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Insensitive people

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

So my dad called yesturday a couple of hours after I got the news about my third recurrence. He asked how I was doing so I told him the scan results. Heasked what the doctors plan of attack. I told him that  takes time to determine. So he then proceeded to talk about his ddiarrhea from antibiotics he is taking and asked my advice on how to deal with it since he knows that is part of my life. He never asked how my last scan went three months ago. About two months ago he was telling about a spot on his back that he was worried could be melanoma. He is 89 years old and has repeatedly told me he will be happy when he leaves this world.

So then why does he seem more concerned about his own issues which pale in comparison to mine. Am I wrong to feel this way. He was always a good father but I get way more support from the people I work with. 

I know that I shouldnt let something so stupid bother me when I am now back in the fight but it is this thing that I cant get out of the back of my mind.

Thank God for all of you who understand and listen. Just tell me am I right or wrong about my feelings.

jen2012
Posts: 1188
Joined: Aug 2012

Sorry Jeff. I agree it's insensitive, but my husbands dad does the same thing!! He's in his mid 80s and my husband has not walked unassisted since Sept. He just recently started dressing himself and walking very short distances with a cane, and his dad is always complaining about his back and leg pain. Makes me want to scream. He cares very much though...I've seen him cry several times as soon as he is out of sight of my husband. I'm betting your dad does the same. I guess it's just the way they are, for whatever reason. We too have received more support from friends than most family. Kind of strange, but what can you do. I'm sure you know there are so many people pulling for you and praying for you to be well!

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 839
Joined: Jun 2013

I am very sorry about your new troubles. You have been through this, you are gonna get through it again and things will be fine.

Regarding how people relate to you: the way many people want to connect to you is they express their problems too. It doesn't mean that they don't care, they just want to relate to you. Nobody can I understand something fully they haven't experienced. We, cancer patients couldn't understand what people with multiple sclerosis are going through for example. I'm sure your dad cares and loves you and so do we. 

Let us know how you are doing and what the plan is.

With brotherly love,

Laz

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

I agree with you Laz. MS is a good example. I have often maintained that there are worse diseases than cancer. ALS, Alzhiemer, or worse yet Huntingons disease which is basically a combination of both. How brutal is that. No one could possiby fully understand what people with those diseases are going through.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1338
Joined: Jan 2013

Jeff, I'm sure he's still a good father.

I've noticed that peoples response to Cancer is all over the board. My bestest friend in all the world, just basically ignored it. She lives far away, so we email each day. She would barely mention the cancer, even when I emailed about how hard some of the things I was going through. I was hurt at times, but I learned to live with it. I know she loves me still, its just her way of handling it.

I also had an friend here in town who would burst into tears every time she saw me. That doesn't help either. I think I'd rather have it ignored. 

I'm thinking (because I obviously don't know) that maybe your dads response is just his personal way of handling your disease. I would imagine he is hurting to think that you may preceed him in death. Can you just imagine, being almost ninety, and watching someone you love more than life, struggling to live. 

Deep breath my forum friend. You could even mention it if you feel it wouldn't cause friction. Neither you nor he need that at this point in life. 

Blessings.

karguy's picture
karguy
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

I think your dad loves you,but he is afraid to talk about the cancer.When I talk to my mother about cancer I try to avoid talking about myself because I don't want her to worry.I think it could just be the way your father deals with it.Good luck.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2184
Joined: Oct 2011

He sounds a lot like my mom, who was still alive for the first three years of my having cancer.  She rarely asked me how I was doing, and was very caught up in all of her own physical issues.  But I honestly think that it was fear driving her behavior, rather than selfishness.  She was just plain afraid to find out how I was really doing.  Add in the fact that in her day people didn't even publicly talk about cancer, and it explains her behavior, at least in part.

I had to learn to just accept that she was not going to be the source of much emotional support, and take what I could (luckily) get from friends and other family members.  I'm glad you've got others in your life who can fill this role.

And imo, there is no right or wrong about feelings, and it's totally natural to want our parents to be thoughtful caregivers for us; sadly, I think that many of us who have parents in their 80s or older don't get that from them.

You've got us!  Big hugs~AA

Chelsea71
Posts: 1168
Joined: Sep 2012

Thats really interesting.  I don't blame you for being pissed off.  You too Jen.  It would be festering with me too.  I wonder if it could be guilt.  It sounds like both fathers really love their sons.  I wonder if perhaps they are feeling guilty for living so long while seeing their sons struggle so much?  Maybe they are intentionally looking for their own problems to ease their guilt????  Clearly I'm not a psychologist. I would think it would be the worse thing in the world to watch your "child" go through cancer treatment.  Jeff, you may feel better if you mention it to your Dad.  I tend to hold things like this inside until I explode.  Not the best way!  

ketziah35
Posts: 1143
Joined: Jun 2010

 

First of all I am sorry for your recurrence and offer my prayers. I want to share something with you.

