Jun 29, 2010 - 1:43 am
My father turned 49 this month, and he called me on his birthday to tell me that his doctor found a mass on his pancreas and spotting on his liver. That was three weeks ago. Throughout the next week my family, which includes my mom, two older sisters, and their husbands, went through oncologist appointments, those dreadful moments of waiting, and finally a biopsy which confirmed that he has stage four pancreatic cancer. My family has always been really close, and this is a huge blow and a complete shock. A little less than a week ago his doctor found blockage in his liver and put a drainage tube in. Two days later he was at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to get a second opinion, but the treatment options that they can give are no different than the cancer center that he lives less than two miles from. He isn’t eligible for clinical trials because of his poor liver function, or the whipple procedure because the cancer has already spread to his liver. His first round of chemo is on Thursday, and I can’t be there because I live four hours away and can’t afford to miss work. I’m all out of vacation days, but it is so hard not to be there for him, especially when both of my sisters will be.
I’m 23 years old, and I’ve never really experienced such a difficult time with someone so close to me. I get angry at the smallest thing, things that I probably wouldn’t have even noticed before. I spend half of my day on the verge of tears, and I am so sick of people asking me if I’m doing ok. I know that I should probably talk to someone, but I have no idea how to find a good counselor or therapist. The hospital that he is going to has a psychiatrist on staff that specializes in talking to cancer patients and their family, but as I said before, it is four hours away. Does anyone have any tips on finding a good therapist that has experience dealing with cancer? Any coping mechanisms that help? Any books I should be reading? I am just at a complete loss for how to deal with such a life changing situation. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.