Family crisis, advice & how to destress?


My brother's leukemia has relapsed. I am a perfect match for bone marrow. I'm pregnant. I am worried - for his health, for my heath (my possible complications while donating are much more grave while pg, I have a husband and six children who need me) and about the risks to the baby (to coupond this one this is my first pg after loss :( ) My brother found out that I was checking into the risks of donoring while pregnant and now he is mad, acting like I am refusing him. He has no religion/beliefs/faith at this point in his life and yet he says that he would have thought I would trust God to take care of me and the baby and him. How can he demand blind faith from me and absolutely none from himself? & having faith doesn't mean that my dh & I don't have a decision in front of us and it would be absolutely foolish to not know the risks. Actually, we may not have a choice, one hospital has already said that they won't let me donate. There is one other hospital to check with and if they say no that's it. If they say yes I don't know what will happen. I haven't talked to him yet for fear of what he might say. I made the mistake of texting him last night, just to say "I love you Rock." He responded with "Then don't make me go thru an extra chemo session." I can't take anything else right now. At all. I am trying to be understanding of his extreme emotions, I know he JUST found out about his relapse and is going through the shock and anger and fear. My brother has always been an angry person and very self-centered, NOT that I think anyone would be thinking outside themselves right now, he has every right to be thinking of himself, but like I said, he's always been an angry person & when he's upset it's always been directed at someone. He got divorced at the end of last year so he doesn't have her to take his anger out on, so it seems it's going to be me :( He's also a grudge holder and can never admit that he's wrong. I'm so scared that he's gotten it in his mind that whatever happens is my fault and won't ever forgive me. Unless things go 100% the way he wants them to I can't imagine him ever geting past this. What am I supposed to do? I have terminally ill brother that I can't call. Am I not going to be able to visit him? I ended up texting him back "I'm doing everything I can. xoxo" I don't plan to try and contact him again until I have some answers myself.

My dh & I have decided to first see what the response is from Dana-Farber, if it's even an option we will have the perinatologist here contact them and get every detail he needs to meet with us and tell us exactly what the risks would be for the baby and for me and the chances of them happening. Unless the decision is very obvious from that information we will meet with a priest to discus the whole thing on a spiritual level. We will then pray and hope for a sign. If it comes to having to say no my dh is going to tell everyone that it's his repsosibility to protect our family and it's too dangerous, he won't let me do it. sigh I hope it doesn't come to that.

In the meantime, I am not handling this well at all. I've been very short with my children, they are all fairly young and have no level of understanding for the stress I'm under. I know that. It's SOOOOO hard though to have them coming to me with all of the one thousand and one silly little arguements and questions and etc. I've been having headaches, heart palpitations and chest pains. I'm not sleeping & have to force myself to eat, if I wasn't still feeling nauseus I probably would forget to eat altogether. I know this is not healthy, what can I do to try and destress with 6 little ones around? I really can't imagine being able to do breathing exercises, meditation, baths or other things that require quiet with the chaos that has been going on with the kids lately. I don't know what to do.


First thing’s first… has your brother looked to donation networks for another match? You can’t possibly be the only match in the entire world, right? :o

I have no other advice other than to offer my thoughts and prayers for your situation. You need to take care of yourself and your baby and remove this burden from your heart. There’s nothing you can do at this time and your brother needs to understand that it’s not just your decision (doctors and hospitals have refused this!)… remove the guilt off *yourself *and place it where it truly lies - on medical professionals who know best. TRUST those medical professionals to be keeping everyone’s best interests in mind and *lean *on that in any conversations with your brother.

(((HUGS))) and prayers… I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. :frowning:


All I have to say is hugs and prayers to you and your family. I can’t imagine how much stress this is causing all of you.

I would ask a friend to take the children for a few hours so you can go get your nails done, get a massage, a facial, take a bath…whatever relaxes you. You are no good to anyone if you don’t take a few minutes to yourself.

It is best for you and your unborn baby that you find a way to destress, remember to eat, and get some sleep.

I also think that talking to your priest sooner rather than later will be a great relief. He’ll be able to help you communicate with your brother more effectively. Don’t wait until you have to make a decision regarding the bone marrow procedure.


Thank you, the drs ran him through the donor registry and there are potential unrelated matches for him on there. This process would take slighty longer than having a donor (like me) handy immediately & an extra round of chemo may be necessary while he waits (hence his accusation.)


What a tough spot to be in, Little Mother!

I don't know enough about the risks of bone marrow donation to comment on the medical aspects. I do know that it is dangerous.

I do want to point out what it seems you already know: ...that your responsibilities to your unborn and born children, as well as your husband, outweigh your familial responsibilities to your brother, even life and death ones. And how sad that your brother will not or cannot acknowledge this. Thank goodness you have a husband who does understand.

It is understandable that you are concerned about your brother and are distressed by his misguided accusations. Try to be at peace with yourself for the sake of your baby.

Prayers for you, your children, your husband, and your brother.


Have you tried passing all this through your pastor? He could definitely help you make the right choice. :)


Thank you.

Scooby, I haven't yet. I still don't know if it's even an option for me to donate.


Little Mother,

                Is it possible to talk with the doctors who will be doing the bone marrow transplant procedure?  I think you then could tell them your situation and then they could talk with your brother about all of the risks to you and your baby.  That way you might not have to discuss this problem with your brother.


I just heard back from Dana Farber, they won’t even consider it. Hopefully he will be able to come to terms with all of this.



Dana-Farber will not even consider me. I hate feeling like there is nothing I can do at all. I want to be able to help. I was completely devestated by this news until after my mom talked to Rocky. I realized as I typed my eta earlier that he might not have any idea that he does have matches on the donor registry. I have been in contact with the hospitals directly, so that info hadn’t passed through him. I begged my mom to cal him and tell him ALL of the news, that I can’t donate, they absolutely will not consider it at either hospital and that he does have other matches. He was a bit upset with me still, but his tone changed when my mother told him that no, I wan’t relieved, I was very upset and crying about this news. He was surprised about that and very relieved to hear about the matches and was happy by the end of the conversation and even joking that oh well, he wanted male blood anyway! Thank you God. NOW I am relieved. We still have a long scary road ahead of us, but I love my brother and he knows it, and he loves me.

Thank you for all of your support and prayers. Continued prayers for his body and soul would be very VERY appreciated!

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