When my mother was diagnosed, my father shut down emotionally. I had to take about a month off work to take care of my mother. He was there, but he didn't and will not talk about my mother's illness. However when she was diagnosed, he went to church and broke down emotionally. He never told us this, but we heard about it through friends. He had cancer before her and could easily talk about it with bothers, but somehow he can't take talking about my mom's. He switches the subject when it comes up. It doesn't exist to him in a way. It is too painful for him to verbalize. I saw something about Nelson Mandela that said a similar thing. He could not express emotions or anything about one of his relatives deaths. His son died of AIDS and spoke about the disease, but his children said he would never talk about his feelings about it or their feelings about it. During the death of his former wife, he went to the hospital, went to the gift shop and bought his children watches- no hugs no comforting words a watch. His family said he did not have the ability to share his feelings with anyone. Do you think your father may be on the same category? I am not defending. 

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

Thank you all for your responses. you are all such beautiful understanding people. I know he loves me and is just trying to block out the pain of reality. When I was first diagnosed I found out that he told his neighbors that I didnt have cancer after my first surgery so I realize he is blocking it out however as you all know us survivors and caregivers dont have that luxery. It is with us all of the time even we are not in the fight.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2184
Joined: Oct 2011

the old "you had surgery! you must be cured" approach.  I had several family members take that angle.

They've been stunned, just stunned, each time I've landed back in surgery. Foot in Mouth

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geotina
Posts: 2047
Joined: Oct 2009

I remember when George was diagnosed in 3/09 and I called my sister telling her there is a tumor, it is cancer, they are doing surgery, the cancer had already spread to the liver and lungs and her response was, Oh, I hope he feels better.  I was dumbfounded by her response, are you kidding me, that is all you have to say.  I thought she would come and spend some time with us at the hospital, etc. but nope, nothing.  Ok I know they live 4 hours away but geez, they are 100% retired.   After that I never called again.   At George's funeral they were all teary eyed and stuff and I thought, where have you been the last three years.  

Ok, I have managed to put it aside, family is family, and I do call from time to time but forgiveness, that will be a hard one.  Her actions broke my heart and that will be a long time healing. 

So I do know exactly how hurtful insensitive people can be.  I'm sorry.

Tina

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

I amsorry to hear that Tina.

Thank you for still contributing here even after loosing George. You have no idea how much I admire you and other caregivers here who have lost thier spouces and still contributing. i dont know if i could do that if I were in your position.

danker
Posts: 731
Joined: Apr 2012

Have him get script for LOMOTIL.  It stops diiarrhea cold.  Being in my 80's as well, it is hard to consider others problems when you have your own.  No your feeling are your feeling !  Just love him and take care of yourself.  GOOD LUCK !!!

sharpy102's picture
sharpy102
Posts: 337
Joined: Apr 2009

Hey there,

 

I think it's not really insensitiveness when your dad acts this way. As others said, they cannot deal with the situation. They cannot deal with their incapability. The fact that there's nothing they can do at all. It's hard to digest, even as a caregiver, even as a friend/relative. When my Mom was sick all of her friends disappeared. The first two months they would call to ask how she is doing, but then even that stopped. I was really really mad at them and hated them all. My Mom was very sad about it, and cried and was wondering what she did wrong that they are all gone now when the most amount of help needed. After she left, I was still mad for a good two years. But through the years I figured this was their way of dealing with the complete incompetence that they cannot help at all. They could not accept, or face the fact that their best friend who was 32 years old at the time is counting her days back. It is not easy for anyone. Some people are the type who go into their little shell and completely withdraw from the whole situations, while others try to "complain" about their health to sort of sympathize with you. They are trying to show you that just as they have problems that they will try to fix, you should not be thinking you are out on the death list, but you're like them, and who needs to fight similarly. Others become very caring, and would put their whole life into your hands if they could help you with that. I know this is hard to digest for you too, but try to think about it this way. If your dad didn't care, or loved you, he would not even be getting in contact with you in any way, indeed, he would've never even cared about you even as a kid, and you would not even know where he lives, or if he is still alive as he would've long time bailed out. He loves you, he just have very hard time!

Have patience, and I wish you peace, and strength....for everything in life!

