New here- dad has stage 4 colon cancer and i'm away in grad school

Hi there,

I'm new to this and wanted to find some people to talk to about this. I'm 24 years old, and live in Indiana. I'll get my Masters in May. My parents live in Pennsylvania. My mom was diagnosed with leukemia last year, then my sister with thyroid cancer (they're both doing well), then most recently my dad. 

They removed the giant tumor and he starts chemo tomorrow, although it has spread to distant lymphnodes near his lungs. 

The Doctors say he has about a 10% chance of living 5 years, and I'm not doing so well dealing with this. 

I can usually only come home a few times a year for holidays since I'm in grad school. Does anyone have any positive things to say about this? Any success stories? Ways to be there for him when I can't actually be there? Other things we could try? 


Thanks in advance. 


  • traci43
    traci43 Member Posts: 773 Member
    Wow, that's a lot going on

    I'm sorry you're having to deal with this a grad school too.  There are some members here that are caregivers and my be able to help with dealing with this.   Personally, I wouldn't believe the statistics the doctors throw around.  I was given an 18% chance of living 5 years, 9 1/2 years ago and I'm still here.  There are other stage IV survivors on the page as well, some have been around longer than I have.  There are new drugs and protocols being developed all the time and so, to me, the statistics are meaningless.

    If you're both tech savvy, use Face Time or Skype to keep in touch.  Talk about the future and include him in that future.  When I was diagnosed, my husband and I were only married 2 years and he was in the middle of his MBA program.  He wanted to take a semester off while I was on chemo and I wouldn't let him.  We kept focused on a future together, and I believe that positive approach helped me.

    Good luck in grad school, and best wishes to all your family that are dealing with cancer.  Traci

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,754 Member
    Five years from when?

    Who knows how long your dad's tumour has been growing inside of him, so how can they say five years.  

    Most of us stage III and IV's get the 'five year' expiration date stamped on us. You will find many here who have surpassed that five years and are going strong.  Sure, we have members who pass away, and some have been battling less than the five years, some more, but there are also many who are rolling along just fine, like Traci who posted above. 

    It is natural to worry, especailly when your dad has just been diagnosed. There's a time to grieve the diagnosis, but then you must move on. The last thing your dad wants is to be treated like he is going to die. Like Traci said, make plans for the future, for many years of joy. 

    Your dad's a lucky man, to have a daughter who is willing to reach out and ask for help.  I wish you both a long and prosperous future. 


  • impactzone
    impactzone Member Posts: 549 Member
    edited January 2017 #4
    Sorry you are here. It is

    Sorry you are here. It is often tougher on the family than the patient. You can read my story but it is now 10 years as a stage 4 cancer patient. I saw my kids graduate from elementary and high school and if lucky a couple more years they will get out of the UC system.  there is hope. Be as aggressive as you can. I loved surgery anytime I could get it. Its a marathon not a sprint.



  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
    He's had the first and most

    He's had the first and most important part of the treatment which is the surgery. Anything else is secondary. Five years? How could they possibly know that? because they looked up an average? Whatever. Nobody can know how this will go. No doctor has the right to assume anything when it comes to length of life as previous posts will attest to.

    Just over two years ago I had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot to my lung. I had at least five cardiac arrests, that's the minimum number I've been told, or as many as seven. I ended up with a stroke, brain swelling, kidney failure, I can't remember what else. The ICU specialist in neurological issues asked my husband and daughter if they should keep reviving me because the statistics showed that I only had a three in a thousand chance of surving with my mental abilities intact. He said I likely wouldn't survive but if I did I probably wouldn't know them and would probably be in a nursing home for the rest of my life. He even said that because I've had cancer it might be a kinder way to let me go.

    Well, I beat those odds. I did survive and I'm exactly the same as I was mentally. My point is that odds are made to be broken when it comes to our health. They just don't know, they really don't. As has been said so often on this forum, unless his doctor is going to show up with a gun in the timeframe given, he doesn't really know what your dad's journey will be. I was told a couple of months ago by my new oncologist that I might have ten years to live. I was gutted at first. Its a fair amount of time but it would mean I'd be gone by age 63. That's pretty young. It took me a few weeks to get back into fighting mode and think 'nope, I'll show you'. Then the other day I happened to be reading reviews on my onc and a few people mentioned that she is bad for not fully looking up a patient's history and that she's bad for telling people they have less time than they actually have.  

    I hope your dad will be around for a long time. As said previously, there are advances being made all the time. Keep thinking positively and encourage your dad to do so as well. It's the best thing we have to fight with.


  • Ladyboots
    Ladyboots Member Posts: 6 Member
    similar stories

    My husband and I live near Nashville TN and our daughter is in collage in Detroit, MI getting her Bachelers degree in Nursing, she graduates in May also. On December 6, 2016 my husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Just as our daughter was getting ready for her semester final exams. I didn't want to tell her the news and upset her before exams, but I felt it would be unfair to her if something should happen during her fathers surgery and she didn't know.

    Good news, she aced her exams and got all A's on her semester grades. Bad news, she feels really bad that she couldn't be here for the surgery or the holidays. All my husband could tell her is that it was most important to him that she get her degree. He knows she loves him and she knows he loves her. Hopefully both dad's will feel well enough to watch their children walk across the stage to receive their degrees. I'm sure that will mean more to both fathers than having you around the house instead of in school. With God and the doctor's help, you will have plenty of time to spend with your father. Just call him a lot and tell him you love him. In my daughter's case, she bought her dad a model Harley Davidson motercycle for Christmas because I promissed my husband he could have a real bike if he beat cancer for two years. Turns out my daughter bought a model of the exact bike my husband wanted, and she knows nothing about motorcycles. Just dumb luck, but it made my husband cry with love for our daughter.

    Little things will let your dad know how much you love him without you being thier!!