OK, so I have been away for a while. Truth be told, I hoped that I'll just post a few pictures from a road-trip through Sweden and Norway that my brother and I were planning initially. Unfortunately these plans never came true.

After landing at Gothenburg I went to my brother's flat we spent about two days on catching up, being general bastards to each other (as siblings usually do) and preparing for a trip. I have noticed some weird developments with my brother. Aside of complaining about headaches (typical, as we both have heart problems) he started wearing glasses as literally the only person in our family. As far as males in our family go, we are colour-blind without exception but have 20/20 vision. My grandfather's eyesight went ever so slightly bad in his eighties, so it says a lot.

During evening before our planned trip we were sitting at the kitchen table and talked about some random shit. Suddenly my brother interrupted mid-sentence and looked at me with a face of someone who could not seem to be able to decide if they want to puke or sneeze, relaxed his muscles and slumped onto the table. I remember simply saying (translated for you guys) "David, what the fuck? Stop being weird, I'm not going to do the dishes alone you lazy prick.". He did not move or react in any way. I went to him about to shake his arm and bracing for some weird jump-scare that he prepared, but it all went away the moment I could see copious amounts of urine dripping on the floor from his trousers and chair.

Turns out that real-life seizure is much less about cinematic flailing around but about something being completely fucking wrong with the person.

About an hour and a half later, in a hospital, I was talking with one of the doctors who took him. After being drilled about neurological problems in my family and epilepsy the doctor told me that my brother is close to comatose after seizure. That actually calmed me down since it's not unheard of for epileptics to be in this state. Unfortunately, after informing them about his rapidly worsening eyesight the doctor looked much more serious and quickly left. Since I could not come and visit my brother I went back to the flat.

I was going to check on him daily, but not much happened for first three days. At day four one of the doctors wanted to tell me about developments with my brother. It turned out that the reason behind my brother's state was a cyst-bound tumour that grew from his meninges from mid-occipital lobe toward medulla oblongata. It's very likely that the increased pressure was causing his worsening vision and poor coordination that he explained with a near-constant headache. It's very unlikely to be cancerous, but as far as size and location are concerned it almost couldn't have been worse. Following from that, I was myself at the ICU because it was first time in my life for something to trigger whatever is wrong with my heart.

By day six most of our family came to Sweden. Here I would want to make an interjection about my mother's side of family. You know how some families are basically all medical doctors for generations? Add "and being among some of the best in their field" on top of it. My mother is a retired professor of medical science with pretty insane research in both endocrynology and infectious diseases. Her two older brothers and father are among best surgeons in Germany, younger brother is a toxicologist researcher iirc and their uncle is a great neurologist with practice in Norway. Some of them brought their spouses, and it would be money well placed if you would say "I bet that they are also doctors!". Group expanded with oncologist, anaesthesiologist and an internal medicine specialist. Since I was a patient for the bulk of their doings since arrival and could not witness it I can't tell how much they did, but after seeing some Swedish doctors talking to them with this giddy fanboy/fangirl manner I was informed by one of the nurses that it looked like "Doctor House episode around your brother" and despite being outside of their normal area of operation everyone cooperated with them willingly after saying something like "<Devac's maternal surname>? The ones I'm thinking about?".

It took quite a lot of time, but my brother was moved to a specialised hospital and is in the hands of best oncologists, surgeons and whoever else is needed. He is still out and it is still too early to say anything for sure, but considering where he is… if these doctors will tell us that he is beyond current medical help and his only chance is a save-or-die surgery or treatment I can actually believe them. Cyst location and size are the major concerns, but I was told that he is already on track to receive some sort of chemotherapy. The important thing is: nothing indicates that what's inside the cyst is cancerous, but no-one wants to attempt punctures just yet so it's going to be tricky to even do a biopsy. Until then he gets general care and a mind-boggling battery of tests.

As of me, I got back from Sweden on Monday. Just finished all that I had to make with dorm arrangements and move back to start my second year.

Now, some shout-outs:

jadedog and kantos

You and the concern and wishes that you gave me during this time kept me much more grounded in reality. Both of you are just the absolute best people I know. With you, I went through a really bad time but emergent my normal upbeat self. I don't want you guys to think that whatever I would or will do for you is some sort of self-imposed need to pay you back, but I want you to understand that I owe you massively and will not forget what you have done for me.


Thank you for understanding and putting up with my directionless arse. While not directly aimed at making me feel better, the advice and explanations that you gave allowed me to focus my thoughts on something other than my brother. Aside of starting me on amazing avenue of skills and knowledge, talking with you seemed like a bit of a wake-up shake that I really needed.

posted by pubski: 613 days ago