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Old 05-14-2010, 02:28 PM   #1
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I am dying from cancer

I'm not here for pitty or sympathy or even encouragement. It just helps me to be able to talk about it and try to get what I want to say about it out in the open. My family, my friends, everyone in my life seems to think they are helping me by changing the subject to something else and not dealing with what has to be dealt with. They think if they can somehow cheer me up, everything will be somehow better for them and me. Well, I can't be cheered up. I am coming to an end at the age of 41. I never thought this would happen to me this early. My grandparents lived into their late 80s and mid 90s. I know life isn't fair. It's all random, and no one knows how long they really have left. If anything, I think its worse knowing I am going to die soon, rather than just being surprised by it-- by a sudden death. I am a divorced father of one 18 year old son. He lives with his mom and has very little to do with me. I want to make ammends with him before I die, but at this point, I don't see that happening. I am going to make a video for him to let him know how many regrets I have about not being the best father I could have been to him. I'm going to leave it with my sister and maybe she can get it to him. I don't trust my ex-wife to give it to him. We've had a rocky relationship for a lot of years.

I know everyone will eventually go through the death experience, but I still can't wrap my head around it. The last few seconds of consciousness are going to be the hardest part for me because I will know what's happening to me and how I am just not going to exist anymore.

So now it is like a giant countdown clock has started for me, and I'm thinking about things like-- this is my last spring. This is my last May. This might be my last time to do the various things that I do as part of my daily routine. And I've been going through and making a bucket list of the few remaining things I could possibly do realistically. There's no sky diving adventure on this list. Just little things I've been puting off and it's now or never for them.

Financially I'm in ruins. I am head over heals in debt, my house is upside down with a huge mortgage, I have tons of credit card debt, and now the funny thing is, I don't care about it anymore. I was under a lot of stress worrying about it and considering filing bankruptcy, but now, I don't care about any of it anymore. I'm starting to let go of things.

I've gone through most of my things and I'm starting to give stuff away to relatives and friends. I know it's a landrush once a person dies, so I'm taking of it now so I can make sure these few items get to the people I want them to go to. As far as a will, there's no point in it. I have very little in terms of huge assets or money. There's virtually nothing left to pass on to my son. Just little trinkets and mementos, etc. He's going to have to make his own way in the world now, but I think he will do fine. He's been fine without me most of his life. I think he will get along okay without me for the rest of his life.

My Mom died in 2007 from an accident. Losing her really tore me up inside. She's the one person I wish I could go to now to talk about all of this stuff. I hear people say bad things about their mom, but not me. She loved me unconditionally and always wanted to spend more time with me. She was a far better mom than I ever deserved. I only wish I could have let her know that before she died. All of these things came to my mind at her funeral that I should have said to her before she died. Let that be a lesson to you out there. If there are important people in your life now, let them know now. You may not get a better chance than right now to tell them how you feel. And how will they know unless you tell them?

Last edited by Jm41; 05-14-2010 at 02:33 PM.

 
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Old 05-14-2010, 04:37 PM   #2
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Re: I am dying from cancer

I was 8 when my Dad died. Like you, he was 41, and he died of cancer. In his case, thyroid cancer.

I like your idea of leaving a video for your son. You have no idea how many times I have wished my Dad had left me a letter, or a video, something- ANYTHING that I could remember him by that came from his mind, his heart. I have some of his belongings, but it's not the same. So please DO leave your son a video. And a letter, for that matter. And I hope you won't give up on trying to make amends. It may be, that when he finds out that there isn't any time for him to hold a grudge, that he will let it go and forgive you so he can spend time with you before you go. At the very least, you can go knowing you did your best, that you tried. And when he's ready, your sister could give him the video and letter. At best, you will be able to spend time with him directly.

 
Old 05-14-2010, 08:12 PM   #3
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Re: I am dying from cancer

I hope you contact your son and can meet with him. As someone who had an "absent" father, I would have loved for him to contact me before he passed away. He never did.
Make the best of the months (maybe years) that are left. There must be someone you can share your feelings with and talk honestly about dying. People are probably uncomfortable about the subject so it may be up to you to bring it up.
It's time for you to let your wishes known and verbalize your feelings to people close to you.
Take care and keep posting, OK?
Y.

