Not Diagnosed But Preparing

BillO60 Member Posts: 72

I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy a couple of days ago and the results showed a circumferenial rectal mass from 5cm to 15cm from the anal verge and doctor's are concerned about maligancy. However, biopsy results have not come back yet so at the moment I'm just preparing myself.  I'm not a pessimist but my wife passed away from colon cancer in 1999 at the age of 46 after battling it for 5 years so I'm somewhat familiar with this trip. I'm also a former EMT and LPN and although I'm no expert I know how to ask questions and do the necessary research and I'm not as terrified as I probably should be.  Maybe a bit stunned at the moment.

When my wife was first diagnosed our daughter was a teenager and had a very difficult time dealing with her mother's illness. There was alot of denial and anger and acting out on her part and then eventually guilt after my wife passed away.  My daughter is 37 now and has a son who's turning 16 in August. She lives in Oregon and I live in So. Cal so we're not geographically close.

She's had a tough time because my grandson has been developmentally and emotionally challenged most of his life due to being born 4 months premature.  He's been a full-time job for her for most of his life but with treatment he's come a long way and my daughter is finally able to start looking for a life outside the home. (Actually, I'm pretty proud of her. She's taken what she's learned in life and is applying it to social work.) 

So, now I'm wondering, if I get the worst case scenario news from the biopsy, do I tell her and when?  I've pretty much been alone since my wife died and have been self-sufficient. I know I'm going to have to rely on my own resources which are minimal but I'm mentally prepared for that. If I thought I could get away with it I wouldn't tell my daughter at all because I don't want to cause her the additional stress.  I know that's not an option but I'm wondering what others have chosen to do in this type of situation?

Thanks for any insights.





  • TraceyUSA
    TraceyUSA Member Posts: 316

    I'm sorry you find yourself here asking these questions.  I know waiting for results can be the hardest part sometimes.

    As for telling your daughter, that is a decision only you can make.  Not having kids myself, it's hard to advise you on this but being a daughter myself, I'd be upset if my parent did not tell me.  I chose (and still choose) who to tell and who not to tell as I am a very private person.  There is no right and wrong it's what you feel comfortable with.

    Wishing you all the best,


  • mp327
    mp327 Member Posts: 4,440 Member

    I am sorry about the troubling findings on your scope procedures and I can certainly understand your anxiety and fear.  I am also sorry to hear of the loss of your wife.  How difficult that must have been for you and your daughter.  

    I hope you will not have a long wait for the biopsy results.  In my opinion, waiting for test results has been one of the most emotionally draining parts of having cancer.  Of course, I hope that you will get the best possible news that whatever this mass is will be benign.  Should you, however, be told that you have cancer, please know that the members on this site are very supportive and that we will be here for you.

    As for telling your daughter, I will share with you what I did regarding telling my mother when I was diagnosed.  She is elderly and lives about 600 miles away from me.  People of her generation tend to think of cancer as a death sentence and I knew she would not only be worried sick about me but also not be able to be encouraging and hopeful, which would have made my battle more difficult.  I did not tell her about my cancer until I was completely through with treatment and had gotten the all clear on my follow-up scans and exams, which was over 5 months from the date of diagnosis.  During treatment, I remember calling her and chatting with her as though nothing was wrong, all the while being in great pain and feeling very sick.  It was a very difficult act to pull off and I'm not sure I would do it again.  She was very angry about not knowing when I finally told her, but did finally admit that she probably wouldn't have handled it in a way that would have been helpful to me.  She has since developed dementia and doesn't even recall that I once had cancer.

    My best advice is to go with your gut, but should you choose not to tell your daughter, be prepared for her to be very angry when she eventually finds out.  If you have to undergo the same treatment I had, I can assure you that there will be some bad days, making it difficult to act and/or sound like nothing is wrong.  

    I wish you all the very best and I hope you'll let us know what your biopsy results show when they are in.  Take care.


  • eihtak
    eihtak Member Posts: 1,473 Member


    As you probably already realize every family or relationship operates on different dynamics.  I am the kind of person that feels like people don't recognize my strength or value my opinion if they choose to "spare" or not share their burdens with me (especially family.)  When I personally am presented with a challenge, I take a little time to process the information and then have always shared it with my children, husband, close family and friends.....even before knowing things like biopsy results.  I have found it gives them the time to process the "what-ifs" in the event it is an issue to deal with, and they respect me for trusting they can handle this and not assuming it would be too stressful for them.

    Again, you know your daughter and what and how she typically deals with things, and it sounds like she has had to endure a lot of life experience, (which has probably made her even stronger than you give her credit for) is difficult to rely on others and while being self-sufficient is a positive attribute, I have learned that making others (like my children) feel needed, even just by talking to about my situation, actually relieves stress for them on some level, as they feel they are actively involved and helping.

    I am currently dealing with a recurrance of my anal cancer from initial dx and treatment 4 years ago, and while my children are all in their 20's with several young children of their own and busy lives, I have felt confident in sharing every step of my journey with them, and have gained much strength and confidence from the support and prayers of others.

    I will pray that the answer that is best for your situation is the one you choose, and that in the end the biopsy results are in your favor.

    Be well......


  • horsepad
    horsepad Member Posts: 146 Member
    I kept my cancer a secret

    I kept my cancer a secret from my mom and told everyone not to mention it.  Mom lost my dad and sister to cancer.  I knew she would be devasted and she had a frail heart already.  I made excuses why I couldn't visit her and I talked to her several times a day.  Once I was able and visited her and she never knew I had cancer.  I have been cancer free almost 4 years from stage 4 cancer.  a hard decision to make.  I told my children.  Best wishes to you.  I will pray for you.  Prayer is what has kept me here.

  • lp1964
    lp1964 Member Posts: 1,239 Member
    Dear Friend,

    Cancer (if that's what turns out to be) and the treatment is a heavy load to bare. You have to be strong and you need all the help you can get. I myself found that before I told anyone my world was very small and lonely. Having no references you cn make stupid decisions. The more people I told the easier the load got because I didnt have to live with this great secret. You will find that the burden you will put on people is not taken as such, but an oportinity to help you, support you and inspire you. 

    I wish you the best possible outcome and the strength to deal with it.