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Author Topic: Father w/stage IV colon cancer  (Read 3184 times)

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Offline Dennis

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Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« on: December 08, 2011, 10:55:41 AM »
Hi everyone. I don't come in here often. But I need your help and support now.

I found out my father has stage IV colon cancer which has metastacized into his liver and lungs. We are waiting on results of a brain scan to see if it has spread that far. As of yesterday, the plan is to implant a stint on Friday so chemo can begin sometime next week. The tumor in th colon is blocking, and in fact, engulfing the colon and they want to try to shrink it before trying to remove it.

I'm absolutely pissed! Since moving out at the age of 18 (I'm 40), I have never had a real relationship with my parents other than the phone call for holidays and the occassional visit. We only live three hours away from each other. For some reason, the three of us could never put aside the bullshit that happened and allowed us to move forward as a family. And now I'm paying the price for that.

My parents stated that they don't want to see anyone right now. My father is the strong macho type and probably doesn't want to see him in the state he is in right now. And my mother has the mindset that she has to do this her way for my father. Is this normal?

I feel helpless. I always prided myself on finding solutions to problems whether they were my own or others. I can't fix this!

Thanks for letting me vent.


Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 11:43:15 AM »
I am sorry to hear about your father.

What exact limitations has each parent given you on contact? How was the message (messages) transmitted to you.

Did you speak to your dad on the phone, tell him you want to visit, and he said no?

Or, did you mom refuse your visit, "speaking on behalf" of your father.

Do you have siblings, by the way?

There is no "normal" in any family.  You just want to make the best of what is left of your time to be with your dad.

I went through this with my dad a few years ago. Feel free to PM me, I don't think Ill say too much in public, here.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 11:46:18 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline GSOgymrat

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  • HIV+ since 1993. Relentlessly gay.
Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 11:49:24 AM »
No, you can't fix it.

Everyone deals with illness differently and your parents know what is going to work best for your father. If your father doesn't want to see anyone right now, respect that. Just because he doesn't want to see you right now doesn't mean he won't need you later. I know feeling helpless is frustrating but remind yourself this isn't primarily about you. I recommend asking your parents what you can do to make their lives easier. Let them know you are available to help with anything they need: transportation, meals, caring for pets, someone to talk to. As the primary care giver your mom may need you more than your dad. If you have any siblings consider talking to them for mutual support.

I'm very sorry you and your family are going though this.


Offline Basquo

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 02:32:40 PM »
I'm very sorry to hear this, Dennis. You've been given good advice already. I don't think there's much I can add, except to echo that they may change their tune as they go further down this road. Let them know you can help if needed, and stay the course. It's about their wished right now, but at some point it has to be about the rest of the family, too. I think you should be able to visit your father before he passes, if it gets to that point.

Offline wolfter

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 02:43:05 PM »
I won't say a lot right now but am here if you need experience on this.  Just like many from our generation, I too dealt with this personal and upfront.  All of your emotions are legit and can't be judged by right and wrong.  Hang tight and take care. 

Being honest is not wronging others, continuing the dishonesty is.

Offline phildinftlaudy

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 03:29:44 PM »

I am so sorry to hear about your father's illness. As others have said, these types of events bring out different emotions and different ways of responding from everyone involved.

I wish I had "words of wisdom" or sage advice to give, but it is difficult to know what to say.

I think you have my number - if you need to chat or just a listening ear give me a call ---- if you don't have my number - I will shoot you a PM with it.

Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
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02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

Offline RAB

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 03:47:18 PM »
Hey Buddy

I'm sorry your dad is going through this.  And I'm pretty much in agreement that for right now you've got to respect your parents wishes.

Two years ago my neighbor was diagnosed with colon cancer (stage 3).  The cancer had spread to his lymph nodes but nowhere else.  For him they did the surgery first and then followed with 6 months of chemo.  He's been cancer free now for over 2 years (they don't use the word cure for cancer).  But seeing what the chemo did to him was shocking, so be prepared.

Also you might want to talk to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy for yourself.  All 3 of the neighbors kids were told to get one at 40 as opposed to 50. 


Online bocker3

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 07:15:12 PM »

So sorry to hear about you father.  There has been some great advice, I'd echo Ford's -- it really is right on.  All you can do for them right now is respect their wishes and let them know you are available if needed.  Families can be so tough to deal with.
For now, keep coming here and vent as you need -- it is so much better to let it out.

Atripla - Started 12/05
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Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
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Offline WillyWump

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 07:37:44 PM »
Hey Dennis,

So Sorry to hear about your father. Ford has greaat advice so I will leave it at that.

