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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    332

    Default My dad has cancer :(

    Just diagnosed. It's still sinking in, and weird to say those words together in a sentence. We don't have an exact diagnosis yet, still running tests, but it is some type of gastric/stomach cancer and it has spread a bit to his lymph nodes and possibly part of his liver. I don't really know much beyond that, and frankly at this point don't think I can handle more. He meets with his doctor again on Friday for more info.

    From what reading I've done on-line (always a bad idea!!) his category of cancer is typically not caught early (check) and doesn't generally have a good prognosis.

    I know I'm not the only one here who's gone through a loved one getting cancer- how do you deal with it? How do you adjust to the "new normal" and the uncertainty? How do you keep up optimism in the face of the odds? I work in the medical research field, and I know that generally, anecdotes don't mean squat, but at this point I would love to hear all the stories in the world of those who have had cancer and fought back to beat the odds. It's weird. And scary. I just want to bury my head in the sand and pretend it's not really happening



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2007
    Location
    ....in a classroom in Fl, by the ocean
    Posts
    3,657

    Default

    (((HUGS))) to you and jingles for your family and your father.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    Burbank, California
    Posts
    721

    Default

    Big hugs! It is really hard. Try to stay off of the internet as much as you can and get the fact-specific information from his doctor. Dr. Google will just freak you out and keep you up at night. I've been through it with my mom and my grandpa, and it is really hard, but just be there for him and we'll all be jingling for you!
    "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Sunny Florida
    Posts
    738

    Default

    Oh,my Dear, hugs for you.

    My mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had no idea, did not feel ill. On a routine wellness visit with her doctor, her blood panel was done and the doctor noticed something. Sent her directly to the hospital for a colonoscopy, which was clean. Sent her directly for an MRI which disclosed a baseball sized tumor on the outside of her colon. She went directly into the operating room and the tumor was excised. She was to go for chemo, but after her second round of chemo she said she was done. (It made her soooo sick). We were all terrified for her. She lived, cancer free until she died of unrelated illness some 20 years after her surgery.

    Have faith. Be strong.
    "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2001
    Location
    up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
    Posts
    3,604

    Default

    You take it one day at a time, and sometimes you take it one hour, or one minute, at a time. You keep doing anything and everything that made life good and fun before the diagnosis, and you work around things you can't do or don't feel like doing or aren't fun anymore. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for those moments when you aren't at your best; it's OK. Let people help you; I know that can be really hard to do, but there will be times you will really need it, and it makes people feel good to give to others.

    There are likely support groups out there for your dad's particular diagnosis; ask the patient navigator or patient advocate at your dad's treatment facility about these and other resources. In my area, there's a cancer support center that will match newly diagnosed patients with survivors of the same/similar type of cancer who volunteer to help guide new patients. That same center offers a lot of support options for caregivers and family members too.

    Talk with your dad about having someone go with him to doctors' appointments to take notes; getting a cancer diagnosis is a really big shock, and it's hard to focus on all the things the doctor is telling you, especially those first few visits.

    Don't be afraid to get a second opinion or try another doctor/treatment center if your current doctor/facility isn't meeting your dad's needs.

    Best wishes to your dad!
    Full-time bargain hunter.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    10,134

    Default

    Hugs to you and your Father and I'm sorry this is happening to your family. I've been in your shoes and it's a scary time. Onelaneroad gave you excellent advice.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    332

    Default

    Thanks for the support. I'm making him go to Dana Farber in Boston for a second opinion, regardless of the diagnosis and tx plan that his current oncologist comes up with- figure it's never a bad thing to get more info, and DF is one of the best cancer centers in the country. I'm 1.5 hrs away from him and my sister is several states away but my mom went with him today and will be going with him to future appts. too. One day at a time...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 13, 2005
    Location
    Never precisely sure where I am.
    Posts
    455

    Default

    When my dad was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, it was like someone had taken my life as I knew it, shaken it like a snow globe, and the pieces of it were coming down all around me. The only way my brothers and I knew how to combat the feeling of utter helplessness that came with the diagnosis was to jump in and become active participants in his life and treatment.

