Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My Brother has Lung Cancer

Les is the person I love second best in the world, and a real close second to my husband Jim. Les has just told me that he may have cancer in his left lung. He has a tumor in his lower lobe that is something like 2x3 cm. Les said "may" because he has not yet had a sample of the tumor tissue pathologized. But as his doctor told him, PET scans don't lie. The PET/CT scan lit up the tumor in the lower lobe of his left lung.

I'm not sure what I should write here about Les's cancer because he reads this blog. But I don't think anyone who knows him, other than some of my friends, read this blog, so unless he asks me to stop I will write what's on my mind and in my heart.

Les has multiple sclerosis, diagnosed maybe ten years ago. He has been so brave in that struggle, still working full-time or more, despite what are now very serious physical limitations.

Les is four years younger than me, and the only one of my six siblings I keep in close touch with. Most of my siblings have hurt me, emotionally or physically, in some significant way. Les never has. He adores his wife Donna, and has two adult daughters he holds dear, and a number of grandchildren.

Our family of origin was very dysfunctional, and with the abuse, my siblings and I became loners or went outside the family for emotional support. I was not close to Les growing up, although he was a nice enough kid. I "remet" him at a family wedding in the 1980's and we hit it off like gangbusters. How could I not be drawn to this brother who was intelligent, and funny, and hardworking. We ruined many a wedding photo cracking up at the raunchy jokes we whispered to each other.

Les lives in rural northeast Texas, and easily picked up the Texas drawl when he moved there. He sounds like a native. He has worked for years for oil field service companies. He is very mechanically inclined; as as my sister-in-law says, he is handy as a shirt pocket.

Les tells me he has been going through diagnotic testing since December 19, 2008. It all started with a chest X-Ray, although I don't know the reason the X-Ray was taken. Seeing a suspicious area, testing proceeded to other imaging methods, as well as a bronchoscopy to remove a tissue sample for pathology. The doctor was not able to get deep enough into the lung to get a sample of the tumor, but other tissue taken from the procedure was clear of cancer cells.

Les is seeing a thoracic surgeon this Thursday. Les has been told that regardless of whether the tumor is cancerous or benign, it has to come out. Therefore, the doctors are not planning a needle aspiration of the tumor; they plan to go straight to surgery. Les says that by this time next week, either the lower lobe or the entire left lung will have been removed. Les has had pulmonary testing that shows he will be able to function with his right lung alone.

Yes, Les is a smoker. Our father died young of lung cancer, with metastasis to the brain.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry V.

Anonymous said...

From Alice