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new to this

new to this

Posted by Fransuzy on Jan 31, 2019 8:57 pm

I just spent the day at the hospital while my day had a cancer lump removed..
it was a very hard day and I don't know what I am in for or how to handle this whole thing...

Re: new to this

Posted by Aly on Jan 31, 2019 9:09 pm

Hey Fransuzy‍ ,

Thank you for sharing, we're here to help.

I bet it has been a hard day, are you able to take some time for yourself now to relax?


Re: new to this

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Feb 1, 2019 11:03 am

Hi, Fransuzy‍ , I’m my Dad’s caregiver, too. Back at the beginning, I was just like you, wondering what’s next. If I can help with some information or tips about coping, just let me know.

Cancer Connection is a place where you can safely share your concerns, so tell us as little or as much as you want or need.

Re: new to this

Posted by WesT on Feb 1, 2019 11:45 am

Fransuzy‍ Thanks for visiting.

I understands your concerns and I am sure it is very hard on you.  Your father must be in a similar state of mind only being a man he may not be so open and willing to talk about his mindset.  Whatever support you can offer him, he will likely need and appreciate.  You will need to find your own resources to help you through this as well.  Coming here is a good start.  Although every cancer is different there are lots of us here that have been through it, either as a caregiver or as the patient.

There are specific forums for each type of cancer here and if you have specific questions related to that type of cancer (you were not specific and that's ok) please feel free to post in that specific forum and I am sure someone who has been through it or helped someone through it can offer advice.  If you need continued support yourself, do not be afraid to ask here.

Good luck with this journey

Re: new to this

Posted by Fransuzy on Feb 2, 2019 8:23 pm

thanks,,, I think I am going to need all the help I can get... I have two brothers who are of no help   neither are in town and neither have contacted me to see how Dad is or how am I.. saying that sounds very selfish on my part, this has nothing to do with me... this is about my Dad and his needs right now.. he did survive surgery and I have been working and going to the hospital after. today we had a snow storm and I could not leave my house to go to the hospital. I feel so guilty

Re: new to this

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Feb 3, 2019 9:30 am

I can relate completely, Fransuzy‍ . I learned through my Dad’s cancer journey that the ones we expect to be part of his “team” often go completely AWOL.  I don’t think that stepping up to share in the caregiving for a parent is too high an expectation to have, however, it’s apparent that not every person in every family feels the same way.

So, what can we do? Well, you’re off to a good start by coming here. You can read and participate in discussions about your dad’s specific cancer, and being a caregiver.

For resources to help you get through this, there is the Cancer Services Locator at http://csl.cancer.ca/ where you can find support services that can help your Dad and some for you in your caregiving role.

We always advocate self care, too, for caregivers. Try to maintain some social life and a bit of normal routine. Go to a movie, find a good book, have a nice bath at the end of the day, or do yoga if it helps to restore you.

It’s going to be difficult to do, but try to keep the resentment toward your brothers at bay. Mine really got to me after a confrontation with a sibling last spring, and by mid-fall, I had started to make myself sick over it.  My siblings are of the “you’re retired, you do it” attitude. When I tried to stand up for myself and engage them by helping, they did nothing, so I juggled my life, not for them but for OUR Dad. I no longer communicate with any of them voluntarily, and that one step has helped me preserve my emotional happiness.

My Dad and I have formed a bond in the last year that isn’t ever going to be broken. He is so appreciative of every appointment, every test, every treatment that we went to, side by side. My siblings will never know the full extent of what that is like.

Please try not to feel guilty because a snow storm prevented you from getting to your Dad’s side. That’s something that is outside your realm of control. As caregivers, we tend to get a little too “controlly” - it’s important to allow the ones outside of our “realm” to slide. You’ll get the hang of this.

As you already know, this is a safe place to vent, find useful information and people who can relate.

Re: new to this

Posted by Kims1961 on Feb 3, 2019 5:16 pm

Fransuzy‍ Thank you for posting.  Your post is also helping others and so many feel the same way.  It is so hard when a loved one is facing cancer .  Your Dad is lucky to have you.

I have breast cancer but also cared for my mom who had colon cancer.  First - as hard as this may be - it's important to look after you as well.  If you can't get to the hospital due to snowstorms - your dad will be in good hands in the hospital. You certainly don't want to end up in an accident and unfortunately this time of year - weather and road conditions are unpredictable.  