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 727
Joined: May 2012

I'm 44 and my mom is 75 and I'm her youngest daughter.  My mom has always been very loving and giving although we don't have very deep discussions and she has always had trouble expressing physical love.  When I told my mom I had cancer my mom's exact words were "you can't die, I can't handle any more".  She actually wanted me to promise.  I told her I'd do my best.  As I started treatment my mom opened up to me about living the last few years knowing her life is coming to an end, it's a hard concept.  You're ready but it's still scary.  She's 75.  She said that it's hard going to bed knowing that you may not be here in the morning, it's a hard concept,  I can relate to that feeling although not as imminently as she has to.  We starting talking about life and death and the hardships of getting older.  I'm not dismissing your feelings, I know them very well, I've had so many people say the stupidest things, yesterday I went for my one year after surgery colonoscopy and my friend told me to "lighten up and stop the drama".  I don't think I"m going to speak to her anymore but when it comes to our parents, what I've realized is that we are their kids, they're old and this is very overwhelming for them.  Existing at 89 is overwhelming.  They're looking for us to take care of them as elderly people and instead we have to have people helping us.  So unless your dad was a jerk your entire life, I vote give him a pass. I was very lucky to have my mom be so frank with me and let me know how hard this is for her and that she can't handle it and how hard it is for her to exist at 75.  

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

Your are 100% right Helen. I know he loves me and it is hard on him. I wont give him a hard time. I just had to vent. I agree with you not talking to your friend. Its not drama. Its reality for us.

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3389
Joined: Apr 2010

So glad to hear he loves you and you know it.  As others have said perhaps it's his way of dealing with it.  My birth mother on the other hand, When I called to tell her I had cancer, she said she had heard, and then proceeded to talk about her knees, hips, hands, tiredness, blah blah, blah.  Any Other phone calls after that my cancer was never mentioned, just her aches and pains and putting down what ever brother or sister of mine she angry at that moment. She does not call me, ever.  I know were I stand with her, somewhere under her shoes. She simply doesn't care.

I'm glad your father does, yet, I'm glad you came here to vent about it, because even though you know deep down he cares and this is probably how he deals with it, it still hurts, there's no way it doesn't.  I'm glad we have each other who understand our pain and help by being there for us.  Isn't it wonderful?

Hugs to you,

Winter Marie

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

I am sorry about the relationship with your mother. I am so glad we have each other here. I dont know how I survived without thi site for the first six years that I was fighting cancer.

lilacbrroller's picture
lilacbrroller
Posts: 267
Joined: Jun 2012

I know people who just communicate that way - If I start talking about my vacation I just took, instead of just listening to me and maybe saying things "oh, how nice" they match the story by not missing a beat and launching into a monologue about their vacation.. They listen to me for a nanosecond and they start in about something they did, or have, or whatever..  sickness, travel, just about anything.  Thankfully not all my friends and family are like this, just a few. I actually had a conversation with work colleagues at lunch once that went like this:  

Me:  (talking about something I did, I don't even remember)

Colleague: Well, do you want to hear something more interesting? Here's what I did...

(arrrgh)

I don't think they are being competitive or engagin in oneupmanship - I just think it's how they communicate, or at least with me anyway. chemistry is a funny thing and does change relationships.

that is a very cute goat! Now, let me tell you about MY goat (!!!!) kidding

ditto for liking this board. 

 

atb

Karin

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2184
Joined: Oct 2011

but some people are simply narcissists, who suck up all the emotional energy in any situation.  I'm sorry...it sounds like your birth mom might be one of those people, WM.  They can be very toxic to those around them. Frown

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2900
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Jeff, we often talk here about how each person is different and may respond to treatments differently.  The same is true of peoples' emotional response to our disease.

With some we don't expect much because in the pattern of life they are not emotionally connected with us or are not empathetic to anyone.

We do however expect more from our family...particularly since they are family.  Yet, sometimes those are the ones who seem to step back...many times because they do care and cannot handle the reality that we are sick. 

I am glad that you are assured of your father's love, regardless of how he handles your situation.

I am also very glad that you have your loving wife by your side to be your advocate and emotional support.

Wishing you better days,

Marie who loves kitties

 

teamzach's picture
teamzach
Posts: 35
Joined: Jan 2014

I always felt the same way about Zach's updates....whether they were positive or negative. People have to "relate" to what you are going through. It may be that your Dad just doesn't know what else to say? I think it would be best to confront him. Just let him know how you are feeling. I know... weird for two men to talk this way. But it may be exactly what you need. Or what he needs. No body likes to dicuss Cancer or the "what if's" - I encourage you to be as open as possible.

About a year before Zach died we were lying in bed and he told me that he was going to tell his Dad and brother the next day the prognosis. I asked him if we should go to coffee.. or maybe go over for dinner and his response was interesting. He said: "You may think this is odd. And you may not agree.. but we will go to Mom and Dads house and I well tell them when they are watching TV. Maybe when a commercial comes on. Don't be surprised if it doesn't seem like they are paying attention."

