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Enjoy LIfe

daughter33
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

My dad was diagnosed 6 months ago with terminal mesothelioma and he is having a difficult time. How do you get a terminally ill person to enjoy every day they have left and make the most of it? I spent the weekend with my parents and my mom vented to me about my dad and asked me how to deal with it and for me to talk to my dad. Every morning when he has to take his arsenal of medication he cries and throws the pills back into the cabinet. Everything is making my dad angry and upset. He flies off the handle at everything. We try and get my dad to understand that he/we need him to spend as much time as he can with his grandkids and family. But how do you get him to see that enjoy everyday and try and make as many memories he can. I fear that my 8 yr old son will only remember that his grandpa was too sick to watch him play at the park or playing soccer. I want my son to have the same fond memories of his grandpa that I had growing up as his daughter. Any advice on how to get mhy dad to just enjoy everyday and treasure the time he does have left no matter how short it may be.

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 1984
Joined: Aug 2011

I'm so sorry you have to be here. This is such a difficult time
for everyone and my heart goes out to you and your family.

Counselling might be a good idea. He may be stuck in one of the stages
of grief with this. It would probably help if he could talk or share with
others in a similar circumstance as well. He does have a right to be angry,
upset, etc. - that is normal.

I don't have a lot of details to go by here. It might also help you and the
family to consider some counseling as well. Has there been discussion of
hospice care? From what I've read on this site, many caregivers speak very
highly of hospice.

I'm sure others will chime in here with good advice.
I wish all of you strength and peace in dealing with this.

Hugs and positive thoughts,

Jim
DX: DLBL 4/2011, Chemo completed 10/2011, currently in remission. :)
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Bearsmile
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2012

Hello Some doctors use time lines and others don't. It is tough. With my Mom we knew time was short when hospice was called in but before they could even start she passed away after being out shopping during the day. My Dad is going through chemo for the 3rd time and the chemo is simply giving him more time. One doctor said 6 months to 6 years. A different doctor said 1 day at a time. She suggested we make plans and if they don't happen then that is okay. It is hard not knowing. I am struggling with it right now but I will be meeting with a social worker with my Dad to get some help. I am lucky that my Dad wants to live and is able to do so right now. He is out fishing since right now he feels good. I am sure there will be days when he gets home that will be tough but I am learning to focus on the positive. I would definatly say that counseling helps. I think time lines are not good since for a long time we were waiting for things to get worse and so depression had set in but then he asked a different doctor and after that things got better. We were reminded that there are constantly new meds and treatments out there and that a positive attitude can go a long way. I know this is easier said than done. Hang in there. You are not alone. My Dad will tell me and others that we are all going to die at some point and only God knows when that will be. I could get hit by a car or have a tornado strike or any other crazy unknown thing and be gone tomorrow. Try to take each day as it comes and make the best of it. Your positive attitude and support will only help your parents. Take care and I hope you are able to get some counseling.

daughter33
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

You're right I do belive my parents need to talk to someone. I have asked them about talking to someone several times since this all started in Novemeber. I truely feel they need to visit with an impartial person. With my mom venting to me about my dad puts me in a very awkward postion. I adore my dad and I hate hearing all this negativity about him from my mom. I understand that she needs to let out some of her feelings. It has to be extremely difficult to be a caretaker and everyday watch that person you care so deeply for failing. Everyone is very aware of the timelines. His doctor has even said you are not dying today at his appts, and that he is doing pretty well. I think it is becuase we know the outcome of this cancer that we can't accept how well he is doing. The research says once a person is diagnosed with stage IV meso, there is only a 7% chace of surviving more than 12 months, which is dishearting and is always in the back of our head.
I think I will talk to my parents some more and really urge them to talk to someone be it thier priest, a social worker, or a hospice worker. They need help. I love my parents and hate seeing where this disease is taking them.
Elizabeth