I won't repeat the excellent advice from the others but only support this as well.  Eating as well as you can and getting time away from the hospital is so important.  Exercise can help - even if its to walk around the hospital - just to get some fresh air or a break.  Sometimes i would watch a TV show or movie with my mom - even if she was sleeping - just to shift our thoughts to something else for a little bit.  

Posting here is excellent - hope today was a little better.  Kim

Re: new to this

Posted by Fransuzy on Feb 3, 2019 6:26 pm

thank you all for the support.. 
I know I am in for a rough ride...Dad wil need a lot of help once he is home, sometime this week,,, 
I will take time off of work and do what I can to help him...
he did not want any company today,he only wanted to see his ex wife...
so I did all my stuff to get ready for whatever is going to happen this week.
I don't understand all of this heath director stuff,, all I know is Dad's ex wife is still in charge.. 
I thank God that she was willing to take this on, but she is moving all the stuff back to whoever Dad chooses..
it gives me a head ache to think of what this week holds... this is like a really bad soap opera.  
all week it is suppose to be around -40    I just want to run away and hide... 
I really don't know if I am up for all of this..
I guess if I can still work and just stay with Dad in the evening and night... I could handle that.
I have a dog sitter lined up if this is the case,,, I have meals ready to microwave and go..
I am just trying to take this one day at a time.

Re: new to this

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Feb 4, 2019 9:20 am

Fransuzy‍ , one day at a time is a great approach, and from the sound of it you are doing all the right things by getting organized/ lining up your ducks.

If your Dad’s ex-wife is prepared to take the helm, and he and you are comfortable with that, then allow that to flow.

You’re actually doing very well - possibly better than you think - and we’re here to help.

Will your brothers be surprised to find stuff from your Dad’s sitting on their front steps? wink

Re: new to this

Posted by Kims1961 on Feb 4, 2019 2:40 pm

Fransuzy‍ ...I know it almost sounds too "cliche" to say - a day at a time...but it is so true.  Sometimes just a minute at a time...

You are getting some excellent advice here.  This community helped me when I felt lost /confused and overwhelmed.  It seemed a lot was dropped on our plate at once - too many "what ifs"...Often Cancer Centres have a social work department that can also be helpful in navigating the "system" - may be worth checking in to.

Knowing what you can handle, planning ahead when you can and letting others assist - are all key things you have in place already - well done!

Keep us posted.  Kim

Re: new to this

Posted by Fransuzy on Feb 17, 2019 7:56 pm

I don't know if I am up for this fight. it has been two weeks. Dad was discharged, I worked that day and then took him home, where he wanted nothing to do with anyone.
he told me, in a harsh voice to leave, I went back the next day with homemade casseroles, he said, why did you bring food, I am fine.  
he wanted to go shopping for food, he would not let me drive so 24 hours after being released from the hospital he drives to the store in a large city. he wanted to me to go with him, just in case he could not drive. so he drove, he could not turn his neck, so he told me to tell him if anyone was coming...stupid stupid stupid…
then we got back to his place he said, I am going to close my eyes, you can leave...I said I would go back the next day, he said why I am fine. so I left him alone.... worried the whole time.
stopped in a few days later and he said all is fine.
I took some time off to drive him to his dr app...for some reason he let me drive this time.   the nurse came across as not knowing what she was doing, and Dad was suppose to be on medication since the hospital that no one told him about so there may be a complication now... we will not know for a few weeks.
I don't know if I can do this..of course I will but...this is so hard,

Re: new to this

Posted by Kims1961 on Feb 17, 2019 8:13 pm

Fransuzy‍ ...Wow...what a difficult time you are having as your Dad is certainly not making it easy.  Was his ex-wife of any help? Do you know what the treatment plans are next?

Easy to say - to not be hard on yourself -not so easy to live this challenge.  It does sound like your Dad is saying that he is managing and as along as there are some safe guards - like he can reach you or someone in an emergency - you seem to have a good plan to check in when you feel it is necessary.  He may not communicate very well that he is appreciating this support but he may still be at the denial and angry phase with his health. All you can do , is what you can do - without taking it too personally.  Your well being is important too...sometimes in these situations - less is more.  I found with my mother in law - visits - but much shorter ones were much better.  At soon as she became angry or "mean" - I would take a break - as long as she was "fine" otherwise.

