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Sadness
ws33
27 Posts
My father's chemo stopped about 4 weeks ago. I am so sad. His file is now passed to the Palliative Care. I see my father's health deteriorate rapidly. It is difficult to see. I feel bad I cannot help him much. I feel like I need to do something, but there are not much I can do. I feel like I should not relax, I should not have one calm night. I should be worrying his health.
39 Replies
Brighty
7042 Posts
ws33‍ I'm so sorry.    I feel for you.   The only thing you can do is be there.    Let him know you love him.... talk about memories  and fun times you had together. ..listen to music together.    Watch TV with him.     Is he in hospital  or at home? If you are the primary caregiver...  please make sure you look after yourself too.   Ask for help whenever you need it from close friends and family.       Take breaks and do things for yourself .   you may want to consider  talking with someone  about your feelings....oncology  social  workers  are awsome.          How is your dad dealing with this? Do you know what his final wishes are?    Please be in touch with us. Big hugs.
MCoaster
632 Posts
ws33‍.  Thank you for reaching out to us.

  I am so that sorry that you are In such a sad place.  Your love for your father shines through in your post and the feeling of helplessness is very understandable.   Perhaps this is a time in your relationship when the most important thing is that your father knows that he is loved and cherished.  Are you physically able, in this time of COVID, to be with him or if not then what technology could you use?  Each relationship is different and follow your heart about how you can make this very sad time a very special time for you both.  There is no right or wrong way.  Sometimes just “being”, sometimes sharing memories, listening to music, talking to the staff about his likes and dislikes,   Ask yourself what positive things you can do and share and might it even help to cry together.   You are an important person in his life because you are his daughter.   At such an important time please be kind to yourself, put your heart into making this very sad time, no matter how long or short it is, into being there.  I know from personal experience how draining feeling helpless and guilty are.  Do what is really important for you and your dad.

Are there other family members or friends who you can reach out to make sure your father is well looked after? Looking after your own physical and emotional health is important.  I see that you are becoming familiar with the site and hope you find it a good support.  We are always here for you.

Take care of yourself.

Warm wishes.

MCoaster

 
ws33‍ I understand what you are going through. That feeling of helplessness is so strong and emotionally draining. It's even harder when it is a family member. Your father has always been there for you so the thought that your dad won't always be there is something you knew but the reality is setting in. 

Just as your dad would do anything to protect you, you want to do the same for your father. It sounds like you have that kind of relationship. That's how I felt about my mine. 

Until a little while ago I believed that everyone had the same relationship with their father only to discover just how truly lucky I was to have the type of relationship I had with my mine.

My father died in January of this year. While he didn't die of cancer, the process of feeling helpless was the same. I was fortunate to have the time I had with him. Even when he couldn't talk to me anymore, he still responded when I rubbed my hand on his head and told him I was running my fingers through his hair. The joke was that he didn't have any.

As others have said, you have to take care of yourrself or you can't be at your best for your father. Think of it this way. Since your father is close to you, he will be worried about you. He will want you to be okay. He won't want  how he is feeling to hurt you.

Cynthia Mac‍ has gone through what you are going through. Unfortunately it has been far too recent. 

I'm glad you have reached out. You don't have to be alone to go through this alone. We are with you.

Please keep us posted as you feel comfortable doing.

cancertakesflight 
Kims1961
2094 Posts
ws33‍ Im so glad you posted and have some great responses already. 

When my mom was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer, I felt i was not ready...not ready to help her, to watch her die, to know what to do ,.I didn’t recognize my own anxiety which added to this feeling of sadness. 

I had to learn to stop having expectations of myself but realize it’s ok to not be ok, it’s ok to relax, l,take some time to reset each day. I tried to remember my mom would want me to take care of me too, during this time. It wasn’t the amount of time but rather the quality of time we had together. 

I wished i had been more present with my mom and talked to her about her wishes were. We were focused on trying to keep her with us as long as possible but rather, i wishes i had asked her what she wanted. I slowly came to realize i couldn’t prevent her death but i could help her to have a good death or one that she wanted. To be present with loved ones i at this time is the greatest gift. 

The palliative care team was so important. They could help with pain mgmt and some discussions on what we can expect. We would write down some questions for them so we didn’t forget. 

I am so glad you reached out. Please try not to be too hard on yourself, some calming breaths, rest when you can and know we are here. 

Take care. Kim
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Cynthia Mac
3229 Posts
ws33‍ , Like you, I watched my father pass away slowly. This is not easy to do. 