 
Old 05-15-2010, 09:18 AM   #4
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Re: I am dying from cancer

Jm41...I also think it is a very good idea to make a video to give to your son...i was wondering if you believe in Jesus Christ, because if you do....you will continue to live with Jesus in Heaven for all eternity after your death here on earth... Take Care

 
Old 05-15-2010, 10:34 AM   #5
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Re: I am dying from cancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
I was 8 when my Dad died. Like you, he was 41, and he died of cancer. In his case, thyroid cancer.

I like your idea of leaving a video for your son. You have no idea how many times I have wished my Dad had left me a letter, or a video, something- ANYTHING that I could remember him by that came from his mind, his heart. I have some of his belongings, but it's not the same. So please DO leave your son a video. And a letter, for that matter. And I hope you won't give up on trying to make amends. It may be, that when he finds out that there isn't any time for him to hold a grudge, that he will let it go and forgive you so he can spend time with you before you go. At the very least, you can go knowing you did your best, that you tried. And when he's ready, your sister could give him the video and letter. At best, you will be able to spend time with him directly.
This actually makes me feel better about making this video for my son. I am recording it in stages. I recorded about 12 minutes last night, and then I ran out of things to say. I have so much I want to tell him, but I get nervous when the recorder is rolling and I lose my train of thought and forget what I wanted to say. It helps if I write stuff down that I want to say, and I hope he doesn't mind me occassionally glancing down at my cheat sheet on the table while I'm making these videos for him.


I called him this morning, and he agreed to go see a movie with me this weekend. It's a start. I was surprised he agreed to do anything with me at all. His mom already told him about my pancreatic cancer, and so, I think this may have swayed his decision making. It's sad that he is probably only doing this out of pitty for me at this point, but at least it gives me a chance to spend some time with him and tell him everything I need to tell him, if he's willing to listen to me at this point. The sad thing is that unless this had happened to me, I really don't think I would be even reaching out to him right now. I really have not been a great father for him. I paid child support all those years, but I didn't try hard enough to be a part of his life. It was easier to just let him be angry at me, let his mom win all the arguments, and just let the time pass by, and not do what I needed to do. I'm not a very confrontational kind of person. I shrink away from fights and verbal arguments. And I got busy with a career that ended up going absolutely nowhere. I was a real estate agent. All the time I spent on that job was such a waste of my time. Let me tell everyone out there, when you face your own death, you're not going to be saying, "Oh, if only I had spent more time working at my job." No, you're going to be wishing you had spent more time with the people you loved.

 
Old 05-15-2010, 10:48 AM   #6
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Re: I am dying from cancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
I hope you contact your son and can meet with him. As someone who had an "absent" father, I would have loved for him to contact me before he passed away. He never did.
Make the best of the months (maybe years) that are left. There must be someone you can share your feelings with and talk honestly about dying. People are probably uncomfortable about the subject so it may be up to you to bring it up.
It's time for you to let your wishes known and verbalize your feelings to people close to you.
Take care and keep posting, OK?
Y.

I'm definitely trying to do that.

Some of my relatives are still in denial, they're convinced that if I just try some miracle vitamin or some other nonsense, that I will pull out of this. But I've been to two doctors and both of them told me the same thing. The cancer has spread, and I am down to a few months at best. The problem is that my family is not accepting it, and hoping that if they don't talk about it, it will just go away. The problem is, if they wait too long, I will be gone before we can talk about it. My sister is the only one who will talk to me about it, and even she tries to switch the topic, or says that I'm being too morbid, and that there must be something I could do about it.

My "friends" have pretty much abandoned me at this point. My phone calls to them don't last long, and I'm the one doing all the calling. I wouldn't treat them like this. I guess they weren't really my friends after all. I'm bitter, I know, but that's just how I feel right now.

