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Need help with dealing with hopelessness

Guest DianeP

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Guest DianeP

My mom and I are taking care of my dad. In the past (many years ago) my mom watched her best friend die of stomach cancer - she suffered a lot.

My dad has a tendency of listening to my mom and I - and taking our advice on what to do about his cancer treatment. My mom is all doom & gloom, she barely has any hope for help for treatment, and is leaning to just watching him die without medical intervention.

This is driving me nuts!!! I am trying to make her understand that treatment is so different now, that they have meds to help with chemo and that my dad is so strong. (He's 60 and in perfect heath...minus of course the cancer) He has some fight in him, and I know that they would be able to have a lot more GOOD time together if he just had treatment.

She wants to have him treated in their rural area, when just 3 hours away (right near me) there is some of the best cancer centers anywhere...she also leaning towards not getting a 2nd opinion.

How can I help instill hope? I know she is scared, but I'm trying to tell her that this is the only chance she has and he deserves to know all his options. She says that I am just thinking like he's "invinsible" because I'm only 27. In my heart, I know that this is one he** of a battle, but without hope - what else do you have in a situation like this???

If anyone has experienced this with a parent or a friend, any advice on how to deal with a hopeless person would really be beneficial to me now.

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Diane -

So sorry to read about your Mom and Dad going through this. I think you have come to the right place - for encourgement the folks on this board can't be beat!! Maybe you could print out some of the posts and show them to your parents - there are so many survivors out there with inspiring examples of the will to live. Your Dad is a healthy 60 years young and you are right to want him to have every chance for survival. I will keep them as well as you in my prayers.


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Hi Diane, please print some of the posts on this message board and give them to your mom. I was staged llla squamous cell with spread to one of my lymphnodes. I had surgery in June of 2001, and yes the surgery was painful and took a lot out of me, but I recovered. I am a 2+ year survivor, no chemo or radiation so far. I am so happy to have this time to live. Without the surgery or some kind of treatment, I'd be gone. Cancer sucks big time, but there is hope for us now. Share this with your mom, your dad has chance to beat this and enjoy more of his life. :wink:

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Diane - I have four daughters and a son. Everyone of my daughters is my little princess and my son is my little slugger. Talk to your Dad. He will listen. You are Daddy's little girl and that will go a long way. There is a special place in all Daddy's heart for their little girl - no matter how big she gets. It may be your own lever and his only chance. Cancer is survivable. Take a look at these boards for evidence. There are over 500 of us on this site alone. Hugs and kisses. God Bless.

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Oh, Diane, I can totally relate!!! I am close to your age, 34, but my sisters are younger. My dad was diagnosed in May and my mom had a VERY difficult time with the news. She became very bitter and short with us (me and my two sisters) and with the grandkids. My mom is a VERY sweet person and she became someone we didn't know. We mentioned counseling or a support group but she wouldn't hear of it. She said she didn't need anything like that. We prayed for her strength and it must have helped!! About a month after my dad's diagnosis, she became more pro-active out of no where. We were very relieved about that. We wanted to help her but didn't know how. She seems to cope better now, so I think just time helped her.

My dad has ALWAYS been very optimistic about every situation and my mom always saw the glass half empty. So I hope time will help your mom. I'm sure it's very difficult since she saw her friend suffer so much with cancer, and that may be the only thing she can relate your dad to.

My dad had always said if he had cancer he would NEVER go thru chemo. Well....when it actually happened, he changed his tune (thank goodness!). He has had seven treatments of chemo and hasn't been sick once. Chemo has come a long way!!! My dad gets a anti-nausea drug the same time as chemo and I think that has made the difference. He hasn't even lost his hair!! (It's thinnning, but it's hard to tell!) So I would tell your dad to give chemo a try. At least your family would feel he's doing something to fight this nasty beast.

I am praying for you. My dad is 66 and is in perfect health (except for cancer) like your dad. Please e-mail me at angie.held@mchsi anytime you want to correspond. I feel we have a lot in common (unfortunately :cry: .

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Dear Diane,

One of the above posts said it best, print out the responses to your post and show your mother. Without the knowledge I have learned from research and what I have learned from this board, and LOTS OF PRAYER, I wouldve despaired too when I learned my father was IIIa.

My father is 63 and has battled non hodgkins lympoma twice, and now was diagnosed IIIa in May. He has had 8 rounds of chemo (smaller doses over longer amount of time, due to the beating he took during bouts of lymphoma), now we are waiting for the scan to see if he is eligible for surgery and then we are PRAYING for the CURE!!! He WILL MAKE IT and SO WILL YOUR DAD!!!!!!

