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The doctors followed up with us yesterday on the result of my dad's biopsy (the "simple" procedure during which my father had his fatal stroke). The lab sent the samples for a second round of tests at Johns Hopkins, so it took over a week to get the final report. Apparently, my dad was suffering from an extremely severe form of radiation pneumonitis. My brother and I have been furiously reading academic research on the topic, and it seems to confirm what the doctors suggested: even if my dad hadn't had the stroke, he would not have made it much longer. His lungs would have simply stopped functioning.

I guess what I am struggling with now is that the treatment seems to have ultimately been the most damaging. Before he started chemo and radiation, he was very vibrant, very alive. The radiation destroyed his lungs... but I guess if we had not gone through with the therapy, the cancer would have taken over. I am having a very frustrating internal debate.

Thanks for "listening".

Kate

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Kate,

Please don't beat yourself up second guessing.

It won't help anything.

Give yourself permission to look forward, not back.

Your dad did what he thought was best, and you all supported his decision. That was the right thing to do.

God bless and keep you strong...

XOXOXOXOX

Prayers,always,

MaryAnn

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I am sorry you are left with this to deal with Kate. I don't know what to say. I guess if it happened to me, and I knew I had severe radiation damage to my lungs, I would ask the radiation onc , "what is this all about?" It makes me awfully shy about radiation if it ever came to that for me. I guess the onc was doing what he thought best at the time since it was a large tumor and all.

I hope you and your brother find some peace in dealing with this.

Don M

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Hi Kate.

What you are going through right now, after losing your Dad, is very normal. But, please try to listen to MaryAnn's voice of sound reason.

I struggled with the same questions that you are right now when I lost my dad to brain cancer. Very similar scenerio.

Be gentle with yourself.

Cindi o'h

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Let yourselve grieve. The pain of a loss is still to new to ignore. Then after some months of healing look back and see that sometimes there is no answer that we in this life will be happy with. Sometimes either choice has bad aspects and good aspects. These are hard issues to deal with. Please let some time pass for your family before raking over choices and second guessing yourselves or your father. Praying for you all pammie

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Kate,

I'm sorry for your loss and that you are going thru this.

I felt the same things and have had the same questions myself many times in the last 17 months.

You'll never get any real answers that will bring you peace. The others said it best-- Your dad made the decision that he felt was best for him and for his family. You'll never know the what-ifs- Cindy is right, be gentle on yourself. Your dad would want you to.

((HUG))

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I remember a line from a book called, "The Girl with the Red Shoes" (or something very close to that). It was a memoir written by a mother who lost her little 4-year-old to cancer. It went something like this:

The doctor told us "...from this point on, the only thing I want you to think is that you made the best decision you could with the information you had AT THE TIME. Repeat this every time you begin to have doubts."

Looking back with the information you NOW have will not do anything helpful for you, it will just make you second guess your decisions. And the point is that you did not have that information, knowledge or understanding AT THE TIME.

So cut yourself some slack and repeat after me:

"We did the best we could with the information we had AT THE TIME."

All the best to you and yours as you go through this difficult time.

God Bless,

Karen

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Kate,

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my father 18 years ago to this disease and never dreamed I would end up with it. Anyway - please know that you and your family had guidance in the decisions you made for your father and they were the correct ones although they may not feel like it now, God doesn't make mistakes and he did not make one this time, even if it feels like he did.

God Bless.

Carrie

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Kate,

I am so sorry about your Dad... I too replay EVERYTHING through my mind about the last week before Daddy passed... shoulda, woulda, coulda's... and it is a losing battle... I think the previous post about making the decisions we did with the information we had is quite helpful... there are no easy answers, this disease is not easy.... please don't beat yourself up.... Love, Sharon

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Hi Kate,

So many people have posted so many words of wisdom that should help you through your grieving.

What's done is done. Could it have been changed, probably not. It probably just would have prolonged the inevitable. Try not to dwell on "what ifs" . Remember all the beautiful memories that you and your dad had together. That will keep him alive in you forever.

He would not want you or your siblings to feel guilty in any way. That would make him very sad.

