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Worried daughter

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2003

It's something you never, ever expect to hear. Especially when you're only seventeen. My father was diagnosed almost two years ago, but he didn't tell me or my brothers until November of 2001. He had always been healthy as a horse, until the summer and fall of 2001 when, more often than not, he couldn't come down to visit (my parents are divorced and he lives a few hours away) because he 'didn't feel well.' It never, ever occured to me that it might be anything other than a bad flu, until he told us.

I was seventeen. Things like that aren't supposed to happen to people my age, you know? I was in denial for a long, long time...sometimes I feel like I'm still in denial. I went away to college out-of-state, and was even further removed from it all; it's easy to be an escapist when you're eight hundred miles away. But still, it ate at me. Then when I went home for Winter Break, I realized exactly how much this was affecting him; he had dropped thirty pounds, at least, and he looked so pale and miserable even though he was happy to see me. I almost didn't want to spend time with him because he looked so miserable.

Then, in February of this year, my mom called. My dad was in the hospital (he had been in and out for several weeks for various reasons) because he had had a bad nosebleed. The nosebleed had turned out to be a small stroke. It was very minor, but it scared me to death anyway. That was how my mom told me that his cancer had spread...he hadn't been taking his chemo for months because it made him too sick. It spread to his liver, kidneys, and now possibly to his brain.

God, that scared me. It still scares me, thinking about it. No one should have to lose their parent to cancer, and I'm eighteen. I shouldn't be dealing with this. It's so unfair, you know? But I know that's not the way to think.

Most recently, Dad went to a specialist and had an experimental procedure done. I don't know what it's called, but it involves 'freezing' the tumors like you would a plantar's wart (that's how my mom described it to me). It didn't work, and Dad is really starting to get depressed. But I don't know what to say to him. My parents very rarely tell me what's going on....they don't want me to worry. But I do, all the same, maybe even more so because I don't know what's happening. I've approached them with this situation several times, to no avail. My mom is getting better about it, but my dad just doesn't want to admit that he feels awful. I just want to be there for him, but I don't know how to be, because it scares me so badly to see him or think of him as being so sick. My brothers are scared to death, too; my older brother hasn't spoken to him in months, because of various issues, among which is the fact that Dad's really never told him anything and he feels like he isn't supposed to know. I don't know what to do...it's so hard when I can't spend time with him because I'm so far away, even when I'm home.

In brighter news, we got him a laptop computer, which gave him something to do. He really likes it, and I talk to him a bit more often than I do on the phone. I also recently got him a kitten--it's a surprise for when I see him next. I hope that cheers him up, but it's still not the same thing as being able to be there with him. Even when I am, I don't know what to say. It's all so confusing, and hard, and frightening.

If you've read this far, thank you for reading my rant, and thank you for any insight you might have for me.

Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2003

I am 31 years old and just found out my mom has cancer. I feel the same things you feel. It is so hard to see her so sick. I think that the most they need from is to be there for them. They know we don't always have the words to say how we feel. I am so scared of losing my mom, I feel like I won't have anyone to take care of me anymore. That is so silly since I have a family of my own. Just remember to tell your dad how much you love him and that you were so lucky to be his daughter.

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2008

My name is Renee, I am 22 years old and My mom has Colon Cancer stage 2. She just told me,she has know for quite some time now. She has already had surgery. We have went on a weekend trip together to go see my twin sister.I am really worried about her, Because she won't tell me anything. My mom in my eyes has always been indestructible, She is a very strong woman. She worked very hard to get to where she is today. I wasn't the easiest kid in the world but i also wouldn't be the woman i am today if it wasn't for the amazing mom that taught me how to be who i am. So i sat infront of a computer and read everything i could about colon cancer and scared myself to death. I really can't stop crying, everything is emotional. I found all this out the past two days. I spend monday with her. she doesn't want to make it a dig day. what do i do? i need advice! can you help me? Renee?

