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My Dad is Depressed.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2006

I am new here and need some help!! My father had Lung Cancer. He had surgery in Sept.of 05. Ever since he has been getting infections and is still having problems breathing. He does not go out of the house and everytime I go to visit my mom and dad start fighting. They fight about nothing? I dont know what I can do to help them? My dad is so depressed and it has gotten worse! I made the mistake of telling my mom that I dont come over often because of them fighting and now I feel bad because I was being honest. My mom said that after she told him this that he wishes he never would have had the surgery .I want to spend more time with them and help where I can. What can I do or say to make them stop? I know that my dad is upset because he still has problems with his breathing and feels alone in his recovery. I wish I could make him see that he needs to get help for the depression, but he wont listen.
My mom has health issues also and has taken on the role as the provider in the home because dad isnt working now, which he can not stand. She feels overwelmed with the role reversole.
I just need to know what I can do to help them both! I am going crazy with this!
Please Help, any advice would be great!!!
Thanks, and God bless!

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi. I'm a 4 year lung cancer survivor. I recognize your father's symptoms because I experienced them myself. This illness raises hell with everyone's emotions. I was upset because I had to ask for help, when I was the guy everyone used to call for help. I was retired when cancer hit me, but, in your father's case, he isn't the "bread winner", at least for now, and that can be a major blow to a guy. He has been through a tough time, - surgery and all, and now he feels that he should be cured, but he's not - yet. I felt that I would never get well after surgery. I was able to travel after about six months, but it took about a year until I felt "good". I didn't have much problem with breathing after a few weeks. Your father does have that problem, and it's serious. Put yourself in his shoes. Try to imagine not being able to take a deep breath. So much for the underlying reasons - the solution is a tough call. I'm not a psychologist, so I wouldn't try to advise you, specifically. But I've been involved with cancer patients over the past five years, and I've found that different approaches work with different people. Most recently, a friend who has undergone chemo and radiation, which got rid of the tumor, now has to "get it together" and do what it takes to build himself up. He's become comfortable with being ill. That is, he's so used to it that it's become a way of life. Nothing his wife, or anyone else, could say would get him moving. Finally, I advised his wife to try the "I don't care", - "You're on your own, - let me know how you make out" approach. That snapped him out of it in one day!
Suddenly he's ready to come back into the world. I don't know your dad, or you and your mother, and only you can decide how you will handle the situation. Given what you tell us about him, I would be inclined to sit down with him, - alone, and explain to him that you don't feel that he's helping himself get better, and that you are terrified of what may happen to him. You might tell him that you can't handle watching him as he is, and that you would rather stay away, "if that's what he wants". That will give him something to think about. I'm sure that he doesn't want to lose you. Hopefully, others on this message board will pick up on this and help with some suggestions. Good luck. Keep us posted. Ernie ernplym@adelphia.net

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2006

Thank you for sharing your own experiences in this matter. I have put myself in his shoes when it comes to not being able to breath, I have COPD. I know it has to be tuff for him not to work and sometimes my mom will say that he cant buy lottery tickets because she worked for that money! I dont feel she is being fair to him , it is like she rubs it in that he is not working. He does have his SS check and she does also? It is always about the money. I do think I will have a talk with my father, I cant sit back and watch them hurt each other when they should be enjoying life and each other!!
. They both have had second chances and need to stop all this. I like the adive:
"I don't care", - "You're on your own, I will tell mom to do this and let ya know how it works.
Thank you so very much!!!
And congrats on your 5 yrs!!! Robin

Posts: 34
Joined: Nov 2005

Greetings...my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2005 and he also has breathing problems. He has a chronic breathing disorder called COPD and has a weak heart. He is a very sick man and than he got cancer. Being sick made my dad crabby a lot. The social worker came to visit my parents and I asked what he said and my mom said that the sick patient goes through a selfish stage and the fact that they are sick its all about them right now. Thats how it is at my parents house everything revolves around my dad and his condition. The social worker told us its gonna be like that for a while until he accepts his condition fully. My parents are great I love my family but my dad gets so frustrated so easy these days. And he also takes it out on my mom. But couldnt survive without her. I think he feels most comfortable with her and can act and say anything and she will understand his state. Things have got better and I stay out of it when he gets angry. He gets over it and it happens again. Im over there everyday and I know my dad is doing the best he can with what is on his plate. Something in me says see him as much as you can so I do. Best of luck and my prayers to you and your family.

Posts: 23
Joined: Apr 2005

My husband (stage 3B nsclc) has been a bear through this whole process, and that is putting it mildly. He has isolated a lot and doesn't want to have much to do with me and our children. What has helped me deal with it is to look for some breaks for myself. Maybe if you were available to just sit and chat with your mom, have little breaks together, it might help her be able to cope with your dad's depression as well as help him see that she is still strong and taking care of herself. I know that makes my husband feel a little less depressed, not having to worry about me.
My husband, despite remission, still has problems breathing. This is a slow recovery process and probably never will be the same for him again. As a young man (43 yrs) who enjoyed backpacking, playing with his kids, etc, this has been very difficult for him. I think that depression is part of the process of recovery and is a piece of the adjustment that is normal. If his health starts to get better, but his attitude doesn't, it may be worth consulting with his doctor. There is a lot of professional help out there.

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