Posted by: chlost | November 20, 2010


Life has once again come up from behind and whacked us upside the head.

We learned late last night that my husband’s 25-year-old nephew has just been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

This nephew is 6 months younger than our youngest son. He is a great guy. He works very hard at a very physical job. He is kind, and a bit of a joker.

This is one of the three children of my husband’s brother. The brother who is intolerably awful.

Here is just another example:  This young man’s father is angry with his son, because he feels that his son’s lifestyle has caused his disease.  Yes, he believes that the young man’s working the night shift, not “eating right”, and “partying too much” is the reason he has cancer. Seriously.

After reviewing the Mayo Clinic’s website on this disease, I learned that the risk factors for Hodgkins’ are things out of our nephew’s control: age, sex, sibling health history (he was adopted, so we don’t know about that), socioeconomic status. That last one can be blamed totally on my brother-in-law, not our nephew. I have also learned that of the lymphomas, this one is most often treatable. He has not been given a “stage” yet, but is likely at least stage 2, as he has had symptoms of shortness of breath and very itchy skin which has kept him from being able to sleep.

Please keep in mind that my brother-in-law’s idea of “eating right” involves eating a can of tuna and/or green beans FROM THE CAN, while standing at the kitchen counter. This is the same man who kicked his cousin out of his home while she was here to handle their aunt’s estate this past summer, primarliy due to their differences in eating styles. She ended up staying with us, even though we had a house full of guests from my side of the family.

I’m so sorry for our nephew. It is horrible enough to get a cancer diagnosis when you are at that invincible time of your life, let alone have to go through it with a crazy parent who will want to control everything. He is apparently having issues with his health insurance as well. (Damn the tea party and their agenda to keep people from accessing universal insurance in this country!)

We are still taking it all in. So is he. My sister-in-law told me this morning that his concerns are centered around whether or not he will lose his hair and when they can stop the itching so he can sleep. She is a wreck. Both her father and our mother-in-law died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the worse form of the disease.   The first appointment with an oncologist is Tuesday.

Feeling a little woozy about it all.

These whacks on the head truly make your head spin.



  1. So sorry about this news for your dear nephew–and how unfortunate to have to deal with a frightening diagnosis AND the running (unsupportive) commentary from his father. He’ll begin getting correct information from his oncologist and from the nurses. He should ask EVERYTHING–about his hair, the itching, the treatments, support groups, diet (not from the skewed opinion of his father) and then focus on the battle. He’s fortunate to have your in his corner, he needs your empathy. Good luck to him and to you as well.

    • Thank you for your support. It sounds as though you have had a similar experience. I am hoping that the doctor will be able to provide much needed answers for him.

  2. I’m so sorry!!!! I’ll pray.

    • Thanks, Kay!

  3. Wow, blaming a person for an illness? That’s a new one.

    I’m sorry this has happened and I pray for his health and the strength of your family.

    • Thank you for your support. He is a good guy, and deserves better than what he is getting right now.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your nephew. His father, well, I have had first hand experience with that particular mentality so I saddened but not surprised by such a lack of caring and compassion towards ones own children.

    I hope that all will go well with your nephew’s treatment. For all our faults, Minnesota does have some tremendous medical facilities, that is for certain.

    • You are right. I am confident that he will have access to great treatment. I am hoping that the medical providers will be able to keep my brother-iin-law in check. After watching their aunt’s situation, I am not sure.

  5. I am so very sorry about this news. Sometimes you wonder if it will ever stop. Is anyone going with him to see the oncologist apart from his dreadful father? It sounds as if he could do with the support and as if his mother is too exhausted to help. Does he live at home still?
    I suppose that his father would not listen or believe anything the oncologist said if it was not to his liking anyway.

    Being you I am sure you will offer all the encouragement and help you can but look after yourself too! This dreadful period will end: I don’t know why we get such huge amounts of things to deal with all at once, but it always happens this way. Something to do with our age I suppose: if we have survived this long we still have the youngsters and the aged around who are going through their problems. I read in some stats. over here, for what they are worth, that there are specific ages in our lives for mortal events to overtake us: seems as if the people around you seem to be in those patches just at the moment.

    • Thank you so much. This nephew is my favorite of their children. As the middle child, he received the brunt of my brother-in-law’s nastiness throughout his childhood. He still adored his father. I am not sure of their relationship now. He is living on his own now, but I am not sure if that will continue. His father will be trying to tell the doctors what to do, will be alienating all of the medical staff, and putting his son in the middle. I am not in a position to intervene, and I am not sure of his mother.
      I do appreciate your support. I am hopeful for him, as it is a treatable version of the disease. He is young. He should do fine.

  6. This young man’s father needs to told in no uncertain terms that he is an asshole, and and he is completely responsible for that diagnosis!

    There is a cure for ignorance; unfortunately there is no cure for stupidity.

    I hope the young man can rally and effectively work toward his cure in spite of his callous father.

    • Yes, I agree that he needs to be told. I am hoping that a doctor will take him on. He has no respect for anyone, especially me.

  7. My father died from Hodgkin’s Dec 15th 1962, before they had any treatment for it.
    My sister was diagnosed this past summer with the same thing, She has so many other health problems, but the Chemo still kicked it.
    As bad as the news sounds right now, there are good treatments for it..I will keep him in my prayers.

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