    We helped with appointments, transportation, note taking (as a previous poster mentioned), fielded phone calls and emails from his coworkers and friends, and supported my mother by cooking, cleaning and anything else she needed done. We advocated for him when he was too tired to do it for himself and butted heads with doctors or nurses when he felt he wasn't being heard. But most of all, we were there for him and spent as much time as we could letting him know how very much we loved him.

    Hugs and good wishes to you and your family. It's a difficult diagnosis to wrap your head around, but never stop believing and hoping.
    A horse may be coaxed to drink, but a pencil must be lead.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    2,478

    Default

    Spend as much time with him as you can. My dad died three months ago today from cancer. He only made it eight weeks after his diagnosis, he was told nine months to two years. I agree about him not going to appointments alone. Also understand that he is dealing with a lot of intense thoughts and emotions right now as are the rest of your family members. I am so, so sorry you are dealing with this. If you ever need to vent or need a supportive listener or anything PM me.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    332

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by onthebit View Post
    Spend as much time with him as you can. My dad died three months ago today from cancer. He only made it eight weeks after his diagnosis, he was told nine months to two years. I agree about him not going to appointments alone. Also understand that he is dealing with a lot of intense thoughts and emotions right now as are the rest of your family members. I am so, so sorry you are dealing with this. If you ever need to vent or need a supportive listener or anything PM me.
    Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry That is so quick..I can't imagine what you're dealing with. Thank you for the offer to talk.

    Yes, my sister and I are already changing our plans for the holidays- she wasn't planning on coming up for Christmas this year since she came last year and traveling with 2 toddlers is tough, but she's now booking flights for the whole family to come up for a week. My hubby and I will be spending Thanksgiving with my parents also, either at our place or theirs, and I'm sure we will be down in between everything as well. If he does go to DF, we are hoping he will stay with us as we are only 15 miles from Boston. Hoping for the best..



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2006
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    1,760

    Default

    I'm so sorry you're going through this.

    I was 10 years old when my dad was diagnosed with melanoma. I couldn't tell you much about it if I tried. My parents didn't go into a lot of detail about it when I was younger. I do know that he did a lot of chemo and removed the mole on his side where the cancer started. Then he was better for a long time. When I was 15 they found out the cancer was back, worse than before. He died shortly before I turned 17.

    Every one handles it differently, I'm sure. You're an adult, so you'll handle it differently than I did as a young teenager. My brother is 5 years older than me, so I'm sure he handled it differently when he was 20 than I did at 15. I mostly remember the end when he was very very sick. I was completely freaked out, scared because I knew I was going to lose my dad, frustrated because there was nothing anyone could do, angry that my family was dealing with this, selfishly angry that I had to deal with it.

    My whole thing is that, if he HAD to have cancer, I wish I'd been an adult when it happened. It's not like a 10 yr old can offer much support, and I was having increasingly more trouble dealing with everything at the end. I know I didn't always make the situation any easier. Had I been older I could have helped - gone to dr appointments, helped out with bills. Instead I was just a PITA teenager - at least that's how I feel whenever I look back on it.

    It's been almost 12 years since my dad died and I still miss him so much it makes my insides ache. However, I've probably come out of it a stronger person.

    Be there for your family as much as you can, and stay as strong as you can. Spend as much time with your dad as possible. I don't know if you or your family are religous - my dad spent a lot of time reading the Bible and the pastor at our church would come over and hang out with him sometimes - sometimes just to hang and talk about whatever, because they genuinely became good friends. My family was always religous, but not as much a some - we didn't do church every Sunday or anything, just sometimes. But I think my dad found a lot of support in reading the Bible and talking to the pastor.

