Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles' David Parnes and his older brother Michael sit down with PEOPLE to share the latest on Michael's health
“It was important for me to share what was happening with my brother and what he was going through and what I was going through, because it was showing,” David, 34, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “It affected my mood, my negotiations, my business, my relationships.”
Michael, 37, began experiencing dizziness last year, and his symptoms soon began to worsen. He started throwing up every morning, and later began feeling head pains on the left side of his head.
“I had gone back to London for Christmas and something wasn’t right,” recalls David of noticing a change in his brother’s health. “His memory was going, he kept wanting to go home to bed, he was complaining of a bad headache. I couldn’t understand it. It was the worst period because you don’t know what’s wrong.”
In January, Michael’s doctor suggested he get an MRI, and urgently called him back into the office the same day when he discovered a very large tumor that had caused his brain to lapse to the right.
“He was amazed I could walk under that sort of pressure,” says Michael.
Just days later, Michael went in for an operation that removed part of the tumor, and a month later, went in for a second procedure to remove more of it. Both times required his head to be opened up and stapled back together.
“It was harder for other people that like or love you, who were watching and witnessing it, than it is for yourself,” says Michael. “You very rarely get dealt something you can’t deal with.”
After the two invasive procedures, Michael went in for 36 radiotherapy treatments that caused him to lose all of his hair.
“I looked like a very fat baby,” he says with a laugh. “You have to make fun of these situations. If you don’t laugh, you’re going to cry.”
Michael was disheartened to learn that his journey was still not yet over, as he was prescribed a year of chemotherapy, which he is now three-quarters of the way through.
“It’s challenging, even more so than the operations,” he says. “You look a bit messy — you have no hair, you get fat, you feel fatigued. The key is to be positive.”
He maintains that positive outlook when speaking about his personal life, too. “I’m 37 now. I’d like to meet someone at some point that will stick with me through thick and thin, and I’d like to have children,” he says. “I’ve got stuff to do that’s important for me. I’m not ready to quit yet. I relish life.”
Throughout everything, Michael has received tons of support and encouragement from David and the rest of his family.
“It’s something you never want to go through as a family, but we have a really close family and we’re all there for each other,” says David, who explains he has always looked up to his big brother and admires him even more now. “He’s going through such a difficult thing in such an amazing way, with such bravery and composure. This experience has made him have a completely different perspective, and me as well. I’m very grateful. He will get better and he’ll be okay, but it’s a long journey.”
Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Bravo.