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Feeling Overwhelmed by Dad's diagnosis 
Started by Yankeegirl79
01 Apr 2013, 5:46 AM

Hi everyone, 

i am very new here, and very new to the horrible world of cancer. I hope that all of you are doing well in your/your families journeys And am grateful for anyone reading this to lend a virtual ear.
I moved away from home about a year ago and am currently at the tail end of a month long visit to see my parents. My dad was sick with pneumonia soon after our arrival, and the Dr ordered a ct scan. Well, we got a call and were refered to an oncologist as there was a mass in his lung, we went to see her, and were told that she knows from the shaping of the mass and such that its definitely Cancer. he also has enlarged lymph nodes and what she believes is some involvement  with the fourth rib and feels that it is most probably in late stages. He is having a biopsy this coming Thursday to confirm all off this. 
My dad is very depressed, of course, and combining that with his general unwell feeling, is miserable. I am having a hard time dealing with him as he is showing no signs of caring how his family is feeling or anything, and is treating us all like garbage. Have any of you had to deal with emotional abuse upon diagnosis or have any suggestions on how to deal with it?
I am also feeling very guilty about having to return home at the end of this week leaving my mom to deal with everything. 

Thank you kindly in advance. 

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Reply by moderator | modératrice
01 Apr 2013, 8:16 PM

Dear Yankeegirl,

Welcome to VirtualHospice. I'm so glad you found us (although I wish you didn't need to). I'm also glad that you feel comfortable telling us about your situation. It's tough. Unfortunately, I think your father's manner of dealing with his illness and upcoming prognosis is quite common. Several of us on Virtual Hospice know this first hand (myself included). 

I'm sure other members will come to share with you on this thread you have started. In the meantime, you may wish to read and post to these threads. Simple click on the links and meet NiteLad and Frustrated.
I look forward to sharing with you.
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Reply by marstin
02 Apr 2013, 12:09 AM

Hi Yankeygirl79,

You have found the right place to share your fears and concerns. I'm sure since this is all so new to you that you are feeling pretty overwhelmed by all that is going on. You have spoken about how miserable and inconsiderate your Dad is being and my guess would be from fear and the loss of control over his life. Already being weak from his pnemonia probably hasn't helped his emotional state then to hear this frightening news probably has sent him into a tailspin. How to deal with it is another matter. If possible, try not to take it personally. When my husband was very ill with cancer his personality changed. He bacame less tolerant of little things and so uncharacteristic of him, he would sometimes swear at us. My husband was always a very calm, gentle person. What kind of medications is your Dad on? These can often lead to different and difficult behavior.

It is unfortunate at this time that you have to leave your mom but it sounds like you don't have a choice.. Is their any other family members near her to help her deal with things?

Please keep sharing on here and let us know how things are going. Like our wonderful Moderator Colleen said, there are others on here that have more recently gone through something similar to what you are dealing with and I hope that they will share their stories with you.


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Reply by Yankeegirl79
08 Apr 2013, 9:04 AM

Thank you for your replies :)

i am back home and still feeling ample amounts of guilt. My dads biopsy went as well as those things can. The dr. Confirmed the cancer and explained that it was inoperable, non-small cell and it's spread to the lymph nodes. My mom and dad will be going back to the dr this Thursday to I guess set a game plan? I don't know how these things go. I wish I was there for support. 
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Reply by marstin
08 Apr 2013, 4:39 PM

Hi Yankeegirl79,

This is a frightening journey and I'm so glad that you have found this forum to have others walk beside you. I would guess that you are right in that your parents will learn on Thursday what the course of treatment will be. It's generally a very slow process and each step seems to take far too long for those waiting to know exactly what is going to happen. At this point there really is nothing you can do but wait and see.

How far away are you from your parents? Is there siblings that can be there to help your mom?  Is there anyone else close to her to lean on? Please tell us a little more about yourself.

Know that you can lean on us and we will share with you our experiences and what we have learned along the way on how to cope.

