My dad is terminally ill, what can I do?

hwingsApril 27, 2006

I'm a mess since I found out that my dad is terminally ill with cancer everywhere, esophagus, lymph nodes, diaphram, spleen, aeora and pancreas. The Dr's say he has 6-12 mos, which is 5-11 mos now. He is having palliative care and taking chemo for comfort. Now he doesn't want to see his grandchildren, his only ones during this treatment for four weeks. I want him to have quality not quantity, but it seems as though he is choosing quantity. I know it's his decision, but what do I say to my children? My heart is breaking knowing one day sometime soon, I will be losing my dad and my children will be losing their Papa.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me?

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lmb_ckb

Dear hwings
Allow life to be as beautiful as possible with your family for everyones sake. The last memories will be cherished so often. YOu have this time to prepare yourself and chidren for the departing of your father. Many people never get that awsome chance. We were told 3 to 6 months for my terminal ill father. We were given 3 short weeks to tend to his needs and argue with a 74 year old grump that he could not go buy a motorcycle when the Dr. said he could not drive his truck. Hospice was wounderfull to our family and a blessing to us after his passing. The last thing I did for my father was to take him fishing on the side of the river with his oxygen tank. It was Fathers Day 2001. Maybe you and the kids can come up with some simple afternoon delight for all to enjoy. God Bless You..
It will be 5 months on the 6th of May since my 23 year old son was riding his motorcycle on a clear sunny cool day and he rounded a curve too fast. He never was taken to a hospital. HIs beautifull body was covered with a blue tarp on the side of the road. We never got to say goodby. I know he and my dad are eating donuts and fishing together!!! May peace be with your family soon.
Lbennett3@cox.net

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 10:23PM
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jlj48

I lost my Dad to cancer too and losing my precious Dad and later my Mom was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Help him to do this with his dignity, so important to men. Let him have his way and just be there for him, in any way you can. He may change his mind about seeing others, as this gets closer, just give him a chance. I cannot imagine my life ending, so many things to think about. He is taking in alot, just let him take charge of the wheel. We had a family feud in my family because my Dad didn't want to see the grandkids and family members couldn't understand that and brought them in anyway. 2 days later he changed his mind and saw everyone. Just take it a day at a time. My heart goes out to you.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 2:31PM
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debiesta

Allow your dad to control who visits. The children can make cards and pictures to have you bring to him. Set up a bulletin board for the cards and pictures and place it where he can see them. Maybe the children can say hello to him on the phone. Children are very resilient and understand far more than they are given credit for. This will be a very difficult time, but it can also be a time for you to be a blessing to your father. When you look back over the months spent with your dad on his last journey, you will know you did all you could do for him. These memories will be a blessing to you.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 8:26PM
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lulie___wayne

I'm so sorry for the grief that you are already having to endure. The anticipation of death for someone you love is horrible, I know.
If you continue to honor your dad's wishes you won't regret it. Just explain it to the kids as best as you can. As debiesta said, let them send him things to let him know that they love him. Just tell your dad that if and when he is ready to see them that they will be there, but until then, they will honor his wishes.
Again, I am so sorry for what you are going through.
Lu

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 9:46AM
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hwings

Hello and Thank You to all whom have responded to my posting.
My dad has come around and has been visiting with the grandkids! :-) (YEAH!)
He's off his feeding tube, and is trying to eat..
His biggest problems are being tired, eating and having accidents..Poor fellow, doesn't want to go out, but doesn't want to use an external cathedar device..
He isn't in pain which is amazing and AWESOME!
It's hard to believe he's not going to be around for the holidays.. I'm going crazy on a daily basis, worrying, being sad..I already miss him and he's not gone...
He's my only parent, I do not talk with my mother. I feel like I'm loosing it, which I've been told will happen, but I can't, not with 4 little ones running around.
I wish there was something more I could do...
I live 1 1/2 hrs away from him, I can only visit on Sunday..I'm send him e-cards. He doesn't pick them up..
I've been sending jokes, he doesn't read his email!
What else can I do?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 1:21PM
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greeneyz

Remember this? The old, "The Byrds" song? Read it and know that there is nothing you can do but accept. I learned it the hard way. As I'm sure lulie_wayne has also. I lost my son in 2004 and I just lost my best friend, who died of cancer, on May 7.

Iris

Words-adapted from the bible, book of ecclesiastes
Music-pete seeger

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear its not too late

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 4:17PM
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popi_gw

hwings

You are doing your best, your children are there for you to brighten your day, they are a comfort, they are the future.

