cancer would be very painful, let alone losing 2 brothers to this cruel and sickening disease - Cancer.
It has been a tumoltuous journey having beared witness to this dreaded disease take the life of my loved ones. I grew up in a small community in New Zealand that had a common history of Cancer, where at least 1 person from every house in that community had someone that died from Cancer. Studies had been conducted to determine the casue of this regular occurence with no conclusive evidence being announced.
My first brother (3rd oldest brother in my family) had been diagnosed with malignant medulloblastoma when he was 10 (I was 7) and had been battling a long and arduous 5 year battle with Cancer, where he went into remission intially and life was looking to go pretty well, until he went on a School trip and collapsed at the top of a mountain peak and was on life support. Thankfully he survived, but a lot of his cognitive processing was diminshed due to this.
In 2010, after having a fall and hitting his head in the bathrooom, we discovered that his Cancer had returned and had spread around his body. It was affecting his mental and emotional capacity, as he went from a quiet, to. A couple of months later, the angels came for him and that was a day that I will never forget. He was my best friend and at that time I was going through a rough time in High School as I hadn't been getting a long with people and had low self-esteem. It took em a while to accept that he was in a better place, but I still miss him everyday. He was my best friend and I am the person I am today from what he taught me. We took him home to New Zealand as he wished to lay with our people. From then I had hoped that it would never happen again, but I never expected it to come crawling back to take another member of my family.
Late last year my 2nd oldest brother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Stomach Cancer after months of Hospital visits, underdiagnosis of stomach ulcers that were deemed not cancerous by Doctors, until he stopped eating and dramatically lost a lot of weight. He finally went to Hospital, where the worst news was revealed. During that time he lost more weight and became a shadow of his former self. Throughout that short time, he managed to marry the love of his life - an enourmous feat considering he wasn't able to sit up for more than 5 minutes leading up to that.
He handled it tremendously, but it took a toll on him and a few weeks later the angels called him home, after him saying constantly that they weren't coming for him. It was sad that he didn't want to do any sort of treatment such as Chemo or Radiation because he thought he'd get a quality of life from inserting a stent in order for him to eat, as well as seeing what it did to my other brother (even though he got quite a bit more time to live from it). It didn't help at all and for the last months of his life, he was in agonizing pain and it was a very heartbreaking time for my family. He made it through the new year and we hoped that we could get through milestone after milestone but it didn't quite work out that way. We took him home to New Zealand, as that was one of his final wishes to lay with our people.
He had a very deep connection with our community, the deepest of all of my siblings so it was a very important moment for him. It was a very sombre but comforting experience to know our people would be taking care of him as our family lives in Australia. It comforts me to know that he's not suffering anymore from this dreaded curse, but it saddens me cause he had left his own family behind - 2 children not of his own but took under his wing and a loving wife. He had just gotten his life together and had passed away at the tender age of 29. 4 months away from his 30th Birthday.
I miss the both of them tremendously and I hope that I'm not next, because I have met the love of my life and I would feel horrible if I put her through that too. I just wanted to share my story, hoping to connect with others that feel the same pain that have experience a similar journey to myself, as well as offer and accept support about treatment, genetics, grieving, etc. Thank you for reading, god bless.
2/6/1993 - 23/7/2010
6/5/1987 - 6/1/2017
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.