    Cancer, in all its shapes and forms, sucks completely. I really feel for you, your dad, your family and friends. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you ever just need to talk stuff out.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2008
    Posts
    2,765

    Default

    Just wanted to say good luck, and great idea to go to Dana Farber. One suggestion is for him or your mom (or both) to write things down as much as possible during/after appointments. It's hard to process everything they tell you, and comparing notes helps figure out what you missed.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2006
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    1,951

    Default

    It sounds like he will be in the very best of hands. Wishing you and your dad strength for the road ahead and best wishes for effective treatment and to beat this thing together.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,747

    Default

    Hugs



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,347

    Default

    I don't have much to add, but I wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2007
    Location
    (throw dart at map) NC!
    Posts
    4,465

    Default

    Hey you,

    You are doing the right things. Dana Farber is an excellent choice and I hate to say, but doing research on your own can help you ask the right questions and understand what's happening with your Dad. You just have to stay strong and ask all the questions you can of your doctors and the nurses. I also suggest that you and your Dad contemplate support groups. They are great for emotional support and even better for helping people navigate the trials and tribulations of treatment.

    My heart goes out to you and your Dad. Stay strong and do not give up hope!!!
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2003
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
    Posts
    12,752

    Default

    Big hugs to you. I've been there. I don't have any advice, as I think it is very personal, depending a lot on the family. Also, my dad's was terminal from diagnosis. It was really a matter of just making the best of the time we had left with him (ended up being about 10 months) and keeping him as comfortable as possible.

    Like I said, it really depends on the family and the individuals. My dad was very peaceful about the diagnosis, which helped all of us be peaceful. Our last months with him were spent loving and laughing.

    Do what feels right to you and your dad and your family and don't let anyone tell you you're doing it wrong. That's all I can say, other than hang tight.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default

    I'm sorry.This is life changing for you and your family.You will have to just take it step by step and try to be strong,but allow yourself to melt once in awhile.I just lost my Mom to BC after she had 14 good yrs(diagnosed at stage 4 ,14yrs ago),she was a miracle to have had that many yrs.I have come to the realization that the day she was diagnosed I had to learn to live a new life,one filled with fear ,hope,angst,joy ,pain,etc.Then again,when she passed I'm faced with trying to learn to live this "new" life.It is a nightmare,but always remember to keep hope.My Mom is a fine example of the miracles that can happen.She never was expected to live so long. My biggest advice is to get a mini recorder and record EVERY doctor appointment.I took Mom to every appointment,stayed in the hospital with her when needed....at the end I lived in there for six wks with her.But even though I did that,I still was so happy to have those recordings for reference when needed.Even though I went to every appt....with all the stress of the situation,it is impossible to catch and remember everything that was said.Do yourself a favor and run to Radio Shack and get one.You can keep it in your pocket and use it to record.Big hug. I want to add....do NOT be afraid to be aggresive about your questions and concerns.The healthcare system can be difficult to deal with,as well as the staff at some times.You are the boss...don't forget that.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2010
    Location
    Earlysville, Virginia
    Posts
    3,242

    Default

    I haven't read the other responses. But my dad was diagnosed on dec 30 2011. He went into surgery to remove a "non cancerous" cyst, and it ended up being cancer. We found out it was cancer in the middle of his surgery. They took many more biopsies.

    He had radiation therapy for 6 weeks. He is now cancer free (thank god!) but he has side effects. He cannot eat almost anything, and he has severe pain. But he is alive!!

    It's rough. But please pm me if you want to talk. Is hard to go through.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2008
    Location
    Afton, Virginia
    Posts
    200

    Default

    So sorry your family is having to deal with this

    Is there a trusted friend who can go to his appointments as well? I have a good friend going through treatment for colon and liver cancer right now and she has found it very helpful to have someone in addition to her husband with her to take notes and ask questions. Someone who cares but is one step removed tends to be able to process all of the information more immediately.

    Quote Originally Posted by She's Pure Gold View Post
    Thanks for the support. I'm making him go to Dana Farber in Boston for a second opinion, regardless of the diagnosis and tx plan that his current oncologist comes up with- figure it's never a bad thing to get more info, and DF is one of the best cancer centers in the country. I'm 1.5 hrs away from him and my sister is several states away but my mom went with him today and will be going with him to future appts. too. One day at a time...



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