It sucks. My mom has Lung Cancer which has metasticized into her Adrenals and bones. She wasnt expected to make it out of the hospital but a year later she is still kicking. It's tough and its rough and we dont know how much longer she has but The stuff they can do these days is absolutely amazing, so there is a good chance he will be around for awhile, and thus an opportunity for him to reach out to you. All you can do is be there for him/them.

Keeping you in my thoughts,
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 07:39:25 PM by WillyWump »
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Offline hope_for_a_cure

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 07:52:25 PM »
This is awful to read about your dad Dennis.  Just offer your support from a distance since they have asked for some time to deal with this alone.  My read of this is that they dont want anybody there, not just you so please try not to personalize it too much regarding that particular request. 

You have my support and best wishes for you dad!

Offline Dennis

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 10:46:26 AM »
Thanks for all the kind words and support. I realize I need to respect their wishes. I have let them know I'm there for them when they need me. And they know that. I'm just feeling guilty because I have not been there for the past 20 something years.

Although I'll respect their wishes to be alone, it makes absolutely no sense to me. My mom says my dad is leaning on her more than he ever has. But I've asked my mom who is she leaning on. Just by speaking to her on the telephone, I have experienced a new sense of strength in my mom I never new she had.

Anyways, my dad is having the port put in today. He starts chemo on Tuesday.

On top of all this I'm supposed to go to Pennsylvania for Christmas with James to see his family. I asked him if he would mind postponing our visit until after the first of the year. This could be my father's last Christmas. And even if they still don't want company for the holidays, I still want to be in the area just in case anything happens. So last night I get from James, "well, my family isn't getting any younger either." I could have slapped him!

Sorry for rambling and being all over the place.  It does help just typing this out and reading everyone's responses.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 11:00:03 AM »
Dennis, my thoughts are with you and your family.


Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2011, 12:13:13 PM »
Dennis, this is a hard situation to get through. You might consider writing to your father. Keep it very simple -- that you're thinking of him and wishing him well and anything else that will convey positive thoughts. You can include saying you'd like to visit him.

As for your partner, use the same principle in talking simply and directly with him about how you're feeling. You want to avoid having to deal with all of this into targeting him with your frustration.

Keep us posted on how things are going.

Wishing you the best in getting through this tough time.
Andy Velez

Offline Joe K

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2011, 12:35:47 PM »
Dennis, I'm so sorry to hear about your father and my thoughts are with you and your family.  I agree with Andy, that writing something to your father would be very healing for you and hopefully him as well.  I empathize with your desire to be with your parents, but during times like these everyone needs to find their own way, so try not to take anything too personally.  As a parent, I could understand your father being reluctant to let you see him in a diminished state and in a way, it's a man thing, so let him sort it out and just let him know that you are there for him.

As to James, while he may have chosen softer words, his point is very valid.  Tragedy can strike at any time and sometimes it requires that we grind our life to a halt, whereas other times, it becomes a silent vigil.  You have done what you can for your parents and I can not imagine any better medicine for you, than to spend the holidays with family.  Share your fears with James and maybe a simple understanding, that if anything happens, you will return home, may make you both feel comfortable during the holidays.  From what I see, you have a lot of people who care about you, so maybe you could just lean on them for a bit, until you find your footing.

One key to living is to ring as much joy from life as you can.  Being worried about your parents is normal and healthy, but postponing the holidays with James and his family is an overreaction IMHO.  You can find a balance, because that is what families do.  You do not need to sacrifice anything for the holidays and enough people care deeply about you, so just open your arms a little wider and let them embrace you.


Offline Theyer

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2011, 07:18:03 PM »
Take care Dennis ,  hang on and see what develops , its hard, very hard .
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 08:39:22 PM »
Dennis -- just wanted to offer some support and hopes that you and your family will emerge healthy with stronger ties.  If your mother is taking support from your phone calls now, that can be of real benefit to her.

5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
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Offline Jody

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Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2011, 05:42:38 PM »
Sorry to hear about your dad's illness Dennis, you have reached out to your mom and dad and hopefully you can get together again very soon.  You are a good person and deserve the best.  Take care of yourself as well.

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Father w/stage IV colon cancer
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2012, 01:37:13 PM »
Denis, how are things.
This spring is coming up on 2 years I went through this parting with my dad and remember how wrenching it was. 
There were some moments of beauty but a fair amount of pain and suffering.  It was a relief when he was gone, and the memorial we had lovely and helped heal everyone a bit.  Over Christmas my mom took me to see his grave.  He didn't want a grave, he was very angry he said he wanted to be burned and thrown away in a garbage bag!  Well he was cremated. After we scattered the ashes in misc places that were meaningful to him, we gave my mom back the rest and told her to do what SHE needed, so she got a simple marker in a nice place over-looking the river.  I see it gives her comfort.

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx


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