One of my b-i-l's has a brain tumor

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Life is so strange. I was convinced that my dad would die first, then my cousin P, and then it was up for grabs between the cousins, and one of my b-i-ls, who was diagnosis'd with-Parkinson's last yr.

    A few wks ago, one of my older sisters emailed all of us to tell us that her husband had been diagnosis'd with-lung cancer and was having surgery. Frankly, it was no surprise. B was a very heavy smoker for years, and when we stayed at their house, he would wake up every morning and hack his lungs out. It was so gross.
    He quit smoking about 6 yrs ago. Too late.
    He is about 75 (my sister is 62).
    He had laparoscopic surgery and it went very well. He was afraid they wouldn't be able to access the area and would have to break his ribs.

    During the ensuing days/weeks, he was acting strangely, having huge anger issues and out-of-proportion reactions (although he was always rough and tough, a hard drinker, smoker, cattle rancher) but this was even more outrageous, plus, he was having trouble with-his right arm and leg. After reading all the notes on this board for so many yrs, I thought, "Seizure," and the next sentence in the email said "Focal seizure."

    My sister finally convinced him to go to the ER two days ago, where he was diagnosis'd with-a brain tumor.
    My first thought was, so soon after lung cancer? It's got to be connected. And so it is.

    It mestastacized to his brain, the surgery went longer than expected, and I don't know what the dr told them other than the immediate post-op conversation, but they really like him and trust him. They are in a brand new hospital out West, very modern philosophy--even allowed my sister to bring in one of their dogs to cheer up B.
    I Googled his type of cancer and the prognosis looks grim. Long shot--14 mo's. Short term--2 mo's. So I'm guessing he's got until spring.
    The other thing I noticed was that for his type of cancer, radiation only adds 2 mo's to the typical pt's lifespan. Not sure I'd want to go through that. My guess is that he votes, "No."

    The good news is that right out of surgery, he had regained some movement and control of his right arm and leg. I am hoping that he also regains the "good" parts of his personality so my sister can have some good times with-him at the end. She has had a very hard life with-him. Either way, she is going to have one h*ll of a grieving process.

    She doesn't want any phonecalls, so another sister, who is living there, is fielding the calls and emails, while A & B have their private time to talk and make decisions. I'm mailing a card, note, and small pkg, which she can open when she feels up to it.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Such a good sister. I am sorry for her. It will be a tough road. I hope his passing process allows them time to say what they need to say and he has as much peace and as little pain as possible.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That is sad. My father was a lifelong smoker but quit in 1990, the year they dxd him with emphysema. In 2010 he was dxd with lung cancer. From what I was told, he was dxd in Feb but I wasnt told until almost April. He did all the radiation and medication they advised all spring and summer. The decision that was going to be coming was chemo and my step-mom and I were going to plead with my father to say no. Well...cancer had its own way and took that decision out of our hands. Personally I think the radiation did more harm than good. But he didnt last a year from diagnosis to the end.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry Janet.
    But that makes sense, about the radiation possibly doing more harm. Same with-chemo. It really depends upon the type of cancer, and too many doctors use it carte blanche.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Aw, that's so sad, I feel for your sister. Hugs to you and yours.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I am so dad died 9 months ago from a brain tumor. There is little drugs can do for this. Have they talked about surgery to remove it?
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Terry, so sorry to hear this. Sounds like you have a supportive family with one sister moving in and allowing them to have time together with no distractions. Prayers and hugs.

  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm so sorry to hear such grim news. I hope his moods stabilize so that his family can enjoy some quality time with him. ((((Hugs))))
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.
    Steely, yes, they removed the tumor yesterday and that's how they discovered that it was malignant. He has already regained some use of his rt arm and leg. I am hoping that he regains some of his old personality, whatever it is. I mean, he's always been a tough rancher, but you can still be rugged and nice. I don't know how much of this whole thing was "him," and how much is tumor. If that makes sense.
    I have no idea what their plans are. I just wait for email updates. My sister wants to spend all of her time alone with-him, or sleeping, which is understandable.
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Tragic. What kind of tumor is it? My Dad's was the same kind Ted Kennedy had - a Glioma Blastoma. They gave him 6 months. 98% of the people that have this die within a year. HOWEVER. My Dad lived 4 years. They removed the tumor, and gave him radiation and Chemo, and it went into total remission. It was amazing. Please share that with your sister. There is always hope.

    It came back about 18 months ago, and he lived 10 more months with a new chemo medication called Avastin. He might also ask his Dr about that too.
    I am here, if she would want to talk to anyone that has gone through this, or want support. Feel free to PM me.
  11. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    So sorry. I hope your sister and her husband can find some enjoyable times during his remaining time.
  12. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    So sorry... Keeping your brother in law in my prayers... Glad your sister has family to support her... Sending many hugs your way... SFR
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I don't know ... I've been getting emails through another sister who is living there. We are trying to give A her space. I know the feeling of being crowded in and feeling obligated to dish out information so I am trying to respect that.
    However, something tells me it wasn't a glioma blastoma. I'll go through the emails again.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Found it: non-small cell carcinomal sarcoma.
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Well Terry, I don't know much about that specific cancer, but I think it has a longer life span than glioma blastoma. The downside is that it does metastasize, so the big question is if it has metastasized yet -- and if not --- what type of aggressive treatment are they giving him? I hope your sister is ready to be or already has a warrior in this - because that is what is going to be needed. She needs to be on the phone finding out what is next, how, when, and why and finding the very best Dr for his type of treatment. I know it is hard when you are grieving - but would she let you do that? Or another relative?
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Terry, I'll keep your brother in law & sister in my prayers. I hate hate hate cancer. It's devastating.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member


    Steely, the brain tumor is a metastasis. They biopsied it and it is actually lung cancer, in his brain.

    He has been moved from ICU to a regular room in the hospital and was able to enjoy the Broncos game on TV yesterday. He will move to another room soon to do rehab. My sister is afraid that he will refuse to live in a rehab facility, and will not do any rehab so she has arranged for him to stay in-hospital as much as possible.
    I do not know what they are doing in regard to radiation and chemo. I am waiting to hear their decision. I'm trying to give them space.