The loss of Andreas - my dearest, big brother
Thank you for this site! Grief is so difficult to manage, because of the severe pain, both mentally and physically.
My big brother Andreas (18 months older than me), has always beens so strong and goodhearted as well. He was the kind of guy that was there for you. He watched your back, and you could always trust him. He never ever made any big point about that quality either. You just knew that he would be looking after you. He was ( I hate writing "was") such a good man, a strong mind in a strong body. Alot of people respected him for his way of being.
Andreas and I grew up together, at the same time, and we always had this great bond. (Our parents abandoned us when we still were children, but we managed quite well).
I loved my big bother so much! So proud of him! He was so vivid and determed! He actually descibed himself in a metaphor as the "dog that would bark loudest" . And when there was any bit of unjustice, he did indeed! He would bark, but not bite. I could always call him up and tell him anything. He was fair and could see both sides of any issue. If there was something bothering me, he would always - in a short termed maner - give me the "right" answer. We had the same corevalues and acted in a simular way.
Andreas had so many plans last year! He was considering buying a house in Florida and we were going to travel to NY (our homecity when we grew up) to visit our relatives. We were talking alot about that trip! O.M.G! We just never could imagine what was going to hit him so hard! He had actually barely been sick in his whole life.
Then, before X-mas last year he became really ill: he could not breathe, his face swelled up, he got a black eye just sleeping and he started fainting a lot. This went on for more than a month. His local doctor told him it was food poisoning, and never sent him to the hospital for a CT/ scan. But Andreas did not get any better, so after 5 visits to his doctor, he simply took a cab directly to the local hospital. He could not breathe any more.
The doctors at that hospital responded really fast! Andreas had arrived on the last day that he could live, according to these hospital doctors. They flew him directly to a more advanced regional hospital. At this point his condition was so bad that they had to put him in a respirator upon arrival.
He had a 8 x 7 inch tumor in his chest. The cause was a rare cancer type - germ cell cancer, which only hits 1 to a million people each year. This cancer type is highly curable, like testis cancer. But the tumor had become huge!
Andreas was so strong. He started fighting while he was in a coma. He got chemotherapy - the doctors started this treatment the very same night that he arrived at the intensive ward. Andreas survived 4 major medical crises, and had to stay in a coma/respirator for 72 days.
When he woke up again - and got his mind back after all that medication - he was so strong, positive and focused on his survival. So was I. He had to learn everything again (eat, walk, how to take a shower and so on) after all that time in a respirator. He trained 7 times a day to achieve progress - and he did so well that the doctors were amazed!.
His malignent cancer was actually battled. Everyone was so optimistic at this point! (springtime) But unfortunatly, this huge tumor in his chest did not go away. After chemotherapy he simply still had a 9 x 8 inch tumor of dead tissue in his thorax area.
His left lung was crushed and his heart had moved to his stomach area. So after 195 days, we came to this horrible moment in which we had to face the fact that it just would not be possible for him to survive any more. At least without surgery that could remove this dead tissue that was causing him so many problems.
Andreas never made to the operation table, he died in his home with all of his family and dear ones around him - holding his hands all the way.
This happened only two days after we had to realize this tremendous ordeal - that things would not go the way we wanted it to. Andreas was going to die.
Andreas never gave up. He struggled so much against death, even the last hours of his life. His mind was clear and he was so strongminded and loving/caring/ affectionate towards us these last hours. He got up from his bed to sit with us (in a wheelchair), he felt the sun in his face while he watched us, his loved ones, barbecue. He saw the beautiful sunset and the magnificent oceanview from his porch. (He had not seen that for so long) He told me that he had slept to much. He was in a happy, but pensive mood. Happy to be with us, but so sad in a subltle way.
The last thing he asked me about, after he went to bed, was when we would get an answer from the national hospital about operating the dead tissue out of his thorax. I told him that would happen after the weekend - in two days, and that i would be sleeping in the next room, as usual, if he needed me.
He went in to a terminal phase that very same night, he lost his voice and could never speak again. But he did not want to let go and struggled hard for more than 24 hours. His eyes told us everything about what he was going through. He tried to rise from the bed. His hands were strong. His mind was clear. He communicated well even without his voice. He was not in pain then. The nurses gave him alot of morphine and other drugs. Finally the drugs blew out his lifelight, after the last injection he died within 3 minutes. it was like blowing out a candle - his fire and flame just blew out in a second. He was gone.
I miss him so much! It is heartbreaking and devastating to think about what happened to this fine man, my dearest big brother. I think about him all the time, and I am so sad about his fate. All the pain he had to experience. And not having him around and being able to see and talk to him, is really hard to cope with.
We were 4 siblings, my sister died when she was a year old. Andreas died this summer, and my youngest brother now needs a heart and a kidney to survive. That it not right at all.