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Struggling to cope

13 Feb 2018 08:57

Hello, 

My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer before Christmas and we have been advised the time frame is looking to be less than a year. I am 28, recently engaged and at the moment I have been struggling to cope. At the beginning when dad was ill and being diagnosed, I think the adrenaline kicked in and put all emotions and thoughts on hold. Now he is back home and things have settled down, it has given me time to think and I suddenly feel overwhelmed most of the time. 

I try not to think about the what the future will hold, I am just focusing on being there for my dad, mother and siblings, but I just feel a mixture of emotions on a daily basis and my mind cannot help but wander to what will inevitably happen. 

I have a fantastic partner, friends and a supportive job who have been brilliant in giving me the time that I need with my family. 

It is strange how, yet being surrounded by people, you just feel so alone during this time. 

Can anyone share any thoughts or experiences on how to cope and what I could do to make this situation just a little bit better for my dad and family? 

Thank you x

Re: Struggling to cope

13 Feb 2018 10:47 in response to Lucy2018

Hello Lucy2018,

A relationship between a father and his daughter is an extremely special and we are never prepared to think about life on this earth without our parents.  You are grieving the idea of how you thought your life would be at this point and your fear of what life with be in the future. 

You may find comfort in a grief support group.  Many times we think these groups are for after someone passes, but the grieving process can begin long before someone actually passes.

My dad died of a suddent heart attack and two weeks later my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.  I began grieving the loss of both my parents at that time.  We were lucky enough to spend five years with my mom after her diagnosis, but I weaved in and out of the adrenaline-do what you gotta do to feeling alone, fearful and depressed.

My first piece of advice is that your feelings are perfectly normal.  You need to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you are feeling.  "Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim."  Vicki Harrison

You can do this....you are strong!! The love that your dad has shown you over the years with eventually carry you through these difficult times.  It is hard to put grief on hold, but try not to let it interfere with the time you have with dad.  Turn to your faith!  God will carry you through it.

With Love and Hugs!

Lori

Re: Struggling to cope

13 Feb 2018 11:17 in response to Lucy2018

Hi there Lucy 2018.  Sorry about your dad's illness.  I know the feeling you described of being alone although surrounded by people.  When my mum was first diagnosed I felt myself and the other two family members were each walking round in our own little circles and we never met up with each other.  Fortunately we managed to break out of this and our circles all met in places.   So I would say make an effort to share your innermost thoughts with your family and I hope they will open up to you as well.  I have helped care for quite a few cancer patients and the thing I soon realised was that they wanted to be treated in the same way as they were prior to becoming ill.  Don't make them feel apart from normality.  Talk about the things that have always interested them, laugh at the things you have always laughed at together and do what you can to remind them they are still the same person you have always known and loved.  Try not to stress them out by showing how distressed you are.  Of course there will be times when the discussion is more serious but do your best to go with what your dad wants.  Not always easy.  There is no easy way as nothing that has happened in your life previously prepares you for knowing you are going to lose a parent.  You can always come here and let off steam!

Re: Struggling to cope

14 Feb 2018 07:45 in response to lhovey

Hi

Sorry to hjack this post. 

Unfortunately I can’t offer any advice as I am in the same situation and looking for the same advice! So just know you are not alone.

 

Lhovey my mum has been recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer (I think it’s also in her stomach but not sure as the doctors are being very vague saying might and not sure). We haven’t been given a time frame or anything but she is in pain constantly and feels sick all the time so can’t get out of bed

 

Re: Struggling to cope

14 Feb 2018 07:52 in response to lauradxxx

Hello laura.  So sorry to hear how your mum is suffering.  Is there nothing can be done to minimise her pain?  To be in such pain means that everything is awful - it just seems all wrong in this day and age that some cancer patients suffer so much in this way.  Have you (very clearly!) spoken to her doctor about this.  Is there nothing that can be done?  I don't mean to suggest that you are not doing this - just that procedures seem to vary between doctors and this is such an important thing for you all.

Re: Struggling to cope

14 Feb 2018 23:02 in response to Annieliz
Hi Annie She is on a lot of different things for the pain and sickness. I forget what they are called (such complicated names). Some are tablets and some are liquid. She isn’t in as much pain as before her diagnosis as she was doubled over screaming, but still enough for her to have to be in bed all day everyday. However, I think the sickness is a large factor in this too (which she is on medication for). Sitting up or standing can make her woozy and make her sick. So she isn’t eating very well either.

Re: Struggling to cope

15 Feb 2018 09:12 in response to lhovey
Thank you for the kind words lhovey, the quote is beautiful and I feel I can really relate to that. I'm so sorry to hear what you have been through, I guess we are stronger than we are realise xx

Re: Struggling to cope

15 Feb 2018 09:15 in response to Annieliz

Annieliz thank you for the words of support. I am sorry to hear what you have been through also. It is a terrible illness which is so destructive but this forum is a blessed way to connect with those who can share you experiences. 

Many thanks again xx