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I have tried very hard to remain positive...and for the most part, I have been successful.

My biological father passed away when I was in first grade. He had been separated from my mother since I was an infant and had no caontact with my brother and I since then until his untimely death when I was still a small child. The dad I speak of in this forum has been a part of my life since I was four years old and has been the most stable and consistent influence in my life since I was in grade school.

Tonight some friends had a Christmas party. It started out upbeat and cheerful, but at a point in the evening the conversation shifted to my dad and his cancer. I am willing to talk very openly about my feelings and my hurts and the impact that this disease has had on me...and here is how I really feel.

I am 30 years old. A single mom...unmarried...and I lean on my dad for many things. He has always been there to help me and support me and has been such a great friend to me over the years that I have really never felt the pain associated with growing up without my "real" dad...I have always had a very real dad and been very thankful for that.

In spite of his treatments and his resilience and his willingness to fight this awful disease, I know that his odds (with stage IV cancer) are not good and that it is likely that I will lose my dad within the next few years...even if his treatments go well.

And that stinks.

My dad is supposed to have a starring role in my wedding. He is supposed to attend the births of ALL of my children. He is supposed to meet the man I will someday marry and to tell me he thinks that man is perfect for me and that we have his blessing.

He is not supposed to die.

I know I should remain positive and I know that I should not grieve for the living and I am trying my best to keep a fighting spirit...but I also know what we are faced with and I just think that it is so entirely unfair.

and some days that is really hard for me.

and maybe I should be stronger or more upbeat and I would never admit this to my dad...but I feel defeated already and I absolutely hate it.

How do you stay positive in the face of such a grim diagnosis?

I just don't know how to do it. My world is just closing in around me. I just don't know if I am strong enough to handle this.

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Hi Stephanie-

I am so sorry for what you are going through and for your dad's diagnosis. I wish I had some great piece of advice to offer you, I do not. Only encouragement for you in this hard part of you and your fathers journey together.

Try not to pay attention to 'the odds' of survival for your dad. They truly are only numbers and guesses and not an accurate reflection of your dad's individuality. Focus on today and 'see' your dad as healthy and healed-visualization helps SO much!

My mom's 'odds' were pretty bleak when they found her cancer. 4 months max the doctors said....she was 52 then...Christmas Eve she wil celebrate her 60th birthday so I am hopeful that your dad will walk you down the aisle yet!

Blessings to you both!


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I've been thinking about you, Stephanie......and your dad. It is a rocky road we all travel here, that is for sure. I am not quite sure how to address your concerns being that I am the cancer patient and not the caregiver. Needless to say, it is tricky from whichever side of it we are on. Please know that I am here for you and/or your dad........5 minutes away. I'm curious who your dad's docs are and if he is going to the campus for treatment. Please let me know if I can help out in any way.


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the one thing that does not come with this cancer is

a book on how to deal with all the ups and downs that

are thrown our way. My Husband was DX with Extensive

SCLC almost 2 years ago and it has been a roller coaster ride ever since. Alan had a very

difficult time in 2005, more than once no one was sure he would make it a few months. However, 2006

has what we would consider, a very good year. Small

scare when a new mass showed up on his CT scan, but

biopsy came back negative. There are times when I feel as if I will shatter into a million pieces

and other times I feel as if I could conquer any situation.

This has become our new "normal". You will find a pace that works for you and your Dad.

Prayers to you and your family.

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As a 33 year old woman who lost her mom ten months ago, three weeks before I gave birth to my son, I can tell you that when my mom was diagnosed I spent a lot of time in paralyzing fear of losing her. She remained positive throughout her treatment, but I was panicky, sad, overwhelmed, fearful...all of it...pretty much all the time. So I simply cannot tell ANYONE to remain positive, stop dwelling on statistics, and count their blessings while they can.

As I said, I had my son three weeks after I lost my mom. We knew things were bad, and I FEARED she had little time, but she told me she was going to see the baby, and when she said she was going to do something, I never doubted her, because she had a LOT of pain and turmoil in her life, and always was able to overcome it somehow. I just knew that our time was short with her, and after he was born, she may not have much time. When she died BEFORE he was born, it was like it really didn't happen. Looking back, I can say that I spent about three months in complete shock, and the night she died I am told I kept telling her to WAKE UP and stop this. The shock, I believe, is what got me through--it is a protective barrier of sorts--but it also numbed me of the experience of giving birth to Ian, and I swear to this day I remember little of the details of his birth. I am forever robbed of those memories.

