My Story is about My brother, Joshua
This event took place from 1 October 2017 to 9 April 2019
At age 36, my brother had started experiencing some back pain. He had a history of kidney stones and figured it was another bout of that. Time went on and the pain continued, becoming unbearable at times. He ended up having a biopsy done on his pancreas and they said they weren’t able to get a good sample. He ended up going to the emergency room due to the pain progressing. A scan was done and he was scheduled to see a gastroenterologist at University of Michigan on February 14,2018. Josh went to work that day and got off early for his appointment. My parents and I met Joshua at the medical center. We were all tense and had a bad feeling about this appointment, but tried to remain positive. The dr he had ran about an hour or so late. He came into the room and greeted us. He cut to the chase and told us that Joshua had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The cancer had metastasized to his liver. Joshua said, “ok” and the Dr said, “no…it’s not ok”. We all had tears filling up our eyes as Joshua tried to remain strong for us after hearing this diagnosis. My dad asked the difficult question…what was his prognosis? The Dr said 10 months. He said there was nothing he could do for him besides palliative care.
This is My Story
We all went back to Joshua’s house afterwards and talked about where to go from here. That night, he contacted Cancer Treatment Centers of America for a second opinion on treatment options. They set him up with an appointment at their center near Chicago within 10 days. My dad transported him back and forth to the center for treatment and we all tried to remain hopeful. Throughout treatment, his tumors had shrunk some. This seemed promising. Unfortunately, Joshua also had cystic fibrosis and this created additional problems with his health and his ability to tolerate chemo. He eventually decided to obtain oncology care at a local hospital in Lansing, Michigan. As time went on, Joshua was in and out of the hospital. Did chemo as his body tolerated it. He lost a lot of weight off his already thin frame. He became jaundiced. His appetite became less and less. The pain medications he had been taking were no longer working. He became weaker by the day. On 1 April 2019, he told my family and I that he couldn’t do it anymore and needed more help to manage his pain. He decided to go on hospice. The next day, hospice services were set in place at our family’s home where Joshua wanted to stay. He was alert for a couple days, but would become irritable every night. We never left his side during this time. He was no longer eating or drinking. His breathing became rattled. On April 9, 2019, he was hardly communicating with us. He was staring off at the ceiling. We noticed his breathing had changed…his skin appeared bruised on his back and his nails were bluish…we were giving him pain meds every 5-10 minutes to control his pain and irritability. At 6:20pm, my brother passed away surrounded by his loved ones at the age of 37.
Since Joshua passed away, my dad also passed away on January 11, 2021 due to health issues. A big part of it was that he couldn’t handle being without his son. He had no will to fight anymore. RIP to both of them.
I love and miss you both.
The Impact of Time
Life is so very short. After losing 2 loved ones in my immediate family in 2.5 years, I’ve realized just how precious life truly is. I try to make the most out of my life because my loved ones that have passed on would love to be here enjoying their lives still.