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Need to Know What to Expect, Please Help.

4 Posts | Page(s): 1 

Need to Know What to Expect, Please Help.

by Chris09 on Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:00 AM

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My Dad has cancer of the prostate, colon, bone and lymp nodes. The doctor told me 2 weeks ago that he would only have approx. 3 months to live. He is a depressed person anyway and they were very evasive with him. So, he doesn't know how far it has spread and how long they did give him. I did not tell my 12 year old son either. What can I expect to see in the next few weeks or months. How can I help him? I need to stay strong, but I'm having a hard time with fatigue, I'm sure its due to some depression I'm having. When do I tell my son? We have no one else to help us out, family has moved and friends have their own problems. How will I take care of him? Anyone with some advice? Thank You for listening and God Bless!

What to Expect

by Jmw0913 on Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:00 AM

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I am sorry to hear about your Father's diagnosis. I understand what a huge weight you have on your shoulders - being your Father's only care-giver and the only one to know the extent of his illness. My Father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in July 1995. He was diagnosed as being terminal on Halloween 2004 and given 1-2 months to live -he was back in the hospital 14 days later and given 1 week to live with PSA levels exceeding 3750. He lived for another 7 months until June 3, 2005. Since the Doctor's have given your Father 3 months to live - this means he is eligible for hospice. I would suggest that strongly. My Father was offered hospice back in November - but DID NOT want them at all - and I did not make him do it - until 6 days before he passed. I knew the time was getting close when I brought hospice in - I just did not realize how close. They will be of much assistance to you. For 7 months I got my Father all his meals, bathed him, dressed him, lifted him, mediciated him, stood him up, walked behind him holding him w/ his walker, wiped him, held the urinal - etc. Those 7 months were hard for him - but he had his mind 100% - when really all he could do for himself was feed himself and read the paper. I told my Father that he was terminal - but told him he had up to a year and only "God" knows when it is your time. I NEVER told him it spread to any other place in his body. After initially telling him - I never really brought it up again except in a joking way - telling him he couldn't die until July - cause I had BAD July's and this could take the cake for bad July's. I think EVERY person is different. I believe that. My Father - although very week and dependent - he was NOTHING like I thought I "dying cancer patient" would be like. He was not in horrible pain - although he experienced pain. He only took one pain pill a day until 4 days before he died when he went on morphine. I don't think that was because his pain increased - just because they wanted him relaxed and comfortable. So what to expect - again every person is different. Hospice gives you a list of changes as the body starts to shut down. Some can last for months - others seem to occur more as the time gets closer. Loss of appetite - is one - but my Father had that on and off for 7 month - in November he didn't eat for 7 days and I thought that was the end - weakness - he had that for 7 months - but it got to the point the last few days he couldn't stand up even with help or talk a walk. Decreased urine output - I would have to say was my biggest clue - and when I say decreased urine output - I mean 50 cc in a day. Maybe going 1 or 2 times a day. Sleeping - that was big - but he sleep a lot on and off for 7 months. My Father ate 3 days before he died. I thought they stopped eating period. He went into a coma less than 24 hours before he died. Looking back I think there were a few times during those 7 months that were really bad - that it could have been the end - but he would pull himself back out of it. So if its really bad - I mean really bad - and your Dad doesn't perk for over a week - then I would be concerned. Again - this is my personal experience. I hate to say this - but I thought it was bad in the beginning - it does get worse - I just wish somebody told me that the beginning wasn't that bad. I am an only child - my MOther has chronic schziophrenia who I was caring for before he became terminal and during his illness. I worked from home for the last 4 years - but I had such moments of being QUEEN NASTY PANTS - because of stress - lack of sleep and just plain burnout. I wish the QUEEEN would not have worn her crown - cause I NEVER can get that time back. So please - some how - some way find help and respite for yourself. One thing that did help the bone pain was Zometa - once you are on hospice you can no longer receive that (another reason I put it off) - but it does help. Please keep me posted on how your Dad makes out and you. As for what to tell your son - tell him that Grandpa is sick and he will probably get sicker. Your son does need to prepare. Its harder if it is a surprise. Again - hospice can help you with that as well. You will know when you need to call - and if you can call sooner than later - they really help not only your Father -but you & your son as well. God Speed, Janet

Thank You For Your Advice.

by Chris09 on Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:00 AM

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Dear Janet, I just want to say thank you so much for your kindness and wisdom. My situation is very similar to what you have gone through. Like you said its hard to comprehend because they are up and about at times. And he isn't in any horrible pain either. It is very disceiving. He is still eating. He is sleeping most of the day and can't sit up for more than about a hour and a half. He has a bag and that is very uncomfortable. Also, one of his main problems is he bleeds and clots. He has had 9 cortorizations surgeries and several irrigations inbetween since Jan 2, 2005. Plus he flat lined before one surgery in the post opt room and they had to put a pace maker in. OY! The past two weeks his urine has been clear and that is half the battle mentally for him. Today we went to the oncologist and he flat out told him that the chemo wasn't working and he is giving him a 2 week break. While he's on this break he should think about what he wants to do. He can continue chemo if it makes him feel better. (what a thing to say) Or, he can go back to oral chemo. Or do nothing. The problem is here, that my Dad will be making a decision on false hope. He still thinks its contained in one area and he feels he should keep doing the chemo. I'm not sure if I should tell him or not. I have two weeks to see what happens and maybe the doctor will come up with another alternative. ??? Just for the record he was diaignosed in 1991 with prostate cancer and he has sure beaten the odds. It was an aggressive cancer with a gleason score of 9 at that time. He went through everything possible and it gave him 14 years. He is young only 67. Like you said only God knows when. God Bless you for taking care of your Dad and your Mom it sure isn't easy is it? You went through alot and thank you for your response it really did help me out. And, yes I better not put my crown on. You hit it right on the head. I have been nasty at times, stressed and tired. I'm working on that. Just by you telling me that you had felt the same way, I know its normal when you get burned out. It is so hard to find time to take care of yourself. Thank You again and may God Bless and Be well.

pc

by Bud622 on Sat Nov 26, 2005 12:00 AM

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Hi Chris, I am sorry to hear of your fathers illness. You didn't say how old he is. Ask a Social worker what services are available in your area. I believe hospis is almost everywhere. It might be possible that a nurseing home is available to you.Idon't see how you can take care of him by yourself. My father died of PC, there wasn't a lot of pain. He was in a coma the last 24 hrs.He couldn't walk the last seven weeks. He was given radiation to reduce pain, it worked. You need to tell your son now, he probably knows the illness is serious. Ellen
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