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When dad seems like he's finished with it all

Artin2010's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Aug 2009

My dad was a smoker for as long as I can remember, because I was born a second hand smoker and I am fifty now. He was 26 when I came to the planet. About 4 months ago, I made him go to the doctor for what I thought was a respiratory infection, turns out he had Squamous Cell Carcinoma in his left lung. Primary care doctor ordered him to do a CAT SCAN, then referred him to Oncologist, they scheduled PET Scan, MRI and finally a CT Guided Biopsy.
Doctors said, he had Lung Cancer stage3b and that it had spread to the lymphnodes. A 4.6cm tumuor was found in lower left lung. The doctors said it had not spread to his brain which must be common with this type cancer. They scheduled him for radiation/chemotherapy and we started going to the machine 5 days a week with a visit to a chemo lounge every wednesday. About the 3 week when they checked his blood, he had low White blood cell count and could not get chemo, but continued the radiation sessions. He is 75 years old and for the last 4 years has been grieving the passing on of our mom, his life partner. He finished all of his treatments 3 weeks ago, barely. He has been battling with side effects, mostly dehydration and chest pain from the sunburn. Last weekend he became severly dehydrated and had to take him to ER for IV fluids. Since that time he has stopped eating almost altogether and still won't drink. It is as if he's given up and no longer wishes to be alive. I get the feeling that everything he ingest and everything he does is just to please me and my brothers and sisters. I really believe that the cancer and the regimen of treatment he has got so far have made him feel like its no use to fight anymore to get better and he wants to die. I can respect that position,but it really hurts to see him just give in that way, after being so strong for so long. Sadly to say, its one day at a time and I feel like I'm just here watching him slowly fade away. My brother says "It is what it is". I believe that now and all I can do is remember the good times and try not to be emotional with him. There is a better place than this, I'm sure of it.

catcon49's picture
Posts: 398
Joined: Aug 2008

I am so sorry to hear about your father. I can only tell you a story about my mom. At age 76, 2 years ago, she was dx with stage 3b ovarian cancer, her colon had ruptured and was laying on all those cancer cells. I thought we were going to lose her, she had no will to live either. But after a 3 week hospital stay. She all of a sudden bounced back. Did her chemo. At present she is free of cancer looking forward to her 78th b-day. I'm not saying everyone is like this, but there may still be hope for your dad. Try something like jello or something cold and cool for his throat. And I will remember you in my prayers. Be strong.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

It is commonly understood that a side effect of many chemotherapies is depression, typically of the short-term variety. Perhaps this is a problem for your dad? Perhaps a latent effect of the passing of your mom, now sparked by the chemotherapy?

Consider, too, that radiation does not quit 'cooking' immediately upon cessation of treatment. I am not sure about exactly when to expect an end to the effects of rads, but I have heard anywhere from one month to six months. It may very well be that dad is suffering from acute fatigue brought on by the chemo, the rads and their continuing effects, and even a dose of depression, just to make things more interesting.

Do not give up on dad, yet, and please do not allow him to do so either. As more time passes, maybe dad will emerge from his 'funk' on his own. If you come to a point where you see that this is not the case, suggest that this man, one you say has always been strong, consider some help in that regard, if only some medication from his family doctor (counseling from a favorite ministerial type at his religious site of choice could do some wonders too, if he is of that sort, and if it is possible, get him to seek some counseling of the more secular variety).

There IS hope. 75 is the new 55, as they say (:)), and while he may not feel like it at the moment, dad may very well have many quality years ahead of him.

Best wishes to him and his family.

Take care,


cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

As the redponse Soccerfreaks has giiven is quite accurate, and I can only add that the depression does take time to fade, but as in my case I am taking Ativan to help deal with the depression that comes with the constant thoughts of the future that is uncertain.
I have been blessed to be surrounded by positive support and a wife that lives in the day, because we can't control the future and live to create memories that she and the family can take with them into the future. I am 49 yrs old on Hospice and I realize my time is short, but I refuse to quit. I have early onset Altzhiemers and Parkinsons, numerous strokes, numerous heart attacks that resulted in less than 45% of my heart working, terminal lung cancer that mets to other parts of my body, but with positive imput I have continued on, Give your dad continued support, suggest he look into help with the depression, but remember the choice is his.. try suppliments like boost when his appetite isn't there, but above all shower him with positive support and talk open with him, share the moments you have together and try to create new memories... sometime people fall into a place where there is failure to thrive, all you can do is try and help him see that there right now is still a life to live and that you and the family are there for him..

Our best wishes and Prayers to your dad and you and the family,

Dan and Margi Harmon

Artin2010's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanks everyone for your support and comments posted, it means a lot to know that there are people out there that do understand how cancer effects us. went to the docs today got him fluids and doc prescribed some oxygen. Every little thing helps. Got chinese take out for supper and dad actually sat down and ate a decent meal. Progress, not much but better than the day before and the one before that.To all who are battling this monster or caring for a loved one with, my thoughts are with you and be strong as you go on through these rough times.

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