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I did a scan of the topics in this forum, and couldn't find something related to my question, so sorry if this is a repeat:

Short story: My big brother passed away from Stage IV lung cancer in March. There's no history in my family of lung cancer (or any cancer, except for a great-aunt who died from stomach cancer).

I'm taking my own steps toward mitigation; quitting smoking, getting yearly chest pics, etc. As I got slammed with a bout of grief this afternoon, it occurred to me that someone may be researching undiagnosed family members of a cancer patient. Gene sequencing, lifestyle monitoring. 

Maybe this is just too out there, but I think it'd help me and possibly others if I could participate in this research.

Any resources anyone can recommend? I found a page at Mayo where they list their research projects, but that's just one (albeit big and important) institution.

Thanks for any ideas.

Also - and I don't want to get into any religious flame-war here - but I expect it's especially rough for friends/relatives who are believers to see their loved one pass while an unbeliever. I've experienced that a the funerals for a couple suicides I've attended.

While he was raving the night before he died, my brother kept hollering out "HELP ME DAD". I think the day he got his diagnosis he immediately started thinking about our dad who passed away from old age a few years ago. I expect the devout folks in my family will take that as a sign of a deathbed conversion. And I don't really care. We're all hurting, and we all need to find a way to make sense of the senseless. More power to 'em.

Thank you for your comments. I'm not one of those militant atheists - it's a crazy world we get to spend a few decades in, and whatever you need to make sense of it: godspeed (so to speak). To paraphrase a great aphorism I saw recently: "If there be a good god or gods, then they will see your virtue and reward you. If there be evil gods, they should not be worshipped. If there be no gods, then your virtue will be its own reward". 

After hibernating for three days, I finally went out to breakfast with my son and a couple siblings. It does help to be up and about. 

Thanks, Scott. My wife went off on a trip the day after it happened, my son is off to play a show, but I think our old-cat Tiger is trying to hug me. Cats always know when things suck. Those friggin, zombified cells. Not like a virus, where the virus has a plan to reproduce when its host is cold. Just bad programming that spreads to the other cells. Senseless death.

So he's gone. cancer anyway

by BLink - March 15, 2013

I didn't realize that when the hospice folks said "a few days", they really meant a few days. He was blissed-out on morphine. His wife and her mom were having coffee, and mom said "I think he's gone". Sure enough, he'd gone.

Not sure if I like the old-school method of sitting with the body. He was the most obviously dead person I've ever seen. Pallid and still. I walked up to his body and patted the shoulder saying "well, at least the pain is gone, now".

He had a bruise on his forehead, due to the agitation the hospice folks said was a big marker that he was on his way out (he'd tried to walk and fell down). I just kept thinking "that bruise will never heal".

The worst part was when my mom got there. She's 86, has lost a husband, and actually spoke the cliche words "I was supposed to go first". I guess they're cliche for a reason.

So I expect they'll find a cure for lung cancer in the next few months. That always seems to happen.

Though I've been a token participant in this forum, I wanted to let anyone who paid attention know that my strong big brother Steve is finally gone.

Now, as an agnostic, I get to sit in on all the family's rationalizations and agonizing about his own atheism. "Where will he go?". I have no problem with folks that believe in an afterlife, and if it calms them then let them use it. Fact of the matter is that he's out of our daily lives. I can't pick up the phone and call Steve, and that's a fact.

It's so sad. My heart goes out to all of you waiting. How can something that's so natural be so horrible? We all die. 

Rambling. Thanks for those of you who've chimed in on my posts.

(I did holler at the tumors - "LET'S SEE HOW GOOD YOU ARE AT PROPAGATING NOW, YOU BASTARDS!".) That was before anyone else got there.

So sad.

I've been an infrequent visitor here. Mostly because my brother seemed to be doing well with his chemo. Now it's time for the deep dive. Stage IV lung cancer discovered a year ago, and now it's just friggin' everywhere, and he's in a lot of pain during what the docs say is 2 weeks to 2 months.

I heard from a hospice worker that "You Can't Chase Pain". Turns out that this was his big mistake, since he denied any pain from the adrenal tumor until he literally couldn't walk. It's a guy thing, I guess, "No, I'm fine, just let me sit here for a second". Suck it up, dude.

Now the docs and hospice are trying to get him comfortable, but it's a struggle.

My brother and my family are in a good place for his death. We've all talked about it. I mean, we all die, but he gets to know when it'll happen to him (give or take a few months). I just wish his last days wouldn't have to be spent in severe pain.

NCjk53 - thanks. The situation is complicated by family (something I'm SURE nobody on this forum has had to deal with!). My brother and I were both pretty devout Christians, but have gone over to agnosticism for a variety of reasons. He's married to a very devout Christian, a fact which has always confused the rest of us, and there are some siblings that are still Christians. =)

It becomes complicated because half of the family is being comforted because he'll wind up in Heaven with other family members that have passed. The other half is comforted because when he passes, he'll finally be free of pain and just vanish. There's an opportunity for us to come together there, because Heaven or Oblivion, you're free from pain.

Thanks for the suggestion of hospice. I haven't elaborated because I got side-tracked with the whole religion discussion.

Stage IV lung cancer - initial chemo and radio, and Tarceva (which can really do wonders for some lung cancer patients). His treatment seemed to be holding the worst at bay, but new PET scans show the cancer just going to town on his body. However, it's tumors in non-dangerous places.

His wife has been talking to her pastor (another reason I bristle about religion), who suggested they call the family together to see him soon, because he's on his way out. The facts from the doctor are less clear - yeah, his bones are starting to get some tumors, but those won't kill him. Currently all my info is via his wife, who is understandably FREAKING OUT.

I'm very fortunate to have a friend that works in hospice. Always awkward to bring an acquaintance in to your own personal horror, but she does it for a living. She's visited with my bro and his wife, and I think my bro will take advantage of her counsel. One thing that surprised me is that, even though she's a kid (sorry, I'm a curmudgeon. She's gone through college and worked in hospice for a few years), she could see that the palliatives his doctor is giving him are pretty stupid. He's on Methadone right now, but she immediately saw that there are better drugs that do actually kill the pain and leave you clear-headed. So yes, we do have hospice care queued up.

Bah. It sucks. I guess we all know we're gonna die. Folks with cancer just know the date with a bit more accuracy.


I shouldn't have opened up a can of worms by alluding to the fact that the principals involved here are all agnostic. I could have made my point more diplomatically, and I'm sorry if I offended you.

Superstition has done a lot of good in the world, and I know lots of folks who are devout whose faith supports them. 

So sorry for your loss. I'm grateful you have the comfort of your beliefs to help you through this horrible situation. 

So glad you have a god to hang on to. I wish I had a mythological figure to hold on to.

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