When it is your turn to leave this physical plane, you will meet him again.

He will always be there, in your heart and will hear you words through prayer and mediation.

My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. You have nothing to feel quilty about. You were with him through all of this and have giving him so much love. That is what counts.

Sending you strength through meditation.

Maryanne

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Dear Kate,

I'm so sorry to hear about your struggle. God knows it's hard enough to lose someone you love so dearly, then to have the debate within yourself "Did we do the right thing or not?" is so difficult. When I lost my Mother to LC 1 & 1/2 yrs ago, I struggled with that question for a good while. I had to make the decisions as my Mother was already incapable by the time her cancer was discovered. I finally found my peace when I turned it over to God & realized that He had guided me through the decisions that I made. I also found peace in those past decisions after I was dx with LC. I knew that Mom would be with me through the process & that she truly understands what I am going through. I remember something she always taught me & it rings true in my ears every day now. Never ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself. I find myself making the same decisions for myself that I did for her, so I guess based on that in her eyes, I did the right things for her.

My prayers are with you that you may find the peace you need to go through this trying time.

Many Hugs,

Melanie

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Dear Kate,

I'm so sorry that you've lost your dad -- and that you're having such anguish over it all. But, as everyone else has said, you -- and he -- did the best that you could at the time. I know that we second guessed ourselves a number of times when deciding whether to go ahead with radiation after chemo, especially with the risk of damaging the lungs permanently. But we gulped and went ahead anyway, knowing that it was Len's best shot at survival. You do what you have to.

That doesn't make it any easier in retrospect, I know, but you --- he -- gave it his all and tried to beat the cancer. It was a brave fight and he went out fighting. As the others have said, you do the best you can.

Know that we're thinking of you at this hard time.

Hugs,

Ellen

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Dear Kate,

I'm so sorry that you've lost your dad -- and that you're having such anguish over it all. But, as everyone else has said, you -- and he -- did the best that you could at the time. I know that we second guessed ourselves a number of times when deciding whether to go ahead with radiation after chemo, especially with the risk of damaging the lungs permanently. But we gulped and went ahead anyway, knowing that it was Len's best shot at survival. You do what you have to.

That doesn't make it any easier in retrospect, I know, but you --- he -- gave it his all and tried to beat the cancer. It was a brave fight and he went out fighting. As the others have said, you do the best you can.

Know that we're thinking of you at this hard time.

Hugs,

Ellen

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I appreciate all of teh thought-provoking and sound advice. This weekend, my mom and I began talking on our way to the grocery, and we continued to play the "what if" game. It was funny how selective each of our memories are! Taken together, our memories supply the full picture of my dad's condition, and supported the conclusion that we had done the best with the information we had at the time. Individually, we both forgot things or unintentionally omitted details.

For example, I forgot that my dad had been in excruciating pain when he first went into the hospital (and was ultimately diagnosed with LC). The tumor had put pressure on a nerve, and he had nearly debilitating pain in his chest wall. Only after he started treatment did the pain subside (as the tumor shrunk and moved away from the nerve). I forgot that he had no choice but to proceed with treatment because he was in pain and this was the only way to release him from the pain.

Between my discussion with my mom and all of your *very* helpful posts, I am starting to understand that we did the right thing. I just wish that the treatment hadn't been so harsh, that my dad's quality of life could have been better over the last four months. I guess that will never change, but I am at least beginning to accept that we did the best that we could.

Kate

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Kate, I am so glad to read you are finding some peace with all of this. You are so correct about the toll all of the internal struggles will take on your life. I think all of us worry and wonder if we making or made the right decisions concerning the care and treatment of our loved ones. We just have to believe that we made the best decisions based on the knowledge we had. I know that Dennis was seemingly doing better before the radiation. The radiation really took a toll on him. I had to choose between the radiation and seeing him suffer from intensive pain. I chose to try the radiation. Looking back, two years later, I see that although the quantity of time was probably shortened by the effects of the radiation he experienced a lower level of pain. We just can't beat ourselves up for decisions we make. I pray that you will find peace and comfort knowing that you did your best...in every way!!!

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