But...having said of of THAT...what I can say is that the one and only thing that I realized in the early days following my mom's death, is that the ONLY thing that made me smile were my kids. I have twins who just turned 5 and about two days after I lost my mom, one of them said something funny while I was in bed (I was on bedrest throughout my pregnancy) sobbing, and it hit me that they would be the light to guide me through my life just as they were such a light in my mom's life. Having my mom live with us since 2003, I saw how they were really the reason why she kept going every single day. And now, I have Ian, who is a miracle in EVERY sense of the word, and he can ALWAYS put a smile on my face. In my heart of hearts I know that God knew He was going to take my mom from me, and gave me Ian to soften the blow. When I found out I was pregnant with him, all I could think about was, "I can't do this, it is the wrong time, my mom needs me." But every time I would get an ultrasound, she would sit and look at that picture, and show it to everyone, she was so proud.

Today, I won't deny that it is VERY hard to look at my kids and see them changing and growing, and know that my mom isn't here for all of it. She never met Ian, and he is so beautiful and happy she would just melt. Every single day I look at them and think, "Oh, wow, she's missing this." And it drives me crazy that I can't run and tell her. But in the end, they are what make me smile, and keep me going, and I know for a fact that she would want that. I do have bad days (in fact, with Christmas coming, a LOT of bad days, I have realized) and what is hard is that I can't control when they are or when I can sit down and cry, or when I need to push it out of my head and move on.

And all in all, who IS strong enough to handle this? I certainly am not. But I can say that I have learned to "use" people around me in different ways to help me grieve. They all have different roles in my eyes to help me get through. For example, my best friend wanted to be the one I ran to and cried on her shoulder, but I wanted my husband to be that person. I wanted my BF to be the one who took my mind off of it. I told her so, and she has been great ever since. And the nights when my daughter comes in my room and is crying, when I ask her what's wrong, and she tells me, "I miss Grandma," I can hug her and talk to her, and know that I am so blessed to have her--and all of my family and friends--to help guide me through the grief process.

It's the hardest thing I have EVER EVER done, I won't deny that. I want to wake up from the nightmare and have my mom back. The reality of "forever gone" is sometimes so harsh it feels like someone is strangling me and cutting off my air supply. Sometimes the need to feel her around me is so intense I go into her room and start rummaging through her things wildly, hoping to find some letter, SOMETHING other than just the clothes or jewelry I have looked at so many times. The feelings are intense, but my cousin said something to me that I will never forget. "I look at the grief of my father's death as a GIFT, because it is a sign of how much we loved each other." How true this has become for me.

I know how hard it is to focus on being positive. And no matter how much "pre-grieving" you do, it will never prepare you for it. But just know that there will be good things to come in life. It's something I am realizing slowly but surely.

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I'm sorry for the diagnosis. I know what it is like to have a future full of images which include a parent. And the day diagnosis happens, it's like those pictures of the future burn up.

I was lucky enough to have my mother at my wedding, but I'll never see her hold a grandchild. And it hurts like hell. I cried every day for hours when mom was still here. I don't care if they"say" you aren't supposed to grieve the living. You just do. So don't beat yourself about that. Cancer is a negative thing, so if you find it hard to be positive, it's understandable. Don't beat yourself up about it.

Mom knew I was sad. Mom also knew I was ready to sping into any action she wanted me to spring into. I cried so much the day she decided her course of treatment. It wasn't being negative...it was justbeing sad. Don't confuse the two. Sad, yes you are. Devastated. Of course. But you can still be positive. So when you feel bad, identify it with sad, not negative.

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You are going through what we all go through, you try not to dwell on the negative, but...well it is what it is.

I read in your profile about the Avastin--and I would ask again about that- or go for a second opinion. Your dad is young and he has a good chance to buy a lot of time with aggressive treatment. Maybe you could ask Dr. West what he thinks about Avastin. My husband is having success with it and his tumor is close to the heart. I thought most of the bleeding issues were associated with squamous cell. Hang in there-- I know its hard.

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Just copied this from the post in Lung Cancer news on the approval of Avastin:

The study illustrates that Avastin plus chemotherapy extended trial participants’ survival time to 12.3 months, longer than with chemotherapy alone. In October, the FDA approved Avastin for initial treatment of non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy for people who are not eligible for surgery, or have locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic NSCLC. Avastin is manufactured by Genentech, Inc.

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Hi Stephanie,

Sorry things are difficult right now. I think you'll find that there are good and bad days. Cherish the good days and let the bad days happen. Feeling sorry for yourself, your dad,etc, is normal and healthy.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and 2007 proves to be a great year!


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Well, my dad starts radiation on Thursday and his onc has decided to add the Avastin to his next chemo (December 26). I will update my profile soon.

Kasey, my dad is being treated at Keystone Cancer Center. I think they are doing a wonderful job.

I am feeling positive again...and I am realizing that it will be a daily struggle for me to keep my spirits up. I just wanted to thank you all again for your wonderful words of encouragement. This board is truly a Godsend...I am grateful for each and every one of you.


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