What words of support would you offer?

Hi friends,

As I explained before, my dad who is 62 years old just learned on December 1st that he has Stage II Esophageal Cancer. He had an Esophagectomy on Dec 14th, and then another surgery the following day due to internal leakage. He is still in the hospital recovering (and it's Jan.2/12).

He seems very down lately. He is not internet savy, and often tells me to stay off the internet, that it will only make me more upset. He doesn't quite understand that there are benefits to the internet such as meeting all of you. Anyways, I'm very positive after hearing all of your stories and words of wisdom, but he doesn't seem so positive some days.

He meets with the Oncologist on Jan. 11/12 (Dr. Noble in Sudbury, ON, Canada) and we are praying that Dr. Noble can shed a positive light on all of this and attack this aggressively. (I will report back with more information on his status after the appt)

It's not like my dad to ever give up, in fact him being in this position really takes him out of his element. He is very active, and the rock to our family. He just recently retired and bought his dream home out on the lake. He knows he has lots to live for, I think just idling in the hospital for days on end is depressing for him

Can you share some ideas of thoughts of what I can say or do to give him that drive again, that fighting spirit that he usually has.

Any ideas is greatly appreciated!

P.S I have written on this board many times, but it seems very slow and sometimes bucks me off. Anyone else experience that?

Thanks again,

Jennifer---a.k.a Proactive Daughter


  • TerryV
    TerryV Member Posts: 887
    Depression isn't uncommon with EC
    I've seen it mentioned here and I've seen it in my husband. Nick was diagnosed as a Stage 3 at 48 years old - went through rads, chemo & surgery and came out the other side. :) He has trouble adjusting to the "new" him. Nick is an outdoors kind of guy, a hiker. Surgery took his muscle tone, and his stamina. He feels he's aged 20 years. Those days are difficult to pick up from.

    We've found a couple of things that work for us. Nick infrequently takes dexamethazone to aid his eating. It also boosts his attitude and makes for a happier day. But dexamethazone is a steriod and cannot be taken long term. The other thing that works to bring him to back to reality is sharing the stories of others here on the forum. Nothing like sharing a story of someone with more challenges to make him appreciate his comparatively "light" load. Please know that I don't do this to make light of anyone, but to shake Nick into appreciating what he has. Some days it's easy to get too narrowly focused on your own navel lint.

    Other than that, making short term goals, things he would enjoy, may put a spark back in his eye. It's always nice to have something to look forward to, just don't go out too far. I think it's best if goals are "touchable" and not just pipe dreams.

    As far as the forum "bucking you off" - this is a really frustrating forum. It seems to have hiccups fairly frequently. Many here recommend typing your post in Word or Notepad prior to posting. That way if you get dropped, you still have your thoughts intact somewhere and not just lost to the Internet.

    Love & Hugs to you and your father! Thank you for being there for him :)

  • GerryS
    GerryS Member Posts: 227 Member
    Stay positive......It will get better.................
    Jennifer, What a beautiful testiment to your father. I also was Stage 2, nearly 2 years ago, watching my family rally around me as I went to surgery and follow up chemo. You are doing what you need to do, Stay informed, be positive, and be there for your dad. Depression is part of this diagnosis and recovery. There are smiles and laughter and good times in the future. God Bless you and your family.

  • Rick0311
    Rick0311 Member Posts: 38
    what words of support....
    I was diagnosed in April 2011 and had chemo and radiation from April – August with Surgery August 31 2011. It took me 13 days in the hospital the first time and then a return trip for 3 days, failure to thrive. The depression is the hardest thing for me to handle. I am still trying to get used to the new me that is 70 pounds lighter with much less stamina and energy. Just being there for your dad is possibly the best thing you can do for him. Just keep telling him that things will get better and reassuring him. Yes it is hard and yes it hurts but you can get through it. Keep your chin up and your attitude upbeat, I know that is hard to do but having been on both sides of the fence, I can tell you it makes a huge difference. I lost my dad to lung cancer in 2004. Friends and family have helped me a lot also. Having a friend just stop by or call unexpectedly to say Hi can change my outlook and my day instantly for the better. Remember that you are both going through this, neither of you are alone. There are a lot of services and help out there for both of you, use them. Life has given us lemons, we just have to figure out how much lemonade we can make !!

    Richard (Rick) Watson
    Neoga, Illinois

    DX – 0411
    EC – T2N2M0
    MIE – 083111
    Barnes Hospital, St Louis
    Dr Brian Meyer
  • nickgunboat
    nickgunboat Member Posts: 35
    Hi Jennifer
    Sorry to hear your Dad is having such a hard time. As others have said, depression comes with the disease, I know I suffered through it. Your Dad is dealing with a long hospital stay. That alone would drive anyone nuts! I had to stay longer after my Esophagectomy as well. I had leaking at the anastimosis site and a very good but anal retentive doctor who was afraid to let me out of his sight. Of course, now I'm two and a half years away from that and glad he did what he did with me. I wish I had some magical words of inspiration for your Dad. Just know that things will get better. It just takes time and patience. I lost my voice for a year and a half as a side effect to my surgery, which was very frustrating. But it did come back and to be honest, I don't really remember how bad a time that was. I guess the brain has a way of erasing bad experiences. Anyway, please let him know that he is by no means alone in his fight. We are all here and have been through it, or are going through it now. It can be beaten, life WILL return to normal, it might be a slightly different version, but it will be normal. Show him pictures of his dream house on the lake, remind him of all the fun thats coming his way. Maybe print out some of our comments for him to read, he might enjoy the comraderie. All the best..

    DX 03.09
    six wks chemo and rad
    Esophagectomy 07.09
    Dr Tom DeMeester USC