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Taking care of Dad & Everything/Everyone else

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So my dad, who has been the closest person to me throughout my life, came back from a trip at the end of July feeling "run down" and "short of breath." Our good friend and family doctor prescribed antibiotics (diagnosing him with "Walking pneumonia") and told him to get some rest & come back in a couple of days. By the time he went back & they realized that the antibiotics weren't having any effect on his sickness, they decided to do an x-ray to be safe. Apparently there was so much fluid in his right lung that they had to drain 2 liters. After this another x-ray was taken, then a cat scan and during all of this I'm thinking "Why in the world is all of this craziness happening for Walking pneumonia?!" At the end of that week, my incredibly health concious dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. This is a man that has never smoked in his life, eats well and exercises any chance he can get. I just don't understand. Talk about random. AND, how is this possible that this all happened so quickly within a 2-3 week span?

My dad is a real estate Broker and owns his own company. Also, together we own a specialty wine store together. I have an older brother (32) who works for me at times, but since losing his mother to breast cancer when he was 12, has been very closed off to love, talking to family, closeness of any kind. Now he's having to watch his father battle cancer too. I'm so worried about him. My parents are divorced, but still maintain a friendly relationship and my mom is worried sick too. We live in a small town and everyone has heard the news it seems and they're all contacting me. Out of town family doesn't want to bother my dad (which I'm thankful for) so they call me for updates, information as well. I am a single mom and trying desperately to take care of my almost 3 year old daughter in this very stressful time. I feel like I have bricks tied to my feet and am trying to stay above water on this one. In addition to runnning my store, I'm taking on managing my dad's rental properties and am very glad to do it & take it off of his plate, but I'm starting to think I've lost my mind!

My dad isn't much of a communicator and so while they're sure it's lung cancer and stage IV, I have no idea the specific kind of cancer, what exactly their going to do for treatment, or any details on preperation for what all of this entails. I can feel the ulcers developing and can see the grey hairs popping up constantly. I think not knowing is the worst. I feel like a zombie.

More later...


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Lili, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I only have one small suggestion for you. If most of your callers have email access, you can type one update and take care of a whole bunch of folks at the same time. I found it quite stressful to have to answer the telephone several times each day and repeat the same information over and over. This system worked well for our family and friends.

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Talk about random. AND, how is this possible that this all happened so quickly within a 2-3 week span?

Lili, that sounds much like what happened to me. In retrospect, and judging from the mess my right chest was in when the surgeon looked inside, the fluid had probably been collecting for months. Since I was in pretty good shape otherwise, the weakness and shortness of breath didn't become apparent until the fluid had collapsed about 2/3 of the right lung.

To clarify, the fluid is not IN the lung, but in the "pleural space" between the outside of the lung and the chest wall. A couple of excellent references on pleural effusions:

http://onctalk.com/2007/03/17/intro-to- ... effusions/


Contrary to what I was told to expect, my pleural effusion DID clear almost entirely with chemo, and I now have practically full use of that lung again.

I'm sorry it's been so hard for you to get information. Do you think your dad would authorize you to speak with his doctors? You're not only his daughter, but also a business partner. Even if you don't have all of the details, knowing at least the cell type (and subtype if it's NSCLC), if and where it's spread outside of the lung, and what sort of chemo and/or radiation is planned will allow us to give you a lot of first-hand help. Best wishes and Aloha,


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Hi Lili. You have a lot on your plate and must just feel overwhelmed right now. I had 3 litres of fluid on my lung...and no that sure didn't happen overnight..it just kind of sneaks up on you. Group e-mail communication is a good idea but it is also good to talk to people because you need support as well. I hope all starts to fall into place soon and the initial overwhelming part starts to subside and you can all get on with just fighting this thing. Best wishes


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