Hi all, I am hoping for some direction for anyone who has lost a loved one to terminal cancer. My father and I are very close, he basically brought me up and is the only parent I have known as my mom passed when I was younger. He has had aches and pains the past yrs and an irregular heart beat (afib). He was very very weak and tired beginning last week. My sister who lives a few miles from him in AZ took him to his primary for a visit, he told him to go to the ER regarding his heart. Well, they shocked his heart and his heart starting beating normally again. We thought that was it. Well, last year my father went to another hospital re his heart and they found two little spots on his lungs, but were not worried about it and told him to get it checked up 6 months later--which he did not, nor did his primary follow up (it STUNS me the hospital did not look into these spots regardless of the size at that time). So while in the hospital for this visit, the doctor wanted to run some tests. They found what they thought was cancer in his liver. I immediatly flew out from San Franciso with my brother and just as we were entering my dads room, the oncologist was in there telling him he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer which is not treatable, he said at best he has a yr. I am so devasted and do not know what to do. My father has always been such a strong man and it is ripping me apart to know that he has this. I am so lost and so so sad. I arrived home today from AZ and just do not know what to do or what to expect. Thankfully my sister lives near him however she has a family and also needs to balance her life. I feel so helpless being here in San Francisco. I think my brother may move out temporarily to live with my dad to help as well. I am so fearful that my dad is going to get more depressed and the last thing I want him to feel is lonely.
How do I handle this? What do I do? I dont know how to make it through this. Please offer me any advice you may have.
K2626, I'm so sorry about your Dad, my heart breaks for you. I lost my Dad to lung cancer in 1991 and my heart still aches. I know what you are going through. I was so overwhelmed by the "big" picture in the beginning that I couldn't put 1 foot in front of the other. I was scared spitless. It was all I thought about, day and night and the what if's. After about of month of that, I came to the conclusion that if I didn't start living one day at a time, I would lose my mind. My mantra became "everything is OK for today, tomorrow might be different, but for today it's ok" We had alot of OK days with my dad during that 5 months for which I'll always be greatful. I spent as much time as I could with him, talking with him, listening to him and just being with him. It's a very hard road you're on but one you will get through. Cry when you need to and laugh when you can. Good luck to you and your family.
I am sorry to hear about your fathers ill health. I suggest that you do as much as you can to help your dad. Have they mentioned anything about bringing in hospice? I can not say enough good things about this invaluable service--they serve the patient and the family. You will learn so much and get so much comfort from them and possible extra help for your dad.
I helped cared for my elderly g-mother during her last months alive last year--and was with her day and night last 2 weeks of her life. I would not change that for anything. hospice really should have been involved sooner, but, when they did, man, what a great support and it really helps the families during this time with coping emotionally and making the patient as comfortable as possible. They enlighten you to things that you may not be aware of as to what to expect during your fathers journey through end of life.
Make your fathers end of life as loving and attentive to his needs as possible. Keep your needs met as best you can too to avoid burnout. Having a support system is very important.
There are many people that do homecare that can help ease the load of caregiver too--find good people to surround yourself with--and hospice is a really good start.