I maxed out one of my credit cards to go on a trip to Hawaii next week. I have been puting off going to Hawaii my entire life. I've always wanted to go there, and it is one of the few remaining things on my bucket list that I can still do. It doesn't take a great deal of effort to lay on the beach and take in the beautiful scenery. So off I go.

Last edited by Jm41; 05-15-2010 at 11:01 AM.

 
Old 05-15-2010, 10:58 AM   #7
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Re: I am dying from cancer

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Originally Posted by younggranny View Post
Jm41...I also think it is a very good idea to make a video to give to your son...i was wondering if you believe in Jesus Christ, because if you do....you will continue to live with Jesus in Heaven for all eternity after your death here on earth... Take Care

I agree with you about the video.


But, no, I don't believe in Jesus. I don't believe in any God or in any after life. I think once I die it will be the end of my existence.

I'm sad about it, but I know that it is simply the way of all living things. Billions of living things have lived and died before I came on the scene, and billions will live and die after I'm long gone.

My view is that religion is supposed to help people deal with their own mortality by giving them some hope in a fairytale like existence after they die. If it helps you and other people that is fine with me. But I find no real comfort in hoping for something that I'm pretty sure doesn't exist.

If I'm right, I really won't ever know that I'm right. I will go unconscious and never wake back up, and as my brain cells die, there might be some weird sensations going on, but it will only be temporary, and once all the brain cells are dead, there will be no more sensations or thoughts or consciousness for me ever again.

If you're right, I will be pleasantly surprised to suddenly wake up after my brain cells die.

I'm not worried about it either way, because there is nothing I can do about it.

I have made arrangements with a local funeral home to cremate my body after I die, and I have asked my family to scatter my ashes at a place called Luna Lake, near Alpine, Arizona. It was my favorite place to go fishing. I plan on going there after I get back from Hawaii to go fishing there one last time.

 
Old 05-15-2010, 11:36 AM   #8
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Re: I am dying from cancer

Hi Jm
I am like you, not a believer. I envy people who find comfort in their religion but I am not one of them.
My brother-in-law had pancreatic cancer. They did the Whipple surgery on him and it got him a couple of extra years. He passed away without pain.
The trip to Hawaii is a good idea and I am glad your son agreed to meet with you. Be very honest with him and accept whatever feelings he wants to express. He may be angry and resentful but he also may be forgiving and loving.
Is there a support group for people who are facing terminal illnesses in your area? I know they have them where I live in California. I know I would join one if my friends and family did not want to deal with my illness.
Take care of yourself and enjoy your time in Hawaii.
A big hug for you.
Yannick

 
Old 05-15-2010, 05:30 PM   #9
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Re: I am dying from cancer

Jm41-

I'm glad to hear you contacted your son and that he's agreed to go to a movie. Don't question his motives. He's going to have a ton of emotions to work through, but this is going to be so important to him later, to know that he spent time with you before you died.

And I'm glad to hear of the trip to Hawaii. Good for you. I hope you enjoy the trip. Was that part of your bucket list?

Edit: Oh, your story about how people are in denial parallels my father's story also. Only his sister would talk to him about it. She said it was hard, but that he needed to talk to her, so she let him. Maybe preface what you have to say with, "I need to say this, and I need to know you are listening. Don't go into denial, and don't try and comfort me with unrealistic ideas. This is important to me." I don't know what else to suggest. It's hard to watch someone die, hard to accept. But I'm sure you understand that.

Last edited by EagleRiverDee; 05-15-2010 at 05:39 PM.

 
Old 05-15-2010, 06:05 PM   #10
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Re: I am dying from cancer

It is good that you are reaching out to him. Sometimes God allows things to come into our lives so other things can be accomplished. Your son needs you whether he is with you out of pity or not. As he grows into a man he will cherish the time you gave him. It is what you make of your time now that he will remember the most. Spend it well. My prayers are with you.

Just wondering; what if you were wrong? It's never to late.