He knew that they are not people who like to talk about serious stuff..but that it had to be done in a non-threatning/emotional way. And it got through... Anyways. I hope this helps in some way.

You have every right to feel the way you do!

Janelle

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks Janelle. I meant to tell you what a wonderful picture of you and Zak. What you are doing contributing here is wonderful.

I am sure Zak would be proud.

Thank you

teamzach's picture
teamzach
Posts: 35
Joined: Jan 2014

Thank you so much. It makes me feel closer to him just knowing he was here and talking to all of you...

Janelle

 

LindaK.
Posts: 302
Joined: Apr 2013

My parents are in their late 80s and my mother suffers from Alzheimers.  We went to see them this past weekend since my husband was hospitalized with his 2nd major surgery (and 2nd cancer removed).  My mother was upset because we weren't paying enough attention to her.  My father was asking my husband all kinds of questions about everything and my mother got this "ticked off" look on her face and started to cry.  I know my old mother is gone, but I asked her what was wrong.  She said "No one is asking me about my problems" which really didn't upset me.  I reminded her that my husband has cancer and will have to face treatment once again in less than 1 year.  She gave me "the look" again and I told my husband it was time to go.  I know she can't help it and has no clue what we are going through.  My brother in law is battling cancer now, too, and my sister had breast cancer 3 years ago.  She is not interested in hearing about anything to do with cancer, other than telling other family members "so and so is REALLY bad"

I know they are in their own little world and I have had to remove myself from letting it bother me.  I also have a stepdaughter who is not concerned with her father's well being, only wants attention on herself and everyone to feel sorry for HER.  I just can't play those games anymore.  All you can control is how you react to people and I feel empowered that I don't care what I say to certain people anymore.  I'm not rude, just honest.  I think some people just don't know what to say since they are scared themselves.  Try to take in with a grain of salt, I know that has helped me.

Linda

UncleBuddy
Posts: 530
Joined: Aug 2013

My dad has the beginnings of dementia and is concerned more about keeping sharp and taking care of himself. He lives with my brother and is his primary caqretaker. I live 25 minutes away. I call daily, check on them often, but I'm not there daily. I have to get them closer to me so I can be of more help. It frustrates me, but I know he's old and can't help it. He does the best he can.

I have one sister who is a nurse and aside from an occasional call, she is not involved. She lives out of state and keeps her distance. I have another sister who lives nearby but her focus is her husband, family and friends. She will help when I ask, but I ALWAYS have to ask her to help. My brother and dad deserve better. Yes, they have me to do everything for them but it is draining. People just don't get it. My poor brother never complains and just goes with the flow. He has an incredible attitude. I am so in awe of him.

Don't take other people's comments, or lack of, to heart. People sometimes don't know how to react or what to say. At least your dad asks you how you are and what your plan is. There are people like my sister who don't even bother to call my brother, unless it's an obligatory call for a birthday or Christmas. How sad!

I hope all goes well with your plan of action. Kick cancer's butt!! :)

Lin

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

I understand that most people dont know what to say and I know my dad loves and is scared but it is still tuff to deal with. Everyone else can shut it out from time to time but I cant and I am starting to realize my wife cant shut it out either. I really hoped that she got some sustained releif. She is an awesome woman and deserves better.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 4207
Joined: Feb 2009

Everyone shares their emotions differently.  My one brother said, wow I'm glad I got checked out a couple years ago so I'm not going through what you are.  What a dummy.  Call it inappropriate - sure, but that's him.  I'm glad you know you're dad loves you.  He is asking for your advice because he is scared for you and doesn't want to deal with it.  Sometimes people just can't and they will avert to whatever is easiest.  His is just not dwelling because he doesn't want to know.  It's ok.  Dealing with my mom's illness was hard for me and it was something that I'd want to leave alone as well.  She's gone now and wish things were different but I'm sure she knew that my love was as strong for her when not talking about it as when we were.  Good luck.

Kim

janderson1964
Posts: 1531
Joined: Oct 2011

I have a good one for this discussion. I just remembered when I was first diagnosed the human resourse guy for the company I work for called me up and said"Well you will do anything to get out of work". I know he was trying to be funny  but come on he is the HR guy and that is the best he can do.

LindaK.
Posts: 302
Joined: Apr 2013

NOT funny, what the heck do they do anyway?

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1338
Joined: Jan 2013

That reminded me of about four comments I got when I was first diagnosed. "Oh, my .... (fill in th blank) died of that."    For goodness sakes! How on earth do they think thats an appropriate comment? 

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