Even if he’s sleeping, he can hear you. Now is the time to say everything you wish to say to each other. I have 3 siblings, and we took turns visiting, even when the hospital said more of us could come in at a time, so that we were able to make sure that a) someone was with Dad as much as possible and b) so the ones who weren’t with him were able to get some rest.

We were able to come in to see Dad only after he’d lost consciousness for the last time. I talked to him, and, when I ran out of words, I sang to him. Once, when I started to sing a song from one of his favourite bands, I swear I saw the corner of his mouth curve into a smile. He hadn’t heard me sing since I was in high school.

Another day, I brought in my iPod and looked up some Johnny Cash and Elvis and other music he liked, and just knitted at his bedside and played that playlist for him.

Thanks, cancertakesflight‍ for the tag. 
Kuching
283 Posts
ws33‍ , I know that helpless feeling so well.  My husband died of pancreatic cancer in February, and I still feel guilty about not being able to save him.  We spent 45 years looking out for each other, it’s so hard not to be able to do anything.  But your father is in good hands, with people who will know how to keep him pain free and comfortable.  All you can do is what other people have already suggested - make the most of the time you have left together.  And know that you are not alone in this sad situation.
Cynthia Mac
3229 Posts
Kuching‍ , I liked your post even though I wish you would absolve yourself of your guilt. 

These situations are completely outside of our control. When there is guilt it is usually because one feels they have done something wrong. I’m rather certain that you did everything humanly possible for your husband, so this outsider sees that you did everything right, and therefore you shouldn’t feel guilt. 💛
Kuching
283 Posts
Thank you for your kind words, Cynthia Mac‍ .  I know, on a rational level, that I’m not guilty, but my subconscious - or whatever - still insists that I am.  I think it’s because we always both assumed that we would have each other’s backs whenever needed.  And when you live and work on boats for most of your married life, there are definitely times it’s needed!  I find myself apologizing to Bob, even though he’s not there to hear it, and even though i know I have nothing to apologize for.  It is what it is!
ws33
27 Posts
thank you, everyone. I have to learn to cope with it. BUT it is so difficult to see cancer eat up someone's body, and cannot do anything. I just cannot take it. 
 
Brighty
7042 Posts
I totally get you ws33‍  . My fiance was only 42 and he was strong and fit.  He the cancer ate away at him and he was 97 pounds and a shell of his former self.   It destroyed  me to watch.    It's ok to cry...its a good release.     Some days... a lot of days  actually I pretended things were 'normal' and I would try to talk to him about the normal things we used to talk about .    Any good moments you can have with your dad... treasure them.    I had a lot of help to get tbrough it.   I had a social worker who I saw daily thst gave me coping strategies.    The main one being breaks for self care.   I thought it was selfish at first but realized  it was vital for sanity and survival.     I also popped in to see the oncology  social worker almost on a daily basis and she was great about talking to me.    She let me cry and get it all out.     Do you have a councellor  or good friend to lean on?  Treat yourself to one thing a day.   A 'pick me up'.    Get yourself  that latte from Starbucks.    Get  a special  take out meal for yourself.   Do whatever it takes to give  yourself that lift that you need while being there for your dad.   You can do this.   We are behind you every step of tbe way.     
Cynthia Mac
3229 Posts
Brighty‍ ‘S comment, “it’s OK to cry” has reminded me of a quote I read recently in a book called The Universe Always Has a Plan. It goes something like

”when we are sad and we cry, we are making room for the light to come back in.” 
rivers
72 Posts
thank you everyone for posting...it is heartbreaking to read how many people go through these emotions that I am feeling too, navigating through the grief...guilt, helplessness, the pain of watching one you love slipping away, wishing I had done things differently, wishing I had spent more time just being with him rather than busily trying to prepare for a long road of treatment which we never got to...it doesn't take the pain away, but it reminds me that I am only human and I did what I could...at the very least I loved, so strongly, and I am doing my best to hold on to those few moments when we were able to connect through the pain, even if so brief.

Kuching‍ I also keep telling him I'm sorry, even though I know he would say there is nothing to be sorry for
ws33‍ I'm so sorry you are also going through this...watching him being taken away by this disease...I feel your pain with you.

How do we reconcile the image of our loved one being decimated by cancer, with our memories of their strength and energy when they were healthy? I'm struggling with this right now, feeling like it was a different person, and hard to know which one was real.

