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Its the "How" I need help with!

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2006

I'm new here too. I'm a 42 yoa male, the oldest of three, I have two younger sisters and a wife & 4 kids of my own. My dad was diagnosed with Melinoma late in 1998. he was told it had been caught early and underwent a chemo treatment (unknown what. It did not seem to be a big deal)...afterall He's my dad...gonna be here forever!!. I had my own family to take care of. The treatment went well they said (as I knew it would). One year later he has a heartattack and during Xray, find what's believed to be cancer. Yep! its back 14 months to live, nothing they can do! Dad didn't accept that answer and went elsewhere MD Anderson...They said Yep we can help, "we'll cure you or kill you" is what he told us the doctor told him. I wasn't worried...he's my dad...gonna be here forever. He underwent a very aggressive chemo, multiple transfusions, then surgery..I wasn't worried...he's my dad. The treatment worked and he was clear of the cancer...God worked a miricale through the doctors and staff. Now 5 years later, during a follow up check up they find its back, and put him through another "Chemo Light" as he called it, for 6 weeks. The "Chemo-Light" did not work so now hes going back to the hard stuff. Now I'm worried...he's my dad and I know he won't be here forever...
I don't know how to deal with watching him suffer...the vomiting,& weakness. Its like he's turning into an Old feable man in front of my eyes. I only had to watch a very limited amount of time the last go-around. Thank God for my mother and sisters who stayed with him nearly around the clock. I didn't have to watch Or participate in his treatments all that much before because He needed me to keep his small business open for him during the day. So while he was in the hospital during the day, I was Hiding from the cancer effects by running his business and at night I was working my full time job till it was time to open his business the next day. I worked those 20 hour days and was thankfull I didn't have to watch him suffer. My own family suffered because I was gone so much, but we survived .... I can't hide now like I did then.

How do you be of help, how do you be the strong dependable Son and older brother and father to your own kids that everyone expects when you can't stand to watch this. I'm not questioning God, my faith OR asking anyone as to WHY..I just need to know HOW!!!!! Afterall He's my father and He's not gonna be here forever. I can't hide this time and this go around probably counts the most. I can't let him down, but I just don't know HOW!!!!!
I'm so sorry for the length...Ive just never let this out before to anyone

Anonymous user (not verified)

First of all, I can't believe your message has been up for a week with no replies.
Soon as I read it I knew I had to SAY SOMETHING even though my situation is somewhat different from yours.
You see, in my case, I was the one with cancer...
3 diagnoses over a span of 10 years. (I am doing well now, thank you. This is not about ME.)
I had good family support (for the most part), but I could tell that they were struggling mightly with what was happening to me.
And then some years later I became caregive to both my parents and watched my mom struggle with and finally sucumb to a very debilitating illness.
So, here is what I learned:
IT IS ALWAYS HARDER ON THE CAREGIVER THAN ON THE PATIENT. We look at our loved one suffering and think 'how can they stand it?', when, in fact, they are usually holding up better than we are.
Our feelings of helplesness and our inability to 'make it all better' rest heavy upon us.
EVERY SITUATION CAN ALWAYS BE BROKEN DOWN INTO MANAGABLE PIECES. Sometimes we survive by concentrating on getting through the next 15 minutes...never mind the rest of the day. And by reminding ourselves that whatever 'this' is won't last forever. (No, your dad will not live forever, would you want him to?)
Your dad does not expect miracles from you. He probably just wants to spend some quality time with you playing checkers or whatever the two of you have always done as best he can. Any taste of 'normal' which you can insert into this very difficult time in his life I am sure he will greatly appreciate.
So try to relax and just be the son your father knows and loves. It is the greatest gift you could ever give him.
May God bless and keep you both.

Posts: 34
Joined: Nov 2005

Hey there...I just lost my dad to cancer in March of 2006. He was diagnosed in November of 2005 but had suffered COPD and heart disease prior and his body just gave out. I know your story, reading it I felt I was reliving it. Im the youngest of four, and we all had our part in helping dad with his struggle. My mom is a rock and my oldest sibling my brother, he did whatever it took, watching football with dad, bringing him in the house after a doctors visit. My other sister did all the research and bought all the things to make life easier on dad while he declined. My one sister lives about 45 minutes away and did all she could to keep herself from crying whenever she came around...me I just sat with him, everyday after work, even if he slept while I was there which he did a lot. I just visited him everyday, most of the time didnt say a word, but was with him. We were all there when he died in ICU. You dont get over it, the cancer, the fight, the constant worry, the hospital visits...you get thru it..and the only way is together. Everyone does the best they can with what they know how. Credit yourself for doing the best you can, and just for loving your dad if it shows by keeping his company together, than it sounds like your doing great! Good luck and many of prayers to you and your family. Remember never give up hope! These patients fight so hard, we have to fight along with them!

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