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Having trouble coping with my dad's liver cancer diagnosis. Sadness is overwhelming..

Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2012

My dad is 62 years old and recently diagnosed with liver cancer. I am 34 years old and my dad is the best father I could ask for. I don't know how to process this... eventually I will not be able to pick up the phone and talk to him or see him on holidays. I have no kids yet and so they will never know him and I feel guilty about never giving him that experience. He was a marine and so I always saw him as this strong tough person who could make it through anything. To see that same person cry and say he is not ready for his life to end and then see him preparing to leave this earth hurts me so badly. It is a pain I have never experienced before and I don't know what to do with it. I hate cancer and what it is doing to our family and so many other families. I just was always on the outside looking in and now I know first hand. I don't know how to comfort my dad or what the right thing to say is... is there a right thing to say? I feel so overwhelmed with this roller coaster of emotions. I wake up everyday thinking I was having a nightmare and then realize that this isn't going away. I get up for him though, appreciating every second I have and I am with him even if I feel like curling up in a ball and shutting the world out. How do you survive emotionally? I just want to scream sometimes... all the time really!!

Posts: 1491
Joined: Aug 2010

Dannielle, it is different for everyone and yet it is the same for everyone. Doing just this, posting to a support site, is a very good start in dealing with the emotions you are experiencing.

The right thing to say to your dad: that you love him. That you are here to help in whatever way you can, and that means everything from doing his housework to buying his groceries to going with him to the doctor. Laughing when he laughs, giving him space when he needs it - just being his daughter.

It is very hard. I hope you have help, Dannielle. Come back and let us know how you are and your father are doing.

Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2012

Thank You for responding. I do have help, it is me and my step mom. We have a lot of family as well. Even though I have all these people in my life I still feel so alone. I get more comfort talking to people like you who understand exactly what I am going though. I know we have a long road ahead but I am doing everything I can for my dad. This isn't about me and my dad is going through far worse. He has taught me everything I need to know and when he is gone I will live my life in a way that he would be proud of. My biggest struggle right now is not being angry with God. I am having a hard time with that. Anyway Thank You so much and I will keep posted on things.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

Of course you're sad. As one friend pointed out to me, it,would really be sad if you weren't. My husband was 56 when he was dx with stage 4 colon cancer. Treatable, not curable, and life shortening. Those were the doctors words.. My two sons were with me when the surgeon told us this. We were devastated. We were actually blessed with 6 years with many treatments, but we knew that he was just buying time. Every day became a miracle and a chance to say, "I love you." it sounds like you may not have as much time as we did, but it is never long enough. You do have some time to share memories and tell him how much you have learned from him. It's ok to cry with him, too. Try to be in the moment when you are with him. Let him know that you will be alright, even though you can't believe that right now. My husband's greatest concern was leaving me. He, like your father, was always the strong, protective type. I told him often that I was a strong independent woman and would be ok. Not happy, but ok.

Don't forget to take care of yourself, too. I'm sure your stepmother really appreciates your help. Take care, Fay

Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2012

He has liver cancer along with Hep c and cirrhosis. He also has a blocked portal vein which makes it inoperable. He is starting Chemo but like in your case it is not a cure just buying time. It could be 6 months to a year but nobody really knows "when". I just don't take any time for granted. I try to savor every moment and have started making videos on my camera so I can always have them. I don't want to forget his voice and I find some comfort in knowing I can always go back to them when I am feeling down. I don't have children yet so it will be nice to have that to show them when I have a family. He says like your husband that he doesn't want to leave me so I know that is hard for him. I will be okay because I am independent and I have a lot of family support... of course nobody can replace him but it does help. Thank you so much! Really has helped being able to talk about it.

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