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Searching for meaning...

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2008

I'm a 21 year old bachelor and have been the caretaker of two loved ones who have had the misfortune of being diagnosed with cancer. My mother died at the age 48 on November 17, 2006 as a result of advanced cancer. I had been there with her through it all, watched as her health deteriorated and was there at her side when she drew her last breath. While I have been able to continue on in my day to day life, I still have never really coped with the loss. And then in January of this year my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer, shortly after having a heart attack. He has been in and out of the hospital numerous times over the past few months until just recently when he was struck with what could only be described as a menagerie of complications. He's been in the hospital for two and a half weeks, and while the doctors have not given a set timeframe, I'm fairly certain that his time is running short.

I'm not much of a spiritual person, I don't personally believe in karma or destinies and the like. For me this is not such a difficult thing, and the logical part of me knows for certain that there's no other reason for my mother's death and my father's condition other than the fact that they smoked two packs a day for 30 years. But darn it, I can't help but wonder "why me"?

I'm pretty much your typical "macho" need to stay strong so that your love ones don't have to bear any more pain than they must. But I'm really starting to feel the weight now, I'm losing the plot, and handling my dad's affairs while trying to grapple with my own is really proving to be more than I can handle. I literally spend two hours a day on the phone with bill collectors, lawyers, doctors, friends, family, loved ones, et cetera. Dammit, all I've ever wanted was a carefree life where I can enjoy the very limited time we all spend here. I don't want to hate life, but it's like Queen says "I don't want to die, I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all."

-Andrew, my friends call me Kandy.

terato's picture
Posts: 383
Joined: Apr 2002


I suffered from metastatic testicular cancer at the age of 28, lost my job and my marriage shortly thereafter. Just when I thought life was beginning to plateau, my father suffered a paralyzing stroke, followed four years later by my brother's suicide. My mother had open heart surgery in 2000 and I cared for her until her death by C. deficil (bowel infection) in 2006.

I spent a great deal of those years angry that so much had befallen me and my family and frustrated that I did not have the life I wanted. This prompted a series of bad decisions which just enhanced my frustration until I realized that it just wasn't worth the struggle. As I once heard in an "I Can Cope" meeting, "Happiness is learning to play the hand you are dealt, rather than the one you feel you should have been dealt". Life has been much more tolerable since.

Love and Courage,

Rick (My middle name is Andrew)

zahalene's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

You have had more dumped upon you than anyone could handle alone, of any age.
If you were not there, who would be doing this stuff? Whoever that is, make them the next person you call. Let them know that if you don't get some help, this whole ball of wax is gonna end up on their door step. That should motivate them to get involved and help you through the process.
Also, contact the American Cancer Society and ask for directions to available agencies who help with the legal and financial challenges you are facing.
As long as you do it all everyone will be perfectly willing to let you go right ahead.

Dreamdove's picture
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

I say, go if the flow, don't fight it. Life gives us many pleasures but also many dissapointments. Also, treat people the way you would like to be treated. You did the right thing. Things won't always be bad. Allow yourself to feel. It doesn't have to be a religious thing, believing in a purpose to life, that life is not just a random thing. The earth is a learning place. Good things will still happen to you. It just takes time to get over things. Open yourself up to the possibilities! They will come your way.

NoQuiSi's picture
Posts: 119
Joined: Sep 2008

Kandy, true, you're so young to have to deal with so much...sounds to me like you might not be allowing yourself time to absorb all of what you're learning...not taking enough time for YOURSELF, which can be so important. I understand it's probably due to there being no-one else to help you and I think the suggestions already made to that effect could be good resources for such.

I'm a two time survivor (Ovarian, Cervical and Uterine cancer) and am currently working on surviving my third go around (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma). I've also been a caregiver for my dad who passed of Multiple Myeloma. I do understand that it's not easy from your perspective as a caregiver, Kandy. When my dad was ill, it was only my mom and I to care for him and much of the responsibility fell to me.

Best advise I could give you is to take it easy on yourself...know that the ebb and flow of life is ever changing, whether the direction be good or bad and that's one thing you CAN count on in this life. If things are bad, give it a little time and it'll change. Above all, hold on tight to your spirit and hope. I also know that your giving of yourself as you have and do, is and has most likely been so very much appreciated by the ones you've cared for as well as the ones you still do care for.

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