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2009

Hi Renee... I was about 12 when my mother found out that she found cancer. She had breast cancer and now has been in the clear for 12 years. I know that you have posted this back in Nov 2008 but i remember when my mom was going through chemo and such... it waas hard for me to see her. Here energy was rather low and sick-like. You have to continue to pray and give everything you've got to her... Give her that extra love that she needs. I thnk when one finds out that there own mother has cancer, it surely hits home, HARD. I figured it out that she had cnacer because my parents knew how emotional I was... and back 12 years old there wasn't that much press on breats cancer... but I figured it out. And I prayed anf prayed and prayed somemore. I hope all is well with you and her. Feel free to email me at dior1ywood@yahoo.com.

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2003

Dear friend,

Let us know how you are doing. My prayers and thoughts go out to you. My father has a pancreatic tumor and he may not survive, and I am going through some similar issues as you.

The most important thing that this cancer has taught me is to be grateful and thankful that I can still talk to and show my love to my father. I still have the opportunity to tell him everything I want to about how I feel about him. As his son, I can hold his hand (which I would have never done before), and even kiss his forehead (even more unthinkable years ago!), and tell him directly how important he has been in influencing my life. If this tumor takes him away from me, at least I will know that he left knowing how much I loved him.

So, I guess what I'm saying is: don't let your parents' stubbornness in talking to you get in the way of your communicating your love for your dad to him. I truly feel like cancer is a dark, dark cloud but with a silver lining. I would rather lose my father after telling him I loved him, than lose him suddenly with no warning and no goodbye.

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2003

Thank you for writing. My husband has pancreatic cancer and his children are about your age. I felt like it helped me to understand them a little better after hearing your thoughts. Giving him a computer and the kitten were Terrific Ideas! Keep emailing and calling him whenever you get a little urge.

Last week I was longing for the children to call or visit with their dad, bacause I knew he wanted them to. At the same time, he is so tired all the time that he does not have much energy to call them first or ask them to come over.

When you visit, here are some little hints; I hope they will be helpful:
--Tell him you love him. I totally agree: Every Dad's dream is to hear a child say "I am so lucky that you are my Dad." Just say it, and don't worry. It will be right.
--Tell him everyday things: what are you doing in school, a funny person you saw somewhere, a joke or 2--cornier the better, what was the weather like. The everyday things are best for anyone we have trouble talking to. The person can then just sit and enjoy your voice.
--Look at old photos with him, take some recent photos and put them in a book for him,
--Ask him about his old times and stories,
--make him something to eat or drink--but don't worry if he can't eat it!
--Watch the video of his choice with him, or read him the comics, or etc.
--Keep looking for support for yourself. Your Dad is doing the best that he can. Just love him, but also talk to others who can help you in some ways.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2004

As I sit here drying my tears, after reading your story and the stories of those who responded to you, I feel less alone. Everything you said rang a bell.

My mom was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in April of 2003. (the cancer had already spread to her liver). She's undergone chemo. For awhile it looked like the cancer had stopped spreading. Now, well now we're into the worst of it. Mom's gone from 150lbs to around 80lbs. She's less coherent; maybe she's had a stroke or the cancer has spread to her brain...I don't know.

Right now, the hard part is knowing when and how to let go. My father feels this the most. Mom has a gastronomy tube, which provides her with the nutrition she is unable to consume orally. Boy, I was/am really against this. It seems to keep her alive, in a very painful and demented state. How will we know when to stop keeping her alive by this method?

Well, I have one really reliable comfort. I am realizing that none of this is within my control, maybe not even within human control. Loving, learning, nurturing and forgiving are the bright spots. God will take care of our parents. And us. The tough times will pass.

Keep in touch, if you'd like: elizabeth@sedwayfinancial.com

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2004

I am so sorry to read about your mom. I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer three years ago and thought that my life was going to come to an end and at times I wish it would have. But knowing my mom she would tell me that life on this earth is worth living until its time to go. I have been in your shoes and I feel very sorry for you. It is not easy seeing someone you love in this condition and feeling totally helpless. I did find that if I let God in he would help make things easier. Today I still feel lost and as if I am not in my own skin. But I surround myself with pictures and items that she loved and I can feel her with me for a short time each day. I will pray for your mom and your family. This is one of the hardest things that you will ever have to go through but there are people out there that will help you through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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