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Living With Regret

RedPanda
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2020

Hi all,

I posted a few weeks ago about my wonderful 64 year old father, who after a few months of vague symptoms (gas and weight loss) was diagnosed with colon cancer, with massive spread in the liver, both adrenal glands, lungs, bone, and brain. The tumor was in the sigmoid colon and was 8cm, so I am shocked he had no symptoms because it was low down and huge. Sadly, after a successful brain surgery, he was too weak to receive chemotherapy and passed away on May 8, a month after diagnosis and about two months after it was apparent something was extremely wrong. In some respects I suppose we were lucky in that he did not have to suffer through the effects of chemotherapy, but I am absolutely shattered and struggling to function. My father had really assumed his symptoms were unrelated to cancer and were nothing serious, and having to adjust to a terminal diagnosis and then death in a month's time must have been torture. 

 

I am 30 years old and I have been a life-long hypochondriac, and so I am very proactive in attending dr's appoinments. My father rarely went to the doctor (he always had excellent health) and did not do any cancer screenings. This is where my heartbreak explodes, because I know that this type of cancer - at least according to most online sources - can be entirely preventable with screenings. In Canada, people are asked to screen beginning at age 50 every two years with fecal blood tests that are sent to labs. That meant my father had 14 years to find this cancer before it spread and ultimately claimed 20 years of his life. While one oncologist said it did seem this cancer was aggressive, given the fact that it went from a few symptoms to suddenly everywhere and my father claimed he had none of the usual symptoms like stomach pain or blood in the stools, I almost want to believe his was just one of those rare cases where screening would not have helped because it was fast and aggressive, but I have no way to know. I do know that it was left-sided, and due to his age, was probably one of the "typical" cases and not one of the fast moving or silent ones that are muscinous or right-sided.

 

Each day when I think of everything in my life he will miss, I am overcome with regret that I did not push him to get screened. I was to focused on my own non-existant health issues to worry about taking care of my parents. He also made the choice to stay away from the doctor even though he knew he was getting to the age where cancer is a possibility because he always felt healthy, or perhaps preferred not to know. As a hypochondriac, being diagnosed with something preventable is my worst fear, and it happened to my father. 

 

Does anyone have stories of getting screenings and still becoming ill with colon cancer? When I think about my father, who was truly amazing and wonderful, I just feel I cannot go on. 

Tueffel
Posts: 80
Joined: Feb 2020

I am really sorry for you to loose your dad! I will include you and your family into my prayers and I will virtually hug you. We will be here for you, one way or another. 

Please dont regret anything! Cancer is (sorry for the words) the biggest ******* in the world. You can do everything to prevent it, live the healthiest life, do all preventive measurements and early detection methods but still cancer finds a way. 

You could not do anything. I am giving you an rxample now how shitty cancer is: my dad had a well done colonoscopy Jan 2018 without anything. Not even 2 years later he had symptoms and was diagnosed with stage 4 Jan 2020. I read countless of articles before what can cause these symptoms, talk to my teacher who had the same issue with her dad. Her dad only had a very big polyp, my dad cancer. We kind of have it in the family but even then the development of my dads disease and progression was even for the doctors unsuspected and they are still not sure why. Maybe the MS treatment for my dad helped the development? I am also thinking if my dad mentioned that he had blood in stool that he could had an earlier colonoscopy without metastases. But then my grandma was treated 6 months against hemoerhoids and it was stage 1 only. My grandmas father was pissing blood, prolonged his visit to the doctor but still only had a surgery  to treat the cancer. My dad just falls under the unlucky unlucky group. 

We just need to accept that a certain percentage of cancers cannot be prevented. Some are just so unusual, develop in younger people, develop fast that the doctors cannot do a lot. This is terrible especially if you were never sick before. The only thing we can do, is to take precautions like screenings etc. 

Please dont regret anything! 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5149
Joined: Jan 2013

I agree with Tuffel, no regrets.  Regrets do not change what happened, so they are basically a waste of energy unless they motivate you to take make sure you don't do the same thing. 

Don't worry about being a hypocondriac, becasue you are aware that you are, should keep it in control.  

My Uncle died in his sleep one night, and when they did his autopsy, they said he was riddled with Cancer and were shocked that he had not seen a Doctor in years. They said he should have been in horrendous pain, but while he may have had some pain, he never said anyhitng and was quite unaware of the Cancer within.

I am sure what you are experiencing now is part of the grief process. It is early days. It is good to grieve and to feel those emotions. Allow yourself time to heal. 

I am so sorry for your loss, and pray that you are able to come to a place of peace, and know that your dad will be happy to know that you are moving forward in life and not blaming yourself for the past. 

Tru

Tom M.
Posts: 129
Joined: May 2019

Dear Red, I am very sorry for the loss of your father. He sounds like me, someone who didn't run to the doctor everytime there was an ache or a pain. I had my first screening at age 61 with symptoms I was blowing off. Boom!!! Stage4 right out of the gate. We can't go back we can only go foward. One day at a time. I know losing a parent is tough. I lost my mother when she was only 55 to cancer. I wish for you to remember all the wonderful times with your dad. He is always with you and always will be.  I will keep you and your family in my prayers.  Take care,  Tom

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 1063
Joined: Apr 2017

Your post is very concerning.  My attitude is not to look back unless it changes how you are living now.  But I remember when my father died.  They sent out a police chaplain (all unattended deaths get a police investigation) and I expressed concern that I was not there to help him when he died.  The chaplain said, "you are right, maybe you could have helped, and then he would have gone to a hospital and suffered for a few weeks before he died."  That was enormously helpful to me.  In the end, I am glad he died in his easy chair at home.  It is natural to second guess and feel guilt when someone dies.  But the reality is that you are living and you have an obligation to get the best out of it, as your father would wish you would.  Good luck with these issues.

danker
Posts: 1238
Joined: Apr 2012

Dear Red, get yourself tested for cancer and continue to do so on a regular schedule!!  My brothes all had one kind of cancer or another, but I wouldn't get a

colonoscopy because it seemed too difficult.  At age 77 I had to get one, and of course had colon cancer stage2/3.  2070 was a very bumpy year treating the cancer.  

But my colonoscopy the following year showed me NED!!  Next week I will have my 88th birthday, so I am living proof that cancer can be beat if you catch it in time!!

Thus I engourage you to get tested often,so you find it early,if at all.  Take care of yourself and live to 90 like I expect to!!! Good luck to you!

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