 
Brighty
7042 Posts
Hi rivers‍ ..........every single thing you described in your post was me, two years ago.     The guilt overwhelmed me, the helplessness nearly killed me, the wishing I had done things differently.      I had to work through each of  those.......what did I feel guilty for exactly?    for me, it was not getting him to a doctor sooner, ( I couldn't, he was stubborn)  For not getting him to quit smoking or drinking ( I couldn't, he was an addict)   For not coming home an hour sooner from work that day when I found him unconcious in my bed.    (if it wasn't that day, it would have been another day.,,,,it was a matter of WHEN not if.      All those things were not in my control.   As much as I wanted them to be, and I know I did everything I could.     I was there for him, like i know you were.      There's nothing more you could have done.     Cancer is a dreadful disease and has a mind of it's own.    The helplessness.  I felt I wanted him to live so bad, and I felt so helpless, like there was nothing I could do, and the things I could do were useless.   But every little thing you do, just being beside the person and holding their hand is enough and it counts.     
I get too what you mean about 2 different people.    Dan and I only had 4 years together and almost half of them were of him being sick.   So sometimes i also feel I was with 2 people,  .........the Dan before the illness and Dan after diagnoses.     Before diagnoses he was funny, affectionate, full of life, smart, sarcastic, always had a story to tell, we talked for hours on end and shared things.   We were the couple that always walked together holding hands.      After diagnoses, he shut down, would not communicate, would not talk to me, would never smile or laugh, no affection, no anything.   No sharing.      We argued about his addictions and he wasn't the same guy any more.    He fell into a deep depression and I could never get him out of it no matter what or how I tried.       Every so often there would be a very brief moment where we would connect or hold hands, but it was few and far between after his diagnoses.   I relished in those very brief moments and treasured them so much because there were so few of them once cancer took over.     I would have given my right arm to have the old Dan back but that was never to be again.     It took time, but I'm choosing to remember him as the "old Dan" the Dan I met and fell in love with.      That Dan has been gone from me for so long.     He passed over 2 years ago, but the "before cancer" Dan was actually taken from me much longer ago than that.       I want to remember him the way I met him, not the way he was when he was ravaged by that dreadful disease.        That might just take time for you.      I would give anything to have "before cancer" Dan back but not the "suffering Dan".      I wouldn't want him here suffering the way he was.    It was horrible.       A few weeks before he passed he thanked me for everything I'd done for him and that I made him happy in the last years of his life.     He said he deeply regretted smoking and drinking and destroying his body.      You can't wipe out the end of his life and the cancer memories, but eventually they will get replaced by the happy ones.   My memories of him are now all happy.    I remember the places we used to go and the things we did and said with a smile.      I miss it terribly, but I have to accept that it's not to be and find some kind of way to be happy at least with those memories.    No one can take those memories from you.   You will always have that and the deep love you shared.      That is very special to love so deeply.           
rivers
72 Posts
thank you so much for this Brighty‍ it means so much that though you are so much farther along this journey than me and others, you still come back to offer guidance and hope

Tonight my brain is cycling round and round again trying to process the impossible, that he actually died, even though when I remember the moment, it is very vivid and real. When I've said the words out loud lately they just seem like a weird story I'm telling. It is something different every day. There are happy memories sometimes in there too, and I understand it will just take a lot of time for them to balance out all the craziness.
Cynthia Mac
3229 Posts
rivers‍ Wrote:

How do we reconcile the image of our loved one being decimated by cancer, with our memories of their strength and energy when they were healthy? I'm struggling with this right now, feeling like it was a different person, and hard to know which one was real.


I lost my Dad this year, not directly due to his lung cancer, possibly due to long term effects of chemo, and definitely because of his directions for care. 

I’m not sure we’re supposed to “reconcile” those two images. I think that, over time, our memories will gravitate to the memories of the many years we had with the person who was healthy for all those years, and less toward the memories of the challenging last few months and years of their life. The latter memories are so fresh, and so stressful that that’s where we put our focus for the first few months. It’s part of what helps us heal our heart.
Laika57
730 Posts

How do we reconcile the image of our loved one being decimated by cancer, with our memories of their strength and energy when they were healthy? I'm struggling with this right now, feeling like it was a different person, and hard to know which one was real.

I saw Cynthia Mac‍ quote this and it was exactly what i thought about this morning. I will write more about it on my own thread.
for me, Ian wasn't the same person anymore. Physically and mentally. I don't know when it "flipped". It was a grueling year. I won't even try to fit the two people into one memory. But maybe that's just me....
Laika57‍ 

I can relate. I experienced the feeling of not recognizing my father anymore as the cancer progressed both physically and personality wise. 

I think it is okay to separate the memories. With time (almost five years) I find the difficult memories have faded and the good memories are coming to the surface again. 

Hugs to you,
Lacey
rivers
72 Posts
thank you, Cynthia MacLaika57‍ and Lacey_Moderator‍ 
riding the wave...from exploding heart and brain, to confusion, to memories of love, to numbness...
rivers‍ 

You describe it so so well. 