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Reply by NiteLad
12 Apr 2013, 11:37 PM

Hi Yankeegirl,

I am so sorry to hear about your Dad.  My own Father passed away on March 4 of pancreatic cancer, and I can relate to a lot of what you write about.  My Dad was also very depressed after his diagnosis, and before he got on better pain management, was absolutely miserable to be around.  I felt like I needed to spend time with my Dad as he was dying, but at the same time, he was being such an A-hole that I didn't even want to be around him.  So I do know what this is like.  Unfortunately, I don't have any answers for you.  :-(  No matter how much you want to, you just can't change the way a person behaves.  
All I can suggest, is to "sweep your side of the street".  Do the things that you have control over.  Don't feed off of his behavior, be as pleasant and as positive as you can.  Know that you are being kind and considerate, and that any negativity is coming from his "side of the street".  But protect yourself, know when you have to leave or when you just can't be around him.  It is a horrible position to be in, and very emotionally draining.  I hope that makes some sense.  It doesn't mean you love him any less, just that you won't allow any emotional abuse, intentional or not.
You are not alone.......  NiteLad
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Reply by Brayden
13 Apr 2013, 6:32 PM

Hello Yankeegirl,
I have read your posts and can feel the stress that has been thrown your way. I really liked the comment that Nitelad sent you in that you can only change what you are in control of. Is your mother in a position to be the primary caregiver? If so, she too will need much support. Once the palliative care team is in place for your father, you will be able to connect with social workers etc. to hopefully get some of the answers and support that you will need. Again, as has been said, please be patient with your father as he has had his world turned upside down too. You are all in this boat together. Please keep posting and venting, if necessary. We care for you.
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Reply by JennJilks
24 Apr 2013, 12:48 PM

I find, as a hospice volunteer, that we are so caught up in the 'battle' with a disease. What do you say? What do you do?
You cannot change the present, but you can laud the past.
I usually do a Life Review with my clients. This began as I wrote my late father's obituary, while he was dying of a brain tumour. It helped to focus on his achievements, what I appreciated about him, and what he meant to me. This is a much more in-depth process that helps you and your loved one come to terms with the meaning of life. It is very therapeutic.
The other thing to do is to go over old photos with your father as well as your mother. This makes for a very positive encounter. I just lost a client this past week, and I so loved her!Hard-working hands
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
24 Apr 2013, 3:39 PM

Hi Yankeegirl,

It has been a while since we've heard from you. How are you doing? How have you been managing to support your parents from afar? I don't want to bombard you with questions. If you have a moment, please drop us a line.

I LOVE the phrase you used "sweep your side of the street". I have used it several times since in my own circle of family dynamics. Very sound advice.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but a new member joined our community who I'd like to introduce you to. Loll started the thread Losing my Dad yesterday. She is looking to share with others who find themselves in similar circumstances.

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Reply by Yankeegirl79
14 May 2013, 6:07 AM

Hello all,

I have to apologize for not coming on here to give an update, I've been very overwhelmed and depressed and haven't wanted to face the reality of it all. It is a little easier for me to do as I am so far away from my family, and am not able to witness everything first hand.

My dad's diagnosis has been made, stage 4 non small cell with metasis to ribs, spine and lymph nodes. He is also going for a scan of his brain tomorrow, my mom said that the dr mentioned spots, but I don't get all of the details. My mom cant talk to me about it when my dad is around as it makes him angry.  He has completed 5 rounds of radiation on the lungs, and will be meeting with the dr again next tuesday.

Things have been very horrible at home, my dad has become even more difficult to deal with, and my mother is at her wits end as to what to do. He is eating like a bird as he says that anything he eats makes him nauseas. And when my mom brings him anything to eat, he yells at her that it's garbage :( He hasn't talked to me since I left at the end of March, he refuses to answer any of my telephone calls, saying it's too hard for him.  My brothers had gone over to visit on mothers day for a few hours and he didn't say a word to them, just glared at them when they said that they hope he feels better.

I feel like I've already lost my dad........

Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart for reading my thoughts     
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