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please give advice on how I can help my dad 
Started by dana0507
01 Oct 2013, 3:46 AM

Hello.
I never thought I would need to be on here (didn't expect to have someone so close to me with cancer and I never imagined I would have difficulty coping with it). 

My dad has been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. He has just begun the dreaded chemo. He is having a very difficult time with his diagnosis and his treatment. It is so hard to see someone that has always been so strong in this condition. I feel helpless that he is in pain and that he is fatigued and seems depressed. I also feel sorry for my mom who recently retired. They are supposed to be out enjoying life, traveling, etc.

What I am asking for is advice from other family members on how you cope. Any suggestions how I can help my mom?

Also, from those of you that are in a similar situation as my dad or have been in the past, I ask you for advice on what I can do to help him.      

Thank you and bless you!  
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
01 Oct 2013, 5:28 PM

Hi Dana,

Welcome to Virtual Hospice. I'm glad that you found us. There are several members of our community who have helped their parents as one was disgnosed with metastatic cancer. I'd like to intorduce you to mich, pudding and lilbear among others.

See the threads:

Strong mixed emotions
and
I'm getting so burnt out.. help

(I'll add the links when I get to my computer.)

Has your father been introduced to a social worker or a palliative nurse?
Colleen
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Reply by NatR
01 Oct 2013, 6:05 PM

Welcome Dana,

as Colleen says you have found a great place to vent, ask, cry, or get insight into others walk along the journey of caregiving.

first of all, my heart goes out to you as you deal with the difficult news about your dad.  I also feel badly for your mom who as you said is looking forward to enjoying retirement, travelling, and so much more.

can you share a bit about how close you live to your parents? If you are close, then you will find your assistance invaluable to both your parents.  do you have siblings -  are they close by or at a distance ?   

I personally have lost both parents who lived at a distance - and was not able to support or help as I wished I could have.
I have also worked as a front line caregiver, so I do understand some of what you are going through - although it is different for each of us.

you will get responses from others who will offer you ideas, a shoulder to lean on, and a place to share feelings as you are able to.

sending  thoughts today
NatR
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Reply by dana0507
02 Oct 2013, 3:15 AM

Thank you for your responses.

I am minutes away from my parents. I do have siblings, however, they tend not to be very helpful the majority of the time. 


I am having difficulty knowing exactly what I can do to be of help to my dad. He is having a tough time emotionally. He has always been very outgoing, a "jokester" and always upbeat. Now, he is withdrawn at times...sleeps often and prefers to stay at home. I work in healthcare so I know these are potential signs of depression.
I call him daily, sometimes twice. I offer to bring him food, take him to breakfast, invite him to the kids' activities, church, etc. He hasn't accepted any of these offers the past week. He is "new" to "being sick." He just started his chemo. I am keeping all of this in mind but any ideas on how I can be more helpful?


Thanks for listening!!       
   
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Reply by NatR
02 Oct 2013, 3:40 AM

Hi again Dana

i was hoping someone else would have written tonite to add more ideas

i am thinking that your dad is probably struggling with this serious diagnoses and is going to be going through a lot in his body and mind.

i am going to suggest that you keep on with the calls, the offers, bring by food, stop in for coffee, or biting tidbits of favorite dishes, just keep the communication open.

knowing you are there will be of great help to your dad - it all takes time, to process diagnosis, treatment etc.

i have a family member my age who has been dealing with colon cancer, and has taken chemo for a year.

although we are not close, I started a private Facebook group for the family, friends and anyone who wanted to send daiily or weekly messages, post photos, jokes, just say that we were thinking about her.

it turned out to be the best thing I could have done.  Now that may not work or be suitable for your dad - but it's an idea.

i hope that this might give you an idea of something you can do for your dad that is just for him, that makes him feel the attention and thought that you so obviously have for him

I realize we are all different, and it is different strokes for different folks.  Just continue to do what you are doing, make every day count, every visit.  I know you already do.

i also understand that it's not every child who can handle parents - it's not easy to  turn the tables and take care of them.  It's alien, it's hard to accept.

hope this helps, sending you a hug, look forward to hearing what you come up with that works.  
Fear is a big thing, fear of losing health, fear of pain, the unknown, so just handle with care and patience:)
good luck.  And remember, you take care of you.  It's hard to be the caregiver too.
best wishes 
natR 
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Reply by NatR
02 Oct 2013, 3:41 AM

Dana, apologies for spelling errors, the spell check does have a mind of its own!
nat 
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
03 Oct 2013, 9:28 PM

Hi Dana,

I've added the links to the threads in my message above so you can click directly to the other conversations with pudding, lilbear and mich2.

It can be so disarming to feel helpless with our own family members when working in health care we help others daily. NatR knows this firsthand as do others on this forum. Actually at the moment I find myself in a similar situation with my father. He has stage 4 colon cancer. It does seem to help him to get out. Then he can still be the jokester with friends and particularly with strangers - store clerks and gas station attendants, etc. - more so with them than with his own family. But these outings need to be his idea and don't happen at our coaxing. That wouldn't work. What I constantly have to remind myself is that he needs to find his "control" over the situation and not define for him what I think he has control over. 

And then there is my mother. She is quite willing to have my support and I look for ways that I can do this. However, it is not always clear how I can help best. Mostly, I try to listen without judgement (not always easy), and help with practical matters.

How long has it been since your dad was diagnosed with metastatic cancer?
Colleen 
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Reply by mich2
03 Oct 2013, 11:12 PM

Hi Dana,

i'm so sorry to hear about your Dad.  My my mom passed away 2 months ago after an 8 year struggle with lung cancer.

There is so much I would like to say to you about helping both your mom and dad.  I was a caregiver for my mom, during her struggle, and I know how difficult this is for all of you.

Your dad may be struggling with processing the fact that he has been diagnosed with cancer and trying to work through what his life is going to look like for the next while.  It may be very hard for him to be the 'jokester' and outgoing person he used to be, particularly right now.  He may not need any more than an ear and a hug.  Depression may certainly be part of it as well, and the fear of treatment. Coming to terms with a major setback like this may take him quite awhile

i helped both my Mom and Dad with everything from housecleaning to caregiving to chauferfering (or however u spell it).  After all that, and driving myself crazy in the process, I finally realized that really what they wanted was to simply be with me, no matter what we were doing.  Unfortunately that was a lesson learned too late in my case.  My Dad told me the night Mom passed away that he just wanted me to start being his daughter and not his mother.

i guess what I'm trying to say is that the most important things, in my opinion, you can do for both your Mom and Dad is to love them, enjoy them, listen to them, and be there to support them both.  

Sending my my thoughts and prayers to you.

mich2 
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Reply by dana0507
05 Oct 2013, 2:48 AM

I am sad to hear about your mom. What a long fight!
I appreciate your advice!!
 
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Reply by dana0507
05 Oct 2013, 2:50 AM

Colleen,
My dad was diagnosed with sarcome of the thigh last November. He then developed a single lung met which resected and then radiated. He now has 3 pulmonary metastases with some rib destruction and recurrence in his leg.  

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