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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

A brother’s war: I lived to see his life saved and end — and I’m sorry

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Astro. My younger brother was diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2000. He was 42 years old. I was 23. There is no therapy for the brain cancer, but there are ways to treat it. My brother was proactive in his treatment, and I was; a physician friend came to visit me every day. I learned about Zoloft as well as the FDA approved drugs, the optimal dose, the strength of his meds. My brother was at the 30 mg daily dose for five years. Once it became a standard drug it lost its efficacy as a medicine in combatting cancer. With that, it was no longer going to cause debilitating or debilitating depression.

When your brother is fighting for his life, you walk a fine line between sympathy and awareness. Everything you say may reflect on the strength or weakness of your own support. It was my brother’s life and his brain tumor that was the prize for me. So when my brother’s doctor told me I had brain cancer, I wanted to believe it was the product of cancer.

Astro’s situation is unique because he died in death, unlike the other brain tumor victims of those who survived. We did not bury him because his body was for use in the cancer research. As this doctor writes in an interview in Health Today, “For Astro, I determined it was best for the research on the chemotherapy and radiation.” At this point, I was sitting by my brother’s bed watching neurosurgery become a miracle.

He was fortunate because he had a loving daughter who was well-off. My family was poorer and the surgeries and chemo treatments were expensive. But it is terrifying for young patients such as myself, who do not have the resources of Astro’s family. Today, the FDA has established a compensation fund.

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