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words of motivation

liv914
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 2006

My father was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the end of June. It has been a long hard road for him (like so many of you out there). He's in Philly and I am in upstate NY. I head to Philly to see him tomorrow and lately he has been very, very down. He has had a mass on his spine removed and will be receiving radiation for mets to his brain next week. Not to mention, chemo.
My question is....to all of you stage IV survivors out there, what advice do you have for my dad? What words of wisdom can I print out to bring to him that will give him a lift and motivation. He really needs to hear some of you....

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Have you tried coming to the chat room yet? There are many stage 3 and stage 4 folks and what they have to say is very inspiring. They have been there and back and have great advice about rad. and chemo. I recently had surgery for stage 1 and even though that is baby cancer next to what your dad is going through, the surgery about flattened me. I have also had breast cancer and I know that the emotional effects of being first diagnosed were major problems in and of themselves. I did not want to hear that being diagnosed with cancer commonly brings depression on. Doctors have medicines for depression and many cancer patients need them. And sometime the doctor needs to be consulted because the very pain medications they prescribe to older adults are bringing on some of the problems. I don't know how old your Dad is, but if he is over 50, he has to be extremely careful of interactions and overmedication. Talking to a support group or a trained medical social work counselor also helps. Some people prefer the anonimity of the internet. Others prefer support groups through their local hospital. The Wellness Community offers support groups for free in many communities and also over the web. The support in the chat room here is another internet option. Your local Cancer Society should be able to suggest more possibilities. Or you can call the 1-800 number for this website to get the National desk. You can also read the personal web pages on this website for even more first person stories. They are great! Good luck!

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi. I'm a five year survivor of lung cancer, stage 3a. I, like everyone here, know the feelings, of shock, fear, despair and depression of being diagnosed with cancer. We know the beating that we take in the course of our treatments. We try, every day, to keep a positive attitude, and to fight back. I was 67 when diagnosed as inoperable/incurable. For me, at times, it all seemed so futile, but when all else failed, I guess that I was just too damned ornery to give in. I put my faith in my doctors and God, and, sure enough, I made it!
For a short whle, after diagnosis, I got into the "woe is me" thing. Of course, that was no help, - to me or anyone else. Then I started to look around to see all the loving, caring people who rallied to help me. No, - they didn't form a large crowd in my room. But every day, in some way, there was someone caring for me, someone helping me or my family, doing the best that they could to help, in any way posible.
I then decided to get involved in my treatment and do everything possible to beat my cancer. The going was rough, at times, but it was do-able. Your Dad is in the fight of his life, but HE CAN WIN!
Many of us, have won, and we are here to help. Please give your Dad my (our) best wishes.

liv914
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 2006

Thank you cabbott and plymouthean!

Great words of wisdom that will help my dad I know. Keep 'em coming friends!

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi liv914,

As you know, I'm not a cancer patient but I am a caregiver. To be honest, I've never tapped into my mother's emotions. She has been stoic before cancer and I wanted to keep her that way by limiting what I tell her about her cancer. By that, I'm not withholding the facts of where her cancer is. She knows the treatments and the possible side effects. What I absolutely refuse to go over with her is any pessimistic prognosis. I didn't want to hear any prediction by the oncologist. And I still don't.

Meanwhile, my mom has been propped up emotionally by her solid group of friends and extended family. I don't know what your father's social life is but socialization is important, if anything to get his mind off of his disease. Laughter can take the edge of dealing with the physical misery of the onslaught of cancer. I didn't like the moments when my mom would sit alone doing nothing. That's idle time that gets her fears working overtime. So I tried to keep her busy with entertainment, even if it's just listening to soothing music. If your dad has favorite music, play that for him. Even if friends can't actually come to visit him, they can call him, which is actually more convenient for all involved. I didn't want people to depress my mom with talking about cancer so I encouraged them to talk about the stuff they had chatted about before the cancer - whether it was serious or plain silly. I told them to let my mom lead if she wanted to talk about her illness or not. But she shouldn't be reminded both by her physical condition and the discussions she had cancer.

I would advise you to remind your dad that right now as his physical condition is still debilitated, his emotions will be proportional. You feel lousy physically, so of course, you'll be miserable emotionally as well. But as his physical condition improves (he shouldn't put pressure on himself on how fast), he will surely and gradually feel better emotionally. And that is true for all his loved ones, too. Our emotions are inextricably tied to their physical well-being. It's as if we're taking joy and pride in the littlest achievements as seeing a baby take her first step.

The surgery no doubt has taken a lot out of him. My mother had minimally invasive surgery with pleurodesis, yet it took her several weeks to get out of that fatigue funk. Before all of that, she was so frustrated there wasn't a simple cure where she could just take a pill and it would all go away (that was before we knew she had cancer). There is that inherent frustration your dad must be feeling, as well.

Though oncologists will run through all the possible side effects, don't let that scare your dad. Initially I was feeling bad my mom would suffer more discomfort. Fortunately, she's been relatively free of the uncomfortable side effects. Well, she did have a little of the numbness in her fingers and toes after 5 rounds of chemo but that went away by her most recent chemo treatment. She's slowly losing her hair.

So, everybody does react differently to chemo and radiation. Don't put the horse before the cart in unnecessarily worrying about the physical effects of therapy.

Recovery takes time. Put faith that each day will be better.

I hope your visit will brighten up your dad's spirit. And hopefully, the messages on this board will help. If he doesn't know about this site yet, you should get him here.

I wish him the best.

ernrol's picture
ernrol
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

Many people are having good results from some of the newer targeted drugs. I was given Tarcveva along with chemo Carboplatin and Taxol. My story is posted here. If you have any questions about any of the things I did you can e-mail me. You can read my story on my web page, just type ernrol in the search box above, and then click on ernrol to the right; my diet and supplements are to boost my immune system. Most of all stay positive,
Ernie

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you and your Dad. . . the time immediately following a diagnosis is devastating, but with perserverance and faith, you WILL make it through. Your Dad will need lots of help-- is he alone in Philly, or does he live with someone? I hope you and he have a good visit together. My advice at this point is talk to him as much as he is comfortable with-- my mother has told me that sometimes all she needs to do to vanquish fear is to share the fear with her family. . .

My best to you and your Dad.

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