If he is IIIa, he can be treated!!! Hope is not lost. Knowledge is power. Ask oncologist questions - 1. is he eligible for surgery? 2. can he have chemo before and possibly after surgery to minimize chance of relapse?

Tell your father all you have learned so he will be inspired to fight!!!!!

Keep us posted!!!!!!

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I wrote the following message after my Johnny died. I hope it helps. If you want to see what attitude can do request Johnny's story by emailing me at lild@peoplepc.com The story is long and detailed buy it may give you some valuable informatioin on what to do and what not to get caught up in. Best of luck Lillian It's Time for a Change

It is time for a change in the way cancer is viewed. I recently lost someone very dear to me. It is my belief that it was not the cancer that killed him but mind set. From the minute that he was diagnosed everyone saw him differently. They saw cancer and death. Not a good honest and gentle man.

A diagnoses of cancer is probably the most devestating thing that a person can hear whether it is yourself or a loved one being diagnosed. The first thing we think about is death. It is a mind set that virtually everyone has. We are all guilty. We as loved ones hear the diagnoses and we concentrate so much on fear of the outcome that we are unable for a time to do research and other things that is needed to help the patient. Doctors are guilty because they give medications that can be harmfull and addictive with the outlook that the person has cancer they are going to die anyway. They ask what difference does it make. They take hope away from the patient who then has to not only face their own mortality but think of the ones they will leave behind if they die. It can cause extreme anxiety yet that anxiety is overlooked too often. They blame every symptom on the cancer never considering that there could be another problem. This can interfer with treatment and start the person on a down hill slide that is hard to stop. It causes such havoc in a person's life.

I have seen and learned so much in the past few months about cancer and it's side effects. Emotional and mental side effects both in the patient and others. I saw first hand what hope can do and I saw too what taking that hope away can do. It can cause a person to be sucked into a whirlpool of misery that can not only destroy the value of the time they have left if they are terminal but seriously interfer with any chance they may have to fight the cancer or have it go into remission.

We all need to start looking at cancer a whole new way. This is the 21st century. There are many things that can help cancer patients and more being developed everyday. There is hope. It may be a small one in some cases but it is there. We need to nurture that hope not destroy it. Next year or next week a cure could be found. It is out there somewhere and will be found and made available. How sad that so many will die weeks or even days before simply because they are given up on. Because hope has been taken away.

I believe that doctors should be trained to work with a persons mental and emotional health as well as the cancer. They should offer every patient some small ray of hope. If they feel that they no longer see a chance of the treatment they are using working they should offer the patient a chance to become a part of the clinical trials that go on everyday. If they feel their is no longer any hope why not give it a try? They should also be required to tell people that their are alternate treatments that in many cases work. That information should be made available to the patients so they can decide if they want to try them.

Now this is something that is very important to me personaly because it had such a tragic outcome for the man I mentioned earlier. Every patient is offered the chance to sign an advanced directive. In many cases that will enclude a DNR. There are many out there I am sure that will want to do that not wanting to face the suffering that may lay ahead. There are also those who are willing to take that chance. They want the right to fight to live. They make a decision that is right for them. It is not an easy decision to make. Not only do they have to face death but the posibility of a lot of suffering later. It is their right, their choice and their body. No one, doctor or others, should be allowed to badger them or try to force them to change their mind. A doctor should not be allowed to refuse to treat them or stall until it is too late to do what is required to follow those wishes. It is their duty morally and by law to see that those wishes are carried out. Once the decision is made the patient should be left alone. Being constantly called upon to restate that decision or change their mind can cause harm in more ways than one.

It is a terrible thing to have to watch someone you love struggle with the issues that cancer brings into their life. It is even worse seeing the fear and confusion that they live with everyday. Hope can be such a wonderfull thing and it can do wonders. Taking away that hope can be as life threatening as the cancer itself. Why not start thinking of cancer as a challenge to be met? There is hope out there tho in many cases it may be a small one it is still there. Why not treat every patient as if they will be one of the good statistics? Who knows maybe that is all it will take to make it so.

I have had some heart rendering experiences the past several months. I don't want to see other people have to go through that. The man I speak of often told me that I should write. I always put him off because I never thought I had anything worthwhile to say. Now because of his death and what we went through together I have found something to write about. I dedicate this and all that I can do to change things to him.

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