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Dad diagnosed with terminal cancer - do I move home?

27 Jan 2023 15:51

Hi there,

I'm 28 and just a few days ago we were told that my dad's chemo is no longer working. He's been offered a clinical trial but that is really just to slow the progress of the cancer. I don't think he's going to make it to the end of the year.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer 3 years ago, has been through several bouts of treatment but it's only now that I am really processing what's happening to our family. I'm an only child and very close to both my mum and my dad (who are still together).

One of my main anxieties at the moment is whether I should move home. I live in London with a great (and supportive) network of friends and also my boyfriend is there, but my parents live in the countryside in Scotland. I have no idea what to do. On one hand, London has my main support group and my day-to-day life that I get so much out of, but obviously every day that I am there is a day I could be at home seeing my dad and supporting my mum. I don't have many friends at my parents, so moving back to theirs would just make my life very different and a bit miserable in other aspects.

I'm in a fortunate position where I can hopefully work remotely, so that's not a big issue.

I guess I just want to know if anyone has any advice or has been in a similar situation? At the moment it feels like I have to make the choice of saying goodbye to my current life at the moment to be with my dad, which is making me more sad thinking how much I'll miss seeing my friends and boyfriend regularly. But equally I don't think I can be away from my dad for weeks at a time missing out on my last months with him.

There probably isn't a right answer to this but wondered if anyone had any thoughts or advice?

Helen x

Dad diagnosed with terminal cancer - do I move home?

27 Jan 2023 16:38 in response to MH1994

First off, i think you need to speak to your parents first and foremost. I know this sounds bad, and i promise i mean this in the nicest way possible, but they may not even want you to move back full time in the manner you're thinking you have to.

They might just want you up when it's obvious things are nearing the end so to speak. Your dad might even react good to the trial and still have many months or even years. It's a difficult one, but you really need to talk to them, and decide between you a plan of action.

Dad diagnosed with terminal cancer - do I move home?

17 Feb 2023 00:45 in response to MH1994

Hi Helen, 

My mum was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2021 and like you, we lived miles apart - London, Newcastle . Over the 18months we had, I spent a total of 6 weeks in my own home (made possible by remote working and not being at the will of a landlord). 

On reflection, I don't think there is a perfect setup. I found myself battling between wanting to take control of the situation and presenteeism, alongside having these almost intrusive thoughts, worrying ( with a pinch of resentment) that I was missing out, my biological clock ticking and that I was isolated from my peers. But my greatest fear was not being there and having to negotiate my way home when something happened (6 admissions with sepsis!!) 

But would I make a different choice... No. After 10 years down south seeing her maybe 4 times a year  and the knowing how absolutely devastating the survival stats are, I wanted every second. 

Talk to your parents. Follow your heart. 

Rachael x


Dad diagnosed with terminal cancer - do I move home?

20 Feb 2023 21:23 in response to MH1994

I totally understand your situation. My dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year while I was living abroad. They also live in Scotland. I decided to drop everything and fly back to see them - I had intended to stay 3-4 weeks but I ended up staying and have been here ever since. 

For me, I hadn't spent much time with my dad for 3-4 years due to the COVID situation and it was important to me now to support my parents through this and enjoy quality time with them. It's been really hard in a number of ways but overall I am glad I am here as they need me and I've loved spending more time with my dad and making new memories that i'll always treasure. 

It's not easy being away from my partner and friends but I've found ways to keep in touch and I've also reconnected with old friends here.

I hope you find what works for you and your family. Take care x