Bennette
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 2012

Elizabeth,

Hello. I have just recently become my mother's caregiver, she was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer on Feb 28 - this cancer has horrible statistics and she has mets in her femur bone and spine which are causing her tremendous pain right now, just trying to get through the week until radiation treatment starts (solely for pain relief) has been difficult. I wish my mom was angry, instead she is very griefy and starts crying and telling me she doesn't want to do this anymore. I get way more out of telling her that I understand how she feels and that I wouldn't want to do it anymore either, then I reassure her that we are working towards makeing it better so she won't have to be on pain meds (which make her like a drunk, sleepy and without appetite). But I can tell a change in her when I really get her to understand that it is OK to feel that way and normal to feel that way, before I try to provide any encouragement to do something, etc. I think most people who are upset, angry, etc have reason to be that way. Try to acknowledge their reasons and let them know it is ok to feel that way, then find out what might make then feel a little better about it, for just right now. It is hard for them to see much further than right now, especially when it is a condition without a good survival rate, they assume it will just get worse, so if today is bad, tomorrow will be hell. She is doing better when I keep the plans for right now or in the next 15 minutes then when I try to talk to her about tomorrow or next week.

Also, very important, be careful to encourage him to do things HE would normally do and get joy out of. It is easy to think that what makes the rest of us happy will also make the person we are caring for happy. So try to find out what he would like to do and help him do that - baby steps.

Also, definitely get your mom away from him from time to time. I felt 100% better after running errands with my 17 year old daughter, while my sister stayed with my mom, then I did all this past week. I didn't realize how much I missed "normal" stuff until I had a few hours to be normal. Also, my mom gets upset when certain people come by, especially two of her great grandchildren, because she doesn't want them to see her in her present state. I would have never thought of this, so find out or watch for signs when his grandchildren are around, etc. Many people feel they are causing pain to others and this is more of a problem for them, than their condition. So my sister came without her little ones yesterday and my mom was more able to talk with her, more relaxed, than last weekend when the whole family came over. Just a thought, try talking to him alone, without anyone around and really asking him what he likes, what he doesn't, what makes him feel worse, or better etc. It won't be easy and if he won't talk to you, figure out who he will talk to about these things.

Like I said I am new at this, but learning fast and these blogs have helped me tons.

Bennette

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

I don't post as often these days, but today I found 3 posts I just had to comment on. Obviously, this is one of them. My husband fought colon cancer for 6 years before losing that battle. After his first surgery, we were told that his caner was treatable, not curable, and life shortening. The average at that time was 22 months. We were fortunate that we had a strong faith and a strong support system of family, friends, and church family. My husband was amazing and rarely lost his sense of humor. That said, there were some bad days. This is a very scary time for both of your parents. Your mother is facing the loss of her best friend. Your father is most likely worried about her as well as himself. I know that was my husband's greatest worry, leaving me alone. Both parents are also dealing with grief. This was not what they planned. This is not how this time of their lives was supposed to be. Of course, you dad is angry. Your mother probably is, too. Angry and scared. It is a tough combination. We joined a support group which helped a lot. We didn't need meds to get us through, but they might. Suggest that both talk to their drs about what is available. Counseling never hurts. Try to spend as much time as you can with your parents. Your mom needs you as much as your dad does. Hospice is an excellent place for help. Even if your dad doesn't need them yet, they have resources for the whole family including the grandkids. Don't feel that you are responsible to solve your parents' problems, though. They have to do that. You can be there for them, and that is really helpful. Both probably just need to be heard. Help your mom get some time away to go shopping, for a walk, or whatever she likes doing. Hug your dad. Tell him you love him and are sorry he is going through this. Validate his feelings. Take care of yourself and your family, too. Fay

annsher88's picture
annsher88
Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2012

This is such a tough situation. I feel for you! It's so hard to make someone think a certain way, even though, it's true that the only way to get through is to live each day for the now! Try to promote positive thinking and positive reinforcement is what I'd say to focus on.

daughter33
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

Thanks for the kind words. I know it is difficult when it is your personality to worry about every little thing. My dad's docotr literally hit him over the head at his appt. the other day and told him to enjoy life and don't stress about the little things. He is his own worst enemy. In regards to his appt, his lung tumor did change significantly but the dr. it not concerned. His right lung is prefeclty clear and he has no fluid on the left lung So that is good news. Maybe with everyone talking to him about enjoying every day and make the most of it we will see a change....fingers crossed.

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