Something that helped me process my grief was https://www.mygrief.ca/. I hope you check it out.

Take Care- we will continue to ride this wave with you.
Lacey
rivers
72 Posts
thank you Lacey_Moderator‍ 
rivers
72 Posts
ws33‍ thinking of you and your father. wishing you strength.
MCoaster
632 Posts
rivers‍   I was reading your very caring posts to others and think that yours is a perfect example of what this community is about.   Thank you.  We all grow and heal by sharing our experiences both sad 😢 and happy 😊 and asking for and also giving support.

I don’t know why you chose your name here but I do know that sometimes I feel calm and drifting along supported by “the water” and at other times I feel I am being swept away into whirlpools.  The river does keep flowing onwards.  This site is my life preserver.

How are you at the moment?  It has been such a short time since you lost your someone so special.

Here for you.

Warm and healing thoughts.

MCoaster
ws33
27 Posts
Thank you, rivers, for thinking about me and my dad. Thank you everyone for being here - listening and sharing.  
Dad is trying acupuncture now for his swollen feet. I think it is helping him. I see the swollen goes down slowly. 
I am just glad that something ( something very very little) can be done to help him out. 
I think it is all mental. Just mentally thinking that something can be done. Maybe it is called mentally healing. I myself certainly feel better.
I was panicking last Friday. I felt totally lost, not knowing what the next step should be.
Today I am more calm. 

I am scared to see his appearance, how his body deteriorating, how slow he now walks, etc.

I guess I have to take one step at a time.

ws33‍ 
MCoaster
632 Posts
ws33‍   I am so glad that your dad is finding some relief from acupuncture.  Every small positive thing helps.   Are you able to visit?  When he is awake, and if he likes to, does he somethings to interest him.  Music, talking books, t.v, a view outside?

Warm thoughts.

MCoaster
rivers
72 Posts
ws33‍ I'm glad to hear you're having a moment of calm. I wish you more of those. I can understand the roller coaster of emotions.

MCoaster‍ thank you for your message. I am seeing that it can be helpful to offer support to others when and if I can, to bring some focus outside my own thoughts, that will be there anyway for a long time. Just trying to connect with others who understand what this is like helps. It is so sad that so many people experience this in life, but I'm so thankful this forum exists. Re: rivers, you describe it well. Right now I feel swept along by time, though I am wanting to go back, and grasping for anything to keep me afloat and connected to him, and the feeling of drowning in tears. But also maybe carried along by people, friends, family and people on sites like this, who are keeping my head above water. It shifts hourly...
ws33
27 Posts
With sadness, my dad passed last Saturday morning in his sleep. He never gave up, couple days ago before his passing, he told me he requested a physiotherapy, so he could do some appropriate exercises to strengthen his body. He was very wake due to disease which caused him only able to eat very very very  little. He had been struggling with eating and drinking for months and only got harder and harder to eat food/liquid. It was so difficult to see him losing weight rapidly. This is a horrible disease. Dad was a very brave man, he never gave up. He worked so hard in his life to give his family a comfortable life. He immigrated to Canada in his 50s. He had to learn driving and did it. He had to learn computing in his 60s in order to keep his job, and did it. He is now rest in peace with the almighty God. 

Thank you for everyone's support. I don't know how we could go through it without this group. I wish one day no one would have to go through this.
ws33‍ 
Brighty
7042 Posts
ws33‍ please accept my deepest  condolences  on the loss of your beloved dad.     He sounds like a wonderful  man.    May your beautiful  memories  of him bring you comfort.   Feel free to pop in here any time to let us know how you are doing.    
Trillium
1369 Posts
I’m so sorry for your loss, ws33‍ . Have you found the group focused on grief here yet! I hope you can find many moments of peace during your days going forward. I also found this grief site helpful. https://whatsyourgrief.com/


Warmest of hugs for you
Trillium
Trillium
1369 Posts
ws33‍ - How are you doing today?   If you have not seen this article you may find it helpful. I lost both of my parents over the past 4 yrs and it is at this time of year that I feel the loss the most. My mom died on New Years Day. I feel like an orphan but this year has been easier than the last 3 Christmases.  

This article is titled What the Newly Bereaved should know.
https://whatsyourgrief.com/what-the-newly-bereaved-should-know/
 
Cynthia Mac
3229 Posts
ws33‍ , I am sorry for your loss. I lost my Dad this year, too, so I understand the gaping hold that has just opened up in your heart.

Time and your memories of him will help to heal your heart, even more than the knowledge that his suffering is over.

Be kind to yourself, and reach out here whenever you need.

 
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