Last edited by Sister T; 05-15-2010 at 06:10 PM.

 
Old 05-25-2010, 02:09 PM   #11
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Re: I am dying from cancer

JM41, Just wanted to check and see how you are doing...did you go to Hawaii?

 
Old 05-26-2010, 08:41 AM   #12
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Re: I am dying from cancer

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JM41, Just wanted to check and see how you are doing...did you go to Hawaii?

Yes, I did go to Hawaii, and it was worth it. It is something I have wanted to do for most of my life, but I kept puting it off. I mainly took in the beautiful scenery, the sound of the crashing waves on the beach, and the smell of the ocean. It was a wonderful experience for someone who has lived in the deserts of Arizona for most of my life. Absolutely a beautiful place.

Before the trip, I did get a chance to take my son to a movie and to a nice dinner and we talked, or I should say, he talked and I listened mostly. He needed to get a lot of things out, a lot of frustration, a lot of hurt feelings, a lot of uncertainty, and yes, a good deal of anger, but he told me a couple of days later that it was what he needed to do. We are still talking things through and I am taking every chance I can get to see him and let him have as much time as possible to be with his dad.

I have continued to add to the videos I am making for him. When I'm finally done, he will have hours of videos of me to watch and listen to after I'm gone.

I am definitely feeling the symptoms of this cancer now. I am afraid it is moving quickly towards a conclusion. It's a good thing I went on the trip to Hawaii while I still felt good enough for the long plane ride. I couldn't do it with the way I feel today.

I have hospice lined up to take care of my final needs and a funeral home has already been paid in full for my eventual cremation and memorial service with everything planned out, so I won't be a burden to any of my family members. I'm doing mainly palliative care and pain meds. Surgery only to drain fluids and make me more comfortable. No radiation, and no chemotherapy. I saw what one of my uncles went through with aggressive surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy and he was miserable for months fighting a losing battle. If I thought I had a chance to survive this, I would fight it too. But I know it would be a losing battle and I don't want to put myself through that.

There are few more practical things left on my bucket list, and I am working towards completing them with the time I have left.

 
Old 05-26-2010, 08:47 AM   #13
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Re: I am dying from cancer

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It is good that you are reaching out to him. Sometimes God allows things to come into our lives so other things can be accomplished. Your son needs you whether he is with you out of pity or not. As he grows into a man he will cherish the time you gave him. It is what you make of your time now that he will remember the most. Spend it well. My prayers are with you.

Just wondering; what if you were wrong? It's never to late.
Thanks, I am definitely put the time left to good use for my son.

If I'm wrong, I think I will be pleasantly surprised to find out that there is an afterlife after I die.

If there is a God out there and if this God made us with the ability to live on after our physical deaths, then it will be interesting to discover what comes next.

Unfortunately, I think it will simply be a fading into black nothingness as whatever made my personality from a collection of brain cells breaks down as the brain cells die off.

 
Old 05-26-2010, 09:56 AM   #14
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Re: I am dying from cancer

Jm41-

I'm so glad you got to do your Hawaii trip, and more importantly, that you got to visit with your son and that you are starting to rebuild your relationship. That is great news.

I hope you'll reconsider your views on God as well. I'm not preaching but I have seen evidence with my own eyes of proof of God's existence and I hope you'll add one item to your bucket list- Get to know God before you die. Consider it this way- if He exists, you are better off to have developed a relationship with Him before you die. If He doesn't, you're no worse off, are you?

Dee

 
Old 05-26-2010, 12:27 PM   #15
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Re: I am dying from cancer

Jm41, I am so glad that you were able to go to hawaii but the best thing is that you and your son are talking....your son will always cherish these days that he has with you.Nobody can replace a dad... I wish that i could convince you that there is more to life than just this life.... God has revealed his Spirit to me so many times...I lost my 20 year old nephew last august and truly if it would not have been for God i don't know how we would have made it through...Have you ever read the bible....I believe that if you pray earnestly to the Lord and ask Him to reveal himself to you he will..please give it a try....Take care

 
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