You are grieving now, take a coupla deap breaths, look for joy in your day, as you cope with such a difficult time.

Its hard, I know.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 7:40PM
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hwings

Thank you again for your words of encouragement.
Sunday's visit was tough..He is getting very depressed.
He isn't eating enough, he refuses the feeding tube and doesn't want to do anything or go out..Too tired, from the chemo.This is sooooooo heart wrenching!
He has no hell to fear, he is already in hell!
I'm a mess, I don't know what to do, how to help, I can't fix anything! I'm gonna go...cry! I'm sorry..

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 7:12AM
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kaylin_2006

hwings- sorry about your dad. I know what your going threw. when I was going threw this with my family the dr.s and hospice told us that the patient goes threw stages themselves, on trying to accept whats happening to them they go threw saddness, depression, why me. and finally accepting their fate. it's so hard on everyone. just do everything you can for him and most of all never have any regrets on what more you could have done. my mother had six kids,she only as me and one son left.she makes it threw each day with her faith in God she never never blamed God for all thats happened in her life. also my dad died of stomach ca. my prayers goes out to you.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 9:20PM
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airliejoy

I can understand how you are feeling as my father died of cancer two and a half months ago. Seeing him suffer was incredibly difficult and I felt angry that I was totally powerless over his illness.
The best thing I did was go to all our favourite walking places etc and write down how I felt about him, how grateful I was for having him as a father, funny memories etc. I also added that he needn't worry about me when he was gone because he had been a good father and example to me and because of this I was equiped with the strength, tools and love to handle whatever life threw at me, good or bad.
I returned home to his bedside and read the letter to him, unedited, with tears pouring down my face and at the same time worrying that he might think I was being over emotional and trying to 'hurry him off'. He didn't.
After I had finished he read the letter himself and when he had finished I asked him what he thought - he said " I am over the moon". More tears and a big hug.
I miss him terribly and have been through every grief stage in various stages and forms over and over again...however, when I am feeling really sad the thing that makes everything seem better is the surety that he knew exactly how I felt about him and knew he was very much loved by me. That was and is enough. Sometimes we can presume that our loved ones know exactly how we feel about them.
He died three months after I wrote that letter and it released something between us and I was able to just 'be' with him. I felt closer to him somehow.
Go to your father with your heart open, talk to him, show him some love,go with the flow and be yourself.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 4:37PM
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hwings

Hello and Thank You again for your kind words of wisdom, regarding the toughest times in one's life. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.
Well, the update is that the cancer has spread, he's going downhill very fast. He's been in the hospital for 9 days.
He's basically starving to death, he hasn't had a feeding tube since the 24th, he's on IV, his poor mouth is so dry, I try so hard to moisten it, but he doesn't want much.
The Dr.'s say it could be hrs, days or even a week. They don't know..I'm travelling with my 4 kids to see him, we've been staying at a hotel. We're going back today until Thur. unless things change.
I have told him it's okay to let go..He is suffering..But he is still fighting..He wanted to take out the IV and they explained what will happen if they take it out and now he's leaving it alone. He can't really talk and his mind goes in and out..I think I'm at peace with him dying because this is not the way anyone should live..They have more humane deaths for animals...I hate seeing him like this..
Well, I have to work on laundry and feed the munchkins..Get ready for yet another road trip..
Thank you again..Heather

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 8:04AM
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chattypatty49

hwings,
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
I too, have been down that road and will be thinking of you in days to come.
Patty

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:12AM
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hwings

Well, he passed..On Thur.,June 22 at age 65.
I am past the crying phase, I think..?
I am very confused these days. I have been loosing track of time, days, events..HELP!
How long does this last? When do things go back to normal?
What is normal? My birthday was the 1st, My favorite weekend of the year, I had no interest in the fireworks..Nothing..
I can't eat, I haven't cooked a meal yet..I can't wrap my mind around making a shopping list..I've sent my poor husband to the grocery store SO MANY times..I'm LOST!

When does this stop!?! I can't focus..This is very strange!
I have lost grandparents that were very close to me, why is this different?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:19AM
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alhumason_aol_com

I am sorry about your dad. My mom passed alittle over a year ago from cancer. I know just how you feel. Lost, numb, paralyzed, unorganized. Nothing excites you and it is hard to do the simplest of things. You are in shock and are greiving. You watched you parent suffer and die and that is such a horrible, draining experience. You will never be the same. Things will get a little easier but never the same. It takes a long time and everyone deals with it differently. There is not right or wrong. It just is. My heart goes out to you.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 11:54PM
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