Cancer Sucks

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Harvey Harvey
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Cancer Sucks

raisingarizona wrote
Sorry to hear Harv, I hope things are on the up and up now for your family.
Had some stuff on my mind, but felt bad hijacking Chris's cool Woodstove thread, so I'm starting my own.  This place is a lot of things, but it started out as my journal, and I still use it that way sometimes.

When you get older stuff starts to happen. I'm 56 and we've got three close relatives with serious health issues. All are stressful, but two of them have some kind of mild "silver lining" if I can call it that.

The thing I can't find any way to rationalize is my sister.  Two years ago she was getting a scan for a UTI and the doc found something else in the process.  She had a rare kind of cancer called GIST Wild Type that actually grows in between your organs. The specific wild type she has has only been documented in 100 people, so treatment options are not very advanced.

She had an operation to remove some of it, but nobody really expected it to help.  After the operation, the incision hurt like hell, and she decided she was going to forgo additional surgery, try to manage her pain and live out her life with as much dignity as she could.  A year later she's under 80 lbs and probably a third of that is the cancer itself.  It's horrifying.

My folks are pretty old (80s) and are doing their best to care for her.  She's begged us not to put her into the hospital to die. This summer her daughters, who live in Europe, came for six weeks to help. Their dignity in the face of their mother's pain was inspiring.

I see my sis every Sunday. I drive the 50 miles to Jersey City and sit with her or push her around the city in her wheelchair. I have to push her in the street, because the sidewalks are so fucked up that they jar the wheelchair and hurt her.

She can walk but not for long, she gets tired very easily.  Two Sunday's ago, after I left her place she fell and wacked her face pretty bad.  Basically she fell asleep while standing, as her body is full of painkillers.  She's now "sleeping" most of the day, and hospice is telling us she is "shutting down."

It's incredibly crappy to be in a position where you want your sister to die.  But she wants it too.  If she lived in Oregon or Washington or Vermont she would be gone, but she just doesn't want to move.  The right to die was always something that made sense to me, but until I lived it, never thought to much about.  I wish it was a federal law.

My sister was always super cool. A writer, musician and mom, well adjusted, pursuing her dreams, living life the way it was meant to be lived.

All I can say is cancer sucks, and I send my vibes to anyone else who has experienced someone they love, way too young, succumb to this terrible disease.
"I'm all about Clouding Out. I'm a teleskier now!" —tBatt
PeeTex PeeTex
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Re: Cancer Sucks

It is sad indeed, you are a good brother.
JasonWx JasonWx
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Re: Cancer Sucks

This is so sad..So sorry...
"Peace and Love"
campgottagopee campgottagopee
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Re: Cancer Sucks

Sorry Harv

Going thru similar, yet diff, situation myself.

One of my buds has been given a year to live due to fucking cancer. Just found out one week ago today. He's in his mid 50's, loves his wife and kids, avid outdoors man, and prolly the GD hunter/woodsman I've ever met or ever will meet.

Spent last Sunday morning with him riding our wheelers around in the rain......that's just the kinda shit we like to do.

Misery loves company......
Harvey Harvey
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Not sure I have been the best brother as my mom, dad, sister and nieces have put my efforts to shame.  I'm good for jokes and stories, so I try to stick to that.  I've tried to encourage my parents to get some profession help (visiting nurse) but they are resisting for reasons I don't understand.  Not positive but I think they could afford at least some help.

Camp I'm sorry about your friend.  The image of you guys wheeling in the rain is so bitter sweet. I'm guessing there is nothing he'd rather do with some of the precious time he has left.  Love to see a pic, if you think it is appropriate.
"I'm all about Clouding Out. I'm a teleskier now!" —tBatt
PeeTex PeeTex
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Harvey wrote
Not sure I have been the best brother as my mom, dad, sister and nieces have put my efforts to shame.  I'm good for jokes and stories, so I try to stick to that.  
It's not a competition, you visit, and you care. It would be so much easier to list all reasons why you can't make the drive and spend a few moments but rather you drive and sit and comfort. That to me is a good brother. A big pat on the back from me, I'd say I'd give you a hug but that would be weird and besides that you might think I was not such an old prick, can't wreck that persona.
Sick Bird Rider Sick Bird Rider
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Harv, I am very sorry to hear about this, what a sad story. I remembered your sister's name from a video you posted some time ago of her singing, so I tracked down her FB page. The picture is heartbreaking but her spirit shines through.

PeeTex is right, you do what you can do and it is all appreciated. The people who are physically closer tend to take on more of the day to day stuff, but every little thing you can offer is a help.

Cancer is such a cruel and random disease, the people who seem to be asking for it are sometimes handed the "get out of jail free card."  Our long time friend FishBrother has just finished chemo and radiation to treat throat cancer. Lifelong heavy smoker and at 57 it caught up with him. He is one of the lucky ones, though: three months of hell, followed up by a year of recovery and some massive lifestyle changes, he will probably outlive me. Supported by his wife and son, he finally had enough energy to make the trip north and I saw him today for the first time since he began treatment. Stupid fucker is still on serious pain meds but insisted on driving the four hours while his unbelievably patient spouse sat waiting to grab the wheel in case he dozed off. He looked 20 years older than the last time I saw him, pale, drawn but clearly seeing some light at the end of tunnel.
Love Jay Peak? Hate Jay Peak? You might enjoy this: The Real Jay Peak Snow Report
Marcski Marcski
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Re: Cancer Sucks

Life just sucks sometimes.  You're a good man Harv...whether skiing in the woods with your buds or being a good brother through thick and thin. Don't doubt yourself and live life to the fullest every day.
Harvey Harvey
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Thanks for the support Marcski, SBR and PTex.

It is hard to figure who gets tagged by this crappy disease. Although in my family it seems like those who "look" like one side are the unlucky ones.

Back into the city today for my Sunday visit.  My sis's close friend Jason, has been visiting and caring for her for the last 3 days.  The guy is currently out of work and ponied up for a flight from UK to see her and help. Incredible.

Very relieved that we were able to convince my parents to bring in some professional help.

It was a beautiful day and we headed out to the pedestrian mall to take in the day. My sister said it was the best day she'd had in months, pretty choked up about that.



Got to be careful driving when things are emotional.  Driving the turnpike in the late day sun, high speed, high volume traffic, and thinking about things other then the road, somebody stopped short and it took me a while to notice. Had to lock em up, was actually pretty impressed with the CRV's stopping, but it scared the shit out of me.
"I'm all about Clouding Out. I'm a teleskier now!" —tBatt
Chris Chris
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Re: Cancer Sucks

Life is strange, Harv you're surrounded by supportive friends here and we all feel for you.  Your sister sounds like a great girl and I'm sure she's grateful to have you!

I think that this is a great reminder of something that most on this board take in to action... and that is to embrace every day, squeeze as much life out of every day and every year as you possibly can... because you just never know when your number will be called
The day begins...  Your mountain awaits.
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