Together we will beat cancer



2 Feb 2023 09:04

Okay so I thought I'd write a post on here as we all can relate and I need to talk.

So as of May last year my Dad was diagnosed with plural mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos when he was younger. He decided not to have any kind of treatment as he has seen the negative effects of chemo/radio therapy on two people he knew and believes that it makes things worse. At first I was angry because it's like he was giving up without fighting but I've come to respect his decision.

So obviously it's terminal and he has probably got months to live. What makes things worse is that he lives abroad so I can't see him whenever I want to. I Visited him at the end of last year and was shocked to see how he's deteriorated physically, also due to the pain he's in he was very angry and this made spending quality time with him difficult as he would snap and shout at me or his girlfriend  at the slightest thing (I can understand this of course). At the end of my time being out there I just wanted to go because being around him was so difficult. I had to keep telling myself that it was because of the pain and it wasn't him being 'himself'. After the visit I felt awful for these selfish thoughts and very guilty. I speak to him regularly on WhatsApp and his pain meds have been adjusted, now he's on morphine to manage it which in a way good because it's managing it better but hearing him out of it is scary because he's always been in control and never drunk etc, also I know that morphine is stronger which indicates that his pain is worse.

We've always had a good relationship (ups and downs like any I suppose) but we've not yet had what I'd say is a proper deep conversation about how he's 'feeling'. When I say that I mean his thoughts and feelings. He's never been the type to talk about his emotions and I think he definitely isn't going to change now. I think he's doing it to not make me worry or stress but I'm scared that he's going to deteriorate and I'll loose him without having connected and made peace with everything.

I lost my Mum in 2010 from lung cancer and she was the same, very strong even up to the end but I don't know how to approach my Dad and have this/these conversations, maybe he doesn't want to talk about it because acknowledging it in this way is too scary for him?

I've also been considering my own mortality as of late, exactly as I did when my Mum passed. I give the impression that I'm coping but things are slowly starting to break down, It's getting harder to motivate myself generally in terms of my job, getting up in the morning etc, my relationship with my live-in girlfriend isn't the best anyway and even now she doesn't bring it up to ask me how I'm doing etc. I don't have any other family aside from my sister who I don't get on with. I don't have any real support network or anyone I can just talk to about this.

I know everyone has a story, a situation and cancer has touched everyone's lives, I guess I just need to vent...


4 Feb 2023 10:31 in response to Marky78

Hello Marky78

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad's diagnosis and the difficulties that you face in being able to spend quality time with him. Undoubtedly it will have been hard for you both being separated by a physical distance but it's good to hear that you're able to still keep in regular contact with him by phone. 

When a loved one is entering the final stages of their life they often experience changes in their mood and behaviour. It can be distressing for those around the patient to witness or be the receiving end of those changes. As you've already said in your post, try and remember that those outbursts weren't a personal attack on you or your Dad's partner but part of his illness. 

You also mention in your post that you want to talk to your Dad about how he's feeling but that he's never been someone to open up about his thoughts and emotions and that you think he's unlikely to change. It's entirely possible that your Dad doesn't want to have these conversations with you or with anyone else at all for that matter. All you can do is gently approach the subject and ask your Dad if he would talk to you. It's his decision then if he wants or feels ready/able to have that conversation. 

It sounds from your post Mark as if you're struggling with lots of things at the moment and you mention that you find it difficult to motivate yourself and you feel as if things are breaking down. living with the constant worry about your Dad, being reminded about the loss of your Mum, and all the other pressures of daily life are bound to take their toll on you. Please make an appointment to talk to your GP about how you're feeling. Hopefully they will be able to give you some help and let you know about support services such as Maggie's that may be available in your area. 

You're welcome to post here on the forum if it helps to have a safe space to offload how you're feeling. Sometimes getting things down in words can help relieve the load in your mind so do keep in touch if you find it helpful Mark. 

Best wishes, 
Cancer Chat moderator 


4 Feb 2023 14:16 in response to Marky78

Hi Mark I realise how difficult it must be to talk about emotional things especilly with a very close relative ,I think what I would do if it were me is to try and write it in a kind of letter and just basically tell your Dad how much you love him and see where that leads you both ,I sometimes think telling someone you love them is the hardest thing to say ,I always remember my hubby telling his Dad whilst his Dad was not far from dying in the hospital but he was so glad he did afterwards but he'd never really told his dad before growing up ,Thinking of you Mark Best Wishes .