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Friends and family

For anyone supporting someone else with cancer

  • 140 conversations

Dad diagnosed with terminal cancer

Started by Anonymous on 08 March 2017 at 13:13

Hi everyone

I am feeling a bit lost and joining this site might help a little.

in late 2015 my Dad was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, completely out of the blue. He had chemotherapy and an oesophagectomy. In summer 2016, he was told he was now 'all clear' and had 'more chance of being hit by a bus' than see the cancer returning. This seemed like a miracle and we thought we'd been so lucky. Another CT scan in January came back clear.

Unfortunately he started to get some issues with his eyesight. An MRI revealed several metastases in the brain - not curable. He's just finished radiotherapy which may give him a bit longer but the oncologist's prognosis is 'a few months'.

I am 27 and my Dad is 56. This has come as such a big shock. I met the palliative care nurse yesterday and she said we should 'spend time with him daily'. Unfortunately I live in London, and it takes about 3 hours to get to my Dad's by public transport. I'm about to start a new job (full time) and am studying for an MSc in Psychology during the evenings so life is very busy.

I think all I can do is travel back to see my Dad at weekends. This feels grossly inadequate but I'm not sure what else to do. Dad's coping with all this very well - says he feels calm and wants to enjoy the time he's got left. He's got a lot of family and friends nearby and says it's fine for me to see him at weekends and speak over the phone during the week.

I am worried about how Dad's quality of life may deteriorate (as a psychology student it's very apparent to me how important the brain is for everything you do!). I also don't know how I'm going to cope without Dad. He's a role model, mentor and friend. Whenever I've got a problem or am not sure how to handle a situation - be it work, relationships, whatever - I call him. I do have a long-term partner who is very supportive but my Dad's my Dad. All this forces you to grow up fast.

All people keep saying to me is 'you never really get over losing a parent', and I don't know why they keep telling me that as if it will make me feel better, but it just makes me feel hopeless for the future.

If anyone has any advice, I'd be very glad to hear it.

Carly

 

Comments (1)

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  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    08 March 2017 at 16:07

    Hello Carly,

    The news that your dad's cancer has metastasised sounds a huge shock - and even now he's had some palliative radiotherapy, I can imagine you're understandably in turmoil.

    It sounds difficult at the moment to see your dad on a daily basis, and it may be a bit overwhelming for him too, at this stage. Breaking him in gently with weekend visits, till symptoms worsen, seems a good halfway point for now...with regular phone calls, texts/skype, to keep that daily contact the nurse was talking about?

    He's got lots of support, by the sound of things, at home...and your family will be keeping you in the picture too, about how he's doing.

    It's difficult to know how he might deteriorate...it depends in part, whereabouts in the brain the metastases have developed. He's likely to be tired from his radiotherapy for now, so just needs time to rest and see how well it holds the cancer back.

    Your dad is special...you already know that. Having a plan for the future might help. Alerting your new employers about the situation, and that there may be a point where you need to dash off in a hurry, or may need some carer's leave...most employers are sympathetic to situations like this. Also alerting your course tutors etc, as this may be impacting on your studies understandably.

    It may be over the next weeks/months you say the things you'd want your dad to know, he'll know you love him...but it never hurts to reiterate that. I'm sure you've asked, but your other family members may also be needing support, so being available as a listening ear can be a help.

    If you live in London, you may be near our Maggie's West London Centre - you'd be welcome to drop in and talk with others there, who'll understand what you are going through. We also have an online 'Family, Partners and Friends' group, which meets on Monday evenings - 7pm - 8pm, which may be a help? (Follow the link here for information on our groups, and how to join).

    I'll message you to say hello...and you can get in touch with Robyn or myself anytime to talk things through...

    Warm wishes

    Sue

     

     


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