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I could use some support

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2004

My step-dad was diagnosed about 5 weeks ago and after 2 weeks of tests and meetings at M D Anderson in Houston they had decided that whipple surgery was not an option and to send him back to Dallas for Chemo. He was given 2-6mo w/o treatment. 2 years tops if he does treatment... I am kinda freakin out!! He is going to start treatment I think next week but he has a really horrible attitude about it all and I don't know what to do. He has called relatives and friends with list of things he wants them to have, it's like has given up all hope. I dont have the heart to fight with him and tell him that the only way he can make it better...or as good as we can is for him to believe that tomorrow isn't his last day. I would hate for me to get mad and then not have the opportunity for things to be okay...hes a very sensitive man. To make things worse I live in Louisiana and with work it is hard for me to see him as often as I want. Any advise on how to approach him? I really appreciate any replies. Katie

Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2004

Katie, only my opinion, but here goes:
Unfortunately, you can't make his decisions for him, and you need to get used to that. Sounds like he could seriously use some counseling, so ask (or have him ask) where he's getting the treatment if there's a social worker available to talk to him. (Truth be told, it could probably help you as well....you should ask about it too.) You both need to acknowledge that the prognosis for PC is never good, but it can be made better if you don't give up immediately, and only is worse if he alienates his support people....you might need to develop a fairly thick skin, and remember that he's probably not mad at you, he's mad at the disease. You can't take any of this personally. And you might want to tell him that, yes, 2 years isn't spectacular, but it's better than most in his stage. There's a lot that can be accomplished in that time, so if he can find a cause or a reason to occupy and drive him, that's probably a good way to go... you might want to ask yourself if he has a passion in his life, which would be a good target for his emotions. Also tell him to monitor the chemo with his doc....it's not always the first try that works...we're now on our second option, and it's looking to be about as successful as we can expect.
So you know, my wife is now 4 months past PC diagnosis, same as your stepdad: no surgery, no radiation, just chemo. We're dependent on it, and if that's all we've got, then we'll take it. And yes, it's an old saying, but we go one day at a time. Really, it's about all you can do.
Good luck to you guys........

Posts: 10
Joined: Feb 2004

sorry if this sounds "tough" but tell him to suck it up and move on or well you no the rest. tell him he is lucky to have the extra time and to be thankfull that he, un like me i get 9 months, tell him that he is lucky not to be leaving a 3 yr old lil boy behind with a wife with no eduacational background, and is not from this country, tell him ,and im just guessin that he is not only 43 years old like me.. No im not angry, and no Im not feeling sorry for myself, I just dont have empathy for some one like him to not find gratitude in what he has and try to do some thing about it.. I wish you and he the best and God keep you both. Dennis

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2004

Well first off I do wish you the best and have to say you are a lucky girl that you have more time than I did, so first off look at that... dont dwell on the negative hom and try to live everyday by looking for something possitive, I know easier said than done, but I tell you now I only had 2 mos with my father from his date of diagnoses to the date of his death, we didnt get much time to do things as he was too sick .. try to do things with him, take pictures, go places anything tiny I still tried to frasp to looking for the possitive, good example with us was even though every day was a bad day I would try to think to myself what was GOOD about today and be it he made a dry joke, or just was able to have a few bites of pizza those were the GOOD things, its not much but its something and I know all to well its easier said than done but one has to try

Also don't look at it totally like hes mad at you or anyone else.. my dad had the same reaction hes mad at himself, maybe for not being able to be a father, provider hes mad because he cant be here with you for the future and his bodys giving out on him, yes to be honest my dad was mad at me, but its not intentional, he said he was mad because I was able to do things he couldnt its like a jealousy mad, try to be supportive, try to think of things to do now that you can remember in the future on the possitive side and spend whatever time you can with him, even though you may not be there in person you are there in spirit and a phone call or email is way better than nothing.... I regret not having more time with my dad and had to make some tough decisions such as giving my son up for adoption to give him a better life and care for my dad and mom (had colon cancer) till their demises, now Im the only sole survivor of my family and honestly am a little scared too so your not alone, just a word of advice form personal experience... You cant change him he has to want to change himself and try to find the possitive in everyday, it may not be anything much or anything we would normally notice in everyday life but sometimes it takes a tragedy to make those little things more important if you need to talk IM here... BIG HUGS!! Anna blondebomber54304@yahoo.com

Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2003

Katie, They found my cancer in Jan. 03 I'm still here after exploratory surgery @ Duke & Chemo for 6 months in Asheville. They are still not sure if it is in pancreas or bile ducts but treatment is similar. Because all they saw was cancerous lymph nodes @ Duke & Pet scan had small spot also small blemish on head of pancreas. So after more good tests it was gone. BUT my CA19-9 is over 4000 so I'm still worried. So tell your stepdad drs. don't know everything ; they said I might have 4 to 6 months or maybe a yr or 2. Now no chemo since Jan 04 & I feel good.... Chemo is HARD but worth it sometimes. I go back for more tests the 20th. Prayer & family have been my strength but you have to fight!!!! Responses welcomed but I'm not online everyday but I'll answer soon as possible OK? Good luck , Katie .. At times I felt like your stepdad but the will to live is part of the battle. Tell him that!!!! Denise in NC

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