1. to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit

My eldest brother died last year in April of complications from alcoholism. Almost a year ago, now. My father died in October. On December 28, 2012, not wanting to lose my remaining brother to alcoholism, I got desperate and arranged an intervention. My brother agreed to go through detox and then rehab. For the first couple of months, he did well. He went to meetings daily. He called his sponsor. He read the big book. He began working the steps.

My brother’s health, which had been quite poor, improved a bit. He ate better. He did his physical therapy to reverse the muscle wasting. He began walking and discarded the wheelchair. He had been malnutritioned, but began eating better. He began feeling better. He was optimistic.

Then he got sores in his mouth that wouldn’t heal, despite several courses of antibiotics. The sores were so painful that he couldn’t eat. So he drank Ensure. Then he got pneumonia despite having had the vaccine, and was admitted to the hospital for a few days. A couple of weeks after he was discharged, his legs became swollen and painful. Another visit to the emergency room. The doctors said it was cellulitis. They gave him another course of antibiotics. Still, the sores in his mouth wouldn’t heal. The bone had died from the radiation. He underwent more surgery to remove it. They’d already removed the lymph nodes when the cancer came back the second time.

He became discouraged. Frustrated. He stopped going to meetings, saying he needed to rest and concentrate on his health. While this did not bode well for his sobriety, it was hard to argue with him. He felt tired and weak. His mouth hurt. His legs hurt. Once again he began having trouble walking. The doctor told him he needed to rest. And besides, he had no desire to drink. So he didn’t need support from those people, he said. I talked to him gently. Reminded him what happened the last time he didn’t need support from those people. He agreed to call his sponsor.

Yesterday at work, he felt worse and appeared anemic. Last night he went to the emergency room. His white blood count was extremely elevated. They gave him plasma and admitted him. The doctor scheduled a bone marrow biopsy, which should be done by tomorrow. They gave him more plasma today. He feels a little better tonight.

The doctors suspect chronic myelogenous leukemia.

He beat mouth cancer. Twice. He got sober. And now he likely has cancer of his white blood cells. He’s lost his brother; his best friend. His father. He’s hanging in with his sobriety.

Damn it, he deserves a break.

I too feel discouraged. And afraid. I fear I’m going to lose my brother just as we were getting him back.

It never occurred to me that as I approached fifty, everyone would start dying. I didn’t spend much time thinking about death.

Now, I can’t get away from it.

My brother is sick again and I feel discouraged. And I know what needs to be done.


It’s either that, or let it suck me under. I refuse to do that.

About UB Ella

UB Ella (f/k/a Unconfirmed Bachelorette) is a 50-something recovered lawyer who left the practice of law to embrace a full-time writing life. Never-married, child-free Ella resides in Austin, Texas and Ontario, Canada with her four bad cats.
This entry was posted in Alcoholism, Cancer, Death of a sibling, Health, Intervention, Sobriety and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Discourage

  1. How very sad indeed. Sending strength to you both over the ether.


  2. blueviking says:

    In the blogging community, as on facebook, it always seems like a dichotomy to hit the “like” button when someone posts something that isn’t the best news. So consider my “like” as a liking the fact that you’re not bottling up your feelings, that you’re letting out your frustration about the discouraging news. Though I have not had nearly the amount of despair as you have had over the past couple of years, I can sympathize (and do at least know the pain of losing a parent). I hope you’re able to stay positive, even in the midst of such discouraging news. We’re thinking of you…


    • Thank you, BV. I’m cautiously optimistic. Assuming it’s the final diagnosis, they’ve got some good drugs these days. I think he’s a bit relieved to be close to knowing what’s wrong. And it’s not that he stopped drinking!


  3. gertmcqueen says:

    sorry to hear of your hardships. I went to my Rieki healing cards. The first card was that of the Mountain…being strong and centered in the face of whatever. I then pulled a second card, that is called ‘Prayer and Meditation’ (opening and closing). As your own words and picture chosen for this post show us…you know how to deal with all of this.


  4. bitesizelove says:

    i’m so sorry. i wish you strength and courage as you and your family face the next step in his journey.


  5. free penny press says:

    Life can seem very cruel and unfair at times.. you can only hold your head up, keep your heart open and allow the strength of others to lift you up.. sending nothing but goodness your way and brother as well..


  6. I’m so sorry, sendiing all the healing and warm thoughts I can to you and your brother…


  7. I’m sorry to hear of yur brother’s illness. Prayers to you both.


  8. s1f2m3 says:

    I’m so sorry to read that your brother is not doing well, after this ling, hard- fought struggle…I don’t believe the people who say there’s a reason that everything happens, that it’s all part of God’s plan. Bad things happen to good people all the time, and I can’t believe that’s the way God wants it. Thinking of you and sending hugs.


    • I absolutely agree with you that there’s no big grand plan behind this. It’s just life. Sometimes wonderful, sometimes not so much. But during both, there’s so much to learn and experience. Thank you for your thoughts and hugs.


  9. Gail says:

    Blessing to you and your brother. You have a tremendous strength that will get you through this.


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  11. good2begone says:

    Hang tough and keep the faith.


  12. Geraldine says:

    sending lots of hugs your way. hang in there…


  13. Angie says:

    Fellow cat lover here, sending hugs & strength your way.


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