Thank you for the update.  Venting/sharing here is hopefully helpful.  Kim

Re: new to this

Posted by Fransuzy on Feb 18, 2019 4:34 pm

yes my Dad's ex wife was amazing but it was her time to step aside, long complicated story. she is now an outsider, but she wants daily updates and such.
we know nothing of treatment plans, the dr who did the surgery is on holidays til the later part of March.. so Dad says we wait til he comes back.
I will try and get through the next weeks, working and cking in on Dad and running errands for him etc...
thanks for listening.

Re: new to this

Posted by WesT on Feb 18, 2019 6:40 pm

Wow Fransuzy‍ I can understand your stress and frustration!

Who is looking after him, it sounds like he is on his own now?

If he is being looked after maybe, like Kims1961‍ said, short but maybe frequent visits would be just the thing.  He might appreciate that more and may then want the visits longer as he is comfortable.  Sometimes men just need to feel in control, even if they really know they are not (I am a man so.....).



Re: new to this

Posted by Fransuzy on Feb 22, 2019 6:23 pm

you are right WesT short visits are better... he wants things normal which means...leave me alone...so I call and see if he needs anything and I read between the lines and
do what he wants in that minute.  I am so very tired but I hope with two days off from work, I can recharge, but one of those days Dad needs to run to the store. so I will have one day to recharge lol...  

Re: new to this

Posted by Fransuzy on May 3, 2019 9:17 pm

hi I went into hiding. did not talk to anyone, just went through the motions of life. Dad has had radiation every day for 20 days. he said he is fine, don't call me, I can't talk on the phone,  he wants nothing to do with me..
part of me gets he needs to deal with this alone, I need to respect that. 
but now I am fighting a new battle, a dear friend who is an ex partner, has told me he only has 7 months left to live. level 4 stomach cancer.  so now I am trying to help him through this, but he just wants someone to be mad at. he has chosen me..
he calls and yells at me about what I do wrong and what I did do wrong when we were together... 
I understand he needs to vent, but between the two of them,  I want to take off in my car and never come back,
I am finding it very hard to deal with the male ego right now.
thanks for letting me vent 

Re: new to this

Posted by Kims1961 on May 3, 2019 9:33 pm

Fransuzy‍ Welcome back...so glad you posted to vent - that's what we are here for.

That being said - cancer does not give us a pass to be rude/mean or abusive to others.  It is certainly understandable with your dear friend, the shock and difficult news he has had.  Does he have support with family/friends? Sometimes a gentle redirection - change the topic - can help  -like " what would be helpful for you now?".  Sometimes medications can cause mood changes so it would be interesting to know if he is like this to others or has he selected you? Most cancer centres have social workers on staff as well - which may be somewhere that he can be redirected.

Happy to hear from you...do you have some strategies for your own self care - you do have a lot on your plate!



Re: new to this

Posted by Cynthia Mac on May 4, 2019 7:52 am

Fransuzy‍ , I’m glad you chimed in, too. Kims1961‍ Is right when she says that just because someone has cancer doesn’t mean they have a right to lash out at others. Sure, their emotions are bound to need venting from time to time, but if he’s bringing up your history of when you were together, that’s not the cancer talking - he’s allowing his disease to be an acceptable reason (to him) to re-hash old hurts with you.

Kim’s suggestion for changing the topic is golden - other ideas would be “when did you last take your meds,” or have you been for a walk today” - just something that makes him stop and think about something other than a “crap movie you made him sit through 7 years ago” or whatever.  

You also provided a good response when you said “I understand he needs to vent.” You could use those very words as another option: “I understand you need to vent, however, I’m here to help you, and being yelled at makes me disinclined to do that.” Or, “I understand you need to vent, however when you talk about stuff from our relationship, it takes me to a place I’d rather not go.” Even, “I understand you need to vent, but I deserve respect, even though you’re angry.”

There is also avoidance - if he starts to yell at you, suddenly remember an “appointment,” or discover you left the water on in the bathroom. (This one falls in the category of self-care, as far as I’m concerned.)

Good luck with future conversations with him.

Regarding your Dad - I think you’re doing a great job of respecting his wishes. Again, though, it would be good if you could find a way to have some of your communication needs met, too. I know exactly what you mean about the male ego... I’m grateful that my Dad has chosen to be open with me about his health matters. Kind of surprised, too!