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Miserable family time...

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

When my dad was dx with Stage 4 colon cancer back in January this site was my savior.  I dont think i would have made it through if it werent for the knowledgable folks here that serve as inspiration and angels to me and my family.  I come back because I am again lost for what to do...


My Dad was dx in January it came as a shock from an ER visit for pain in his stomach and unable to pass stools.  Dad was released about 2 weeks later and began treatment within the month.  He has been getting chemo and the bloodwork is showing he is making significant improvements.  However, shortly after the placement of his port his body began to clot and he was admitted back to the ER in april.  After a week of blood thinning meds he was sent home.  Since then no major medical issues praise god.  My father struggled with alcohol addiction and anger for years.  My mother was Dx with PTSD and depression 12 or so years ago.   Both issues complicated the marriage and my adolescent development but I dont even care about me right now.   I know this isnt easy for anyone and I pray every night for god to let me handle this for them.  

Dads dx back in January was simultaneous with his retirement so his life has changed drastically 2 fold.  1 adapting to retiring and being home 2 the cancer.  He lost his sister to stage 4 breast cancer in November (she was 83) and his brother has skin cancer and is in FL.  There is speculation my paternal grandmother had ovarian cancer but that was the 40s and we cant be certain.  

I know this isnt easy.  I know i do not understand.  Cancer was always something that was never close to home for me it is an unfamiliar, or was an unfamiliar monster.  Now its here and my world, our family is tearing apart.  I live with my parents now.  I do not plan on going anywhere but I think I may be loosing it.  


My father seems to complain about everything and everwhere i turn he is there.  I think he is bored but the complaining and the bickering between him and my mother make me sick to my stomach.  2 ppl who love each other should never speak as if they dont value their partners lives so when they come to me to vent i completely disagree with their actions.  I feel its best for them to figure out a respectful way to deal with each other while i handle the bigger issues of insurance and follow up appointments and asking the right medical questions.  But, Dad seems to be very angry lately if not with mom with me.  Its almost dillusional as he interprets things i say in the worst way.  Something as simple as a hello how are you feeling are you better than you felt earlier (after an angry morning)? Becomes me cornering him and somehow i am the enemy.  I hate it because I feel like i am doing the right things and yet i am spoken to with such distain.  I feel like i am supposed to be some ppl pleaser God forbid tomorrow isnt promised but I am human and have feelings too. I dont know what i am allowed to say or do anymore one day is good the next its aweful.  Is this normal!? I am thinking about trauma and the little i know about it and i feel like anger is normal but who wants to live their lives angry?  Its detrimental to his health.  

Any suggestions?  

Thank you and god bless. 



Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3366
Joined: Jan 2010

Unfortunately, your family situation is not all that uncommon, even for ones which before dx were relatively stable.

Consider asking at your local American Cancer Society, hospital, or your dad's doctor about a group for caregivers.  Sometimes, just being able to have other folks close at hand who have or are going thru the same thing helps.  They may have some easy to implement suggestions.

You should also let your dad's doctor know how his behavior has escalated.  There maybe either some counseling or medication avaiable for him.   Depression regarding this disease is an evil side effect which can cause this anger.

You need to guard your own mental health to continue to be of help to your parents.  Don't forget that you need to have some kind of outside life activities to give you a break from the stress.

Marie who loves kitties

lp1964's picture
Posts: 1240
Joined: Jun 2013

When you are on an airplane in an emergency, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first then on those you are supposed to help. You can get by for a while then you are gonna pay the toll yourself and indirectly your parents. 

You need to talk to his doctor and have the doctor guide him to treatment. Men are stubborn, we need to hear it from different sources. 

Dont feel guilty, there is nothing wrong with YOU. 

Guide your dad to professional help. If the situation does not approve, remember after all you are mainly responsible for your own life. Other people's life? Only if they take your hand and want to help themselves.


Posts: 66
Joined: May 2013


First of all I want to send you a virtual hug and that I am here for you. I too am a caregiver who has moved in with my parents (over two years now) to act as a buffer and help, like you with the overwhelming daily tasks of medications, appointments, etc. My mom has metastatic colorectal cancer. My dad and I are the caretakers.

I'm so sorry that the household has a toxic vibe. I am quite lucky that my household is peaceful and pleasant. That being said however, cancer is not an easy disease for the patient. My mother who is the sweetest and selfless person had some episodes of despair, childishness, and anxiety. Every person diagnosed with the disease handles it differently. My aunt who has had cancer for years will jump down your throat if you ask her how her day is or how she feels. I am then subjected to an angry rant. In my mother's case her pain and despair can sometimes be a lot for my dad and me to handle. You have to step back and realize that they have to go thru it and unfortunatley you go through it with them. Some people lash out in anger, others in despair.

That being said, you are a beautiful person. Caregiving is not easy, nor should it be. People will say that you need to take time for you and they are right, but you have to do it in a peaceful, calm way. I am lucky that we have a wonderful oncologist. Remember the oncologist is your friend. Put a call in, tell him or her what's going on. That's a step in the right direction. Sometimes they will have a psychologist come to the house just to let them purge the anger/despair.

My outlet is going to concerts. My dad's outlet is walking around for two hours. Find your outlet and have a little happiness for yourself. This is the time to ask friends and family to pitch in. Most people want to help, but don't know how to go about it.


All my love,




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