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Lost my dad 40 days ago


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Hello everyone.

Before I start to tell my father's story, I just wanted to wish the best for everyone who is battling this horrible disease.

I'll try to be brief as our fight with lung cancer itself was very short. My father, 58, passed away on December 29 after having been diagnosed with lung cancer on December 6.

He was a person who would go to the hospital for regular checkups as he was a cardiac patient who had eight stents. His cardiologist would check his blood levels every month and because my father was a heavy smoker, he would have his chest X-ray taken every 3 months. There was no abnormality in his blood values, however, his doctor did see a shadow in his chest X-ray, but thought it was probably nothing. This was in August 2021.

In mid November, my father started to have difficulties in swallowing and once, he almost choked up to death while eating. He had an endoscopy to make sure everything was okay and  he didn't have anything in his stomach. However, he kept losing weight and having problems eating and drinking. Then, he had a CT scan which showed he might have had cancer. We took his CT scan report to an oncologist who told us to get a PET scan immediately. Finally, we found out that he had Stage 4 Lung Cancer on December 6.

He had cancer in both lungs, lymph nodes, his entire vertebrae, pelvis, ribs, collarbone, both femurs, (well, almost all his bones) and brain. The results were shocking to us as he did not show any symptoms of being this ill. He was still very energetic, working full-time, feeling almost no pain and having no particular health issues except for not being able to eat properly.

His biopsy result came in on December 10 and it said Adenocarcinoma. We thought it was the lesser of the two evils. After his biopsy, his health got worse and he was admitted to the hospital for five days. The doctors wouldn't start any treatment before finding a solution to his eating difficulties. In the meanwhile, they sent his biopsy sample to a clinic in Switzerland to see if he'd be a right fit for a clinical trial. We wasted 10 days just to find out that he wasn't.

My father developed a terrible cough in those 10 days and lost his voice. He was not able to get out of the bed most of the time. On December 21, he started his first (and last) session of radiotherapy for the brain metastasis. On Christmas Day, he got worse and couldn't breathe properly. He was admitted to the hospital again. He had pleural effusion. His left lung had collapsed. He spent five days in ICU before his heart stopped beating on December 29. He died on the same day as his mother did back in 2007. I just don't know what to think.

I know it's not gonna change anything, but do you think the biopsy result was wrong and it wasn't adenocarcinoma in the first place? Maybe it was SCLC and that's why he died so suddenly. Has anyone had a similar experience to what we had? We just lost him within a span of three weeks without even understanding his illness and it's been very difficult to cope with the grief.

Thank you for reading it! I hope your story will have a better ending than ours.

Bonnie

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Nouhere,

I am so sorry to hear about your father's passing.  Let me first answer your question about the biopsy result.  Whether it was was NSCLC or SCLC would not have made a difference considering the spread of cancer though the body by the time symptoms had begun.  I would believe that the 10 days would not have made a difference in the outcome.  He was obviously a strong person, but metastasis was so advanced that his breathing and swallowing issues prevented any type of aggressive treatment that most likely would have not extended his life.  

Lung cancer is an insidious disease with high recurrence and lethality.  The good news is that the advancements made in the last 5 years are more than the previous 25 years so, when diagnosed early enough, people can live longer lives where the disease is more of a chronic condition than a guarantee of death.  Many times our diagnosis were incidental after having some test for a different issue.  In your father's case it was not discovered until the time he had already developed severe symptoms.  That will always result in a more dire prognosis.

It does appear though that your father was a tough cookie and lived his life fully until the disease flared and took him.  That additional life may be something to feel thankful for.  I lost both parents to cancer so I understand what you're feeling and I pray that you'll find peace and that memories will one day bring a smile rather than a tear.  

We do have a section called "Grief" where people share regarding loved ones who have passed away.  If you'd like to read or post in that section you can find it here.

Lou

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Dear Lou,

Thank you very much for your comforting answer. It does feel good hearing these things from a person who has had similar experiences. I am sorry to hear about your parents. Cancer sucks is an understatement.

Even if I lost my dad, I think I'll stick around here on this forum to read about other people's struggles with lung cancer. I wish the best for everyone out there.

Bonnie

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Nouhere,

I agree with Lou. The type of cancer was far less important than the extent of cancer. Your dad had a lot of tumor burden by the time he was diagnosed and that is what complicated treatment and outcomes.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Oh, Bonnie,

I have nothing more to add to others' impressions that your dear dad was in a tenuous physical circumstances. It is so very strange and so very difficult to adjust to a parent loss...especially when, as in your case, he was quite young, with the added shock of the illness and his passing happening all so very quickly. You will probably find yourself in what I call the "insanity" of deep grief, because in a way, it is an insanity; we lose our footing a bit (or a lot) when our hearts and senses of life and identity have been so profoundly shaken and diminished, and we (many of us, anyway) are just not quite right as we navigate the very rough road of such a loss. Try to remember that in grief like this, if you are typical of others in such big loss,  you will feel not quite "with it," -- inefficient, not on top of things, forgetful, and emotionally up and down, sometimes numb, and at others, all of a sudden finding yourself in tears. You will be "spacey," and slower. Basically, we become taken over by the shock of our loved ones' leaving, and the process back to an everyday sense of normality is one that takes its time. You WILL feel happy again, you WILL have joy again, and you WILL feel good and be OK again (as your beloved dad would love). That empty hole, though, its outline in his shape, will remain-- how could it not!?-- and we learn to live with that loss. Try as best you can, to take care of yourself, and to be very patient with yourself if you are not quite "on your game." Remember to eat, remember to drink (a stressed body dehydrates readily!), and be very gentle with yourself.  I send you my heart as you go forth. Your dad, liberated, flies the infinite brilliance, all knowing, all part of the beautiful heavens.  ❤️ Greetings, from over a brisk forest sky. ❤️ joana

 

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Dear Tom and Joana,

Thank you for taking the time to read my father's story and answering so kindly. It really means A LOT to me. Joana, I keep reading what you wrote; it made my day. Thank you for giving me hope. 🧡

Bonnie

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