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For those who live away from your lc family member.


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How do you handle it? The not knowing how they really are. I am in constant wonder how dad is really feeling, how he really looks, etc. His girlfriend says he is tired a lot and is napping more often (not on any meds for LC, just breathing treatments, antibiotics, and morphine for pain). She says he is in quite a bit of pain at times in the chest where his tumor is. He was supposed to see the surgeon yesterday about the possibility of removing the tumor, but the surgeon got called away on an emergency heart surgery. So they were supposed to go back today. That is a hard trip on my dad, as the hospital is over a 2 hour drive one way.

I have been thinking back of me as a child, and watching my dad swim in the ocean and thinking of how strong he was and how far out he was. I have been thinking a lot of the piggy back rides he used to give me and my brother. I want him to be able to do that with my boys too. How do I help from so far away? I am about 800 miles from dad.

I know I am rambling, but I just don't know where else to turn.

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I don't know how to handle it. It was hard for me being in San Antonio three days per week while Becky was in Nacogdoches, and that was talking to her three times every day. It is hard. But make as frequent contact as they will tolerate, on the phone, visit, e-mail. Whatever.

Not more than they will tolerate, but make sure he knows he is loved. That is all you can do, I think.


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I know how you feel. I'm about 800 miles away from my mother who has been dealing with LC for over 2 years.

I'd recently moved from TX to Florida to start grad school when I found out about my mother. I finshed the first year and went back home. After a semester at home, she had no evidence of disease, and I came back to school. Now, she has mets to brain, just completed Temodar and WBR and is in the process of getting ready to undergo Gamma Knife.

I don't know what to do. I want to go home again, but she doesn't want me to. She wants me to complete what I started here. She wants to be around to celebrate. I didn't feel so awfully terrible at first about coming back becuase my dad is with her and is a wonderful caregiver, and my younger sister who is getting married in November still lives at home. (Though I'm worried abot her, too. Planning a wedding alone, working full-time and helping with my mother, she has recently been diagnosed with anxiety disorder.) It's just that now, my mom's in some state of depression. My sister says she cries alot and sleeps more than 20 hours a day. I'm really worried. I want to go home, but then again, I also want to respect my mother's wishes. It's so hard.

But, I call everyday, two, three even four times a day. (Thank goodness for free nights/weekends with cell phone companies!) I send cards and letters. I push her, just like she has pushed me through my life. But right now, nothing is working.

It's good that you have someone to tell you how your dad is doing. I know my mom often tries to sugarcoat things or just "forgets" to tell me things at all. My father keeps me pretty up to date on things. And, since I have gone home so much, I have devloped a relationship with her onc, as well as the nurses in the office. Whenever I have the slightest feeling that something is wrong, I just call the onc and let them know about certain aches/pains she has, etc. They have been really wonderful at following up on this.

Being able to call her onc has been a comfort in a way. It also lets her know that I do care. That I notice when things aren't right, even when I don't see her, I can hear when things are right or wrong.

If possible, I would recommend going to visit your dad during the time that he is to visit his primary onc or other physician. Let them know who you are, that you are far away, that you care. I was amazed when I went with my mother to her visits how many people go alone or without any support other than that from a caregiver. That must be very hard. I think it pleases doctors to know that their patients have a strong support system.

Sorry about the ramble. I was just having a difficult time tonight when I saw this post. I haven't talked to my mother in 3 days because she's asleep everytime I call. That's pretty much a record for us.

Many blessings to you and your family.


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i live in south korea, and it was very difficult when my father was sick. i would spend hours a day on the computer( this web site, looking up cancer information, and writing him emails), i would call home three times a day, and i went home to visit more days in total than my other sisters who lived 8 hours away(one by car, one by plane). it think it is hard to be away, but it is also hard to be around. the pain of not knowing or the pain of knowing. i did my best to support my mom who was my fathers primary caregiver, and then his brothers and sisters took turns sitting with him and helping him when my mom needed a break or had to work.

in short, it is a difficult time no matter what. phone often, write often, email often, and don't hold back.

when i got the phone call to go home, i was home hours before my other two sisters. weird huh, seen as i live half way around the world. it doesn't matter how far away you are, you can show your support, love, and you will be able to get home if you have to.

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Hi Amy,

This is a tough one for me, especially lately as I don't feel like I have been in touch as much as I would like to be or should be. The time change for us is a hitch ... me in MI and mom and dad in CA. Recently my husband has gone to an early shift and is also going to school one night a week and doing homework the other nights. So if I want to see him I kind of have to follow his schedule at night. This makes catching up after the kids go to bed a little difficult with family and friends in CA. What an adjustment.

The other part of this is finances. Things have become a little easier but not enough to where I could have made a trip to CA with the kids this summer. That is really hard.

Now with the new diagnosis, it is even more difficult because there are all these questions as to when I should make a trip and if I can make a second when I need to etc. I do have a trip planned for a week the beginning of October. It is without the kids and Jeff so that is going to be hard in some respects. It just wouldn't work to take Maia out of school and Scott out of pre-school and their activities right now. Also 1 ticket is manageable ... 3 is not. Talk about feeling torn between two places.

The good thing is that I have had a great deal of support from my friends here in MI. They are willing to take up the slack when I am gone and get the kids to their activities etc. Jeff's dad is going to come and spend the week here to take care of things at home so that will be good for the kids. I don't know what kind of changes or adjustments Jeff is going to be able to make to be here for the kids but we'll have to see what happens there. The prayers from this end of the country have been many ... both mine and my MI friends. That all helps.

In short (or long as my post might be) it is tough. I think we all handle it in the best way that we can. Sometimes I think I am doing fine and then I find out that I am really not. Sometimes I feel good about the communication that I am keeping up and others I do not (like the last two weeks). I hope that I am some support to mom but it is hard not being there physically.

I certainly feel for your situation and identify with your concerns. This is a rough situation to put it mildly.

Hang in there.

Prayers for you, your dad and your family.

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I know what you're feeling. I live 1,000 miles from where Dad lived. Thank goodness I had understanding employers, a supportive husband, and finances that allowed me to make one trip a month and spend several days. Dad was being cared for very well by a wife who loved him, but I wanted to be there as much for me as for him. I was there for diagnosis and for all the major medical events, and I will always be grateful for that.

I don't feel guilty about not being there every day because I know Dad was okay with it. He understood, knew he was loved, and didn't feel abandoned. It's hard to explain, but I feel like I missed something precious by not being a part of the day-to-day care, by not being there when he died.

The worst part was when he reached the point where he couldn't speak clearly and his hearing was almost gone, so telephone wasn't even a way to reach him. I kept telling my stepmother to let Dad know that even though we weren't there, we weren't just going on like it wasn't happening. He was in my heart and thoughts all day every day.

Minnie, I know you're struggling with your situation. I hesitate to say anything because it's certainly none of my business, but if you have a viable option of being with your mother, you might want to seriously consider that. It was not an option for me because of children and commitments, and I have many, many regrets -- or maybe more like longings for things I wished I'd been able to share with Dad. Listen