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My Dad

Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2009

My Dad was diagnosed with High Grade salivary gland cancer. He is 75. He also has Parkinson's Disease, and I know the results of that disease are not pleasant at all, to say the very least. He is not going to have treatment for this cancer, and has not gone back to a doctor to find anything more out, and does not plan to. The rest of my family and I are kind of lost, not really knowing what is coming, how soon it's coming, or how much longer we have with him. My brother thinks he doesn't owe it to us to find out. I, however, am the closest one to him, emotionally and geographically and have lived with him since I was 16 and my parents divorced. I am now 41. I think finding out what's going on would help this family that is so very dysfunctional in every way. How do I get rid of this feeling like I've been punched in the gut?
I am married and have two kids, so I am not still hanging out at Daddy's house or anything, but he's been such a huge part of my life that the thought of losing him devastates me. He, on the other hand, has completely shut me out. He won't answer emails, or call or anything. He really just wants to die and I think he is closing down on us and is just going to wait to die. It makes me wonder if he loves me-I've always been there for him to talk to, to listen to, but he will not respond in any way now. What do I do? Do I step back and wait for him to come back? What if I don't get to say goodbye? Does this mean he doesn't love me? I thought he did, but the man wants to die. He pays no attention to my kids, or my brother's kids. I'm hurting and I want to SCREAM at him to let me in, but he won't. At all. Am I wrong? SHould I just let him go? I've asked him twice to see an oncologist, not for treatment but to get a better idea of what is happening. I keep blaming myself, thinking if I were better somehow he'd want to stick around, but the man wants to die. HELP?

cboo1974's picture
Posts: 57
Joined: Oct 2008

Sorry to hear about the troubles you and your family are having to face.I also have a relative who refuses to fight the cancer. My aunt has uterine cancer and will not seek treatment. At first I figured that it was her choice, until I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I realized it's just not my life I have to think about. I have frinds, family, and a boyfriend who all care about me so I knew that I had to fight, not just for me but for them as well.
I really don't think your father has stopped loving you. I think he just needs to be reminded that he has a famioy that dearly loves him and wants to see him survive. If you need to yell, go for it yell your heart out maybe he will hear you and realize what he's doing is hurting you and others. I think that your father is a lost lamb who needs to find his way back to the fold of his family. If you can't get him to respond to your phone calls or emails try the good old fashioned posr office. Write him a note telling him how much you love and care about him and that you just want to be there for him, whatever he decides. Mail him cards to remind him there are others in this world who love and cherish him. Have his grandkids draw him pictures and mail them to him. Just be there for him any way that you can. Don't give up on him, love him.


slickwilly's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I am sorry that your dad has cancer. Its quite common for people diagnosed with cancer to start out pushing others away. And sometimes the knee jerk reaction is to refuse treatment and curl up into the fetal position. To think that your dad just quit loving you is wrong. More than likely he does not want anyone to see him suffer. And that would also be the case with any grandkids. You really need to sit down and have a talk with him and see what his wishes are. First of all he is going to need pain medication at some point if he does not seek treatment. There will also be a need for hospice when he can no longer care for himself. Does he have a DNR order in place. These are issues he can't hide from and usually end up on the shoulders of the oldest child. I am sorry if there are issues in the family as it complicates communication and that is what is really needed right now. Don't get mad or start blaming yourself for everything as you had nothing to do with him getting cancer. I know your hurting as losing our parents is so hard and life changing. I am sure your dad has loved you for 41 years and that does not stop with a cancer diagnosis. But as a father I know we try to protect our family and sometimes we don't understand that we are actually hurting them. You can tell your dad that you love him and want him around longer. And that he would not just be fighting cancer for himself but also for those that love him. But the final decision is his. I can't put myself in his place with parkinsons and whatever other issues are involved. I hope he will open up and talk to you. Bless you Slickwilly

hunpot's picture
Posts: 90
Joined: Nov 2008

Im very sorry you have to go through this at such a young age. Your situation reminds me of mine so i hope my ordeal can help you in some way. My mom passed 6 months ago when she was told she had cancer was a shock to us all she only lived 18 months, I remember just telling her that it was her choice at first she didnt want to do nothing. she didnt want to be in pain or go through losing hair, getting sick, all the side effects you hear about, she was adminant at first she didnt want to do nothing. I told her i would love her no matter what her decision even though i wanted her to fight with all she had she couldnt leave me at 35 with 4 grandchildren. She was my rock and my best friend we spent everyday togther almost i was the closets with mom out of 3 of us. I remember telling her i would fight with her and be there for her no matter what she meant i rememebr her saying no i cant do that to you "yo uhave your life and the kids" so its normal for your dad to push you away but he LOVES you and is just very scared and upset that he and you will have to go through this.

Just tell him you want to and must do this for him and yourself, tell him you support him anyway with or without treatments and that there is miracles that happne and he could be one of those, Just remind him you love him and will take care of him and its no problem, remember now its all about quality time you have left togther. Take lots and lots of pictures if you havent done so lately, trust me youll want them later on. Give him a few days or week to think about things and then go talk with him. It took mom about a week to decide to have treatments. She dint want to talk to me because she didnt want to hurt me she kept things from me as her child she would talk to her best friend and tell her she was scared and didnt want to die and dint want her children to see her die, So i treid to remind her daily that this is what i choose to do is take care of her like she took care of me all my years i tried to make her comfortable as i could and just be there to hold, love support and cry with.
Nobody wants to die they are just scared, upset and angry this is happening, its hard and takes time to let it all sink in, he may change his mind just reassure him as much as you can talk to him like father daughter and its okay to cry to him or yell at him he will see that you really care and love him and WANT to help him i bet you hell change his mind soon and let you in.
Best of luck to you both

Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2009

Thank you for responding--you're words mean a lot to me. He actually emailed me last night-just 3 sentences but it's a start, and just small talk, but he's a man of few words.
Thank you. I am at a loss for words, but please know how much I appreciate you writing to me.

hollyberry's picture
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi Mary,
I had the same reaction as your dad for about 3 days and then I decided that I had a family that deserved to have their mom around as long as I could be there. It's a shock and I'm sure,in time, your dad will process all of this and make a solid decision. It can't be easy having Parkinson's and a cancer diagnosis on top of it. You are obviously a loving and caring daughter and the love and support that you show him now (even if he fights it) will comfort him and help him to make a more balanced decision. He is surely very overwhelmed and you and your siblings can make a huge difference by just telling him how much you love him and want him around for you and your kids.
Keep praying and we will, too!
With much love,

Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

My Dad had squamous cancer and did radiation and chemo at age 78. He thought because he was so weak and lost weight he wouldn't survive. But I kept calling him letting him know when the chemo and rads are done he will get his strength. He now is almost 81 and the cancer has not come back. I don't know what or how far your dad's cancer is but has he been told treatments would help? And yes sometimes the people we love most we hurt. He may not want you to see him get sick or doesn't want to hear anyone encouraging him to take treatments or maybe the dr said he can't. What ever the situation I hope he will let you in and I will pray for you and him. Keep trying to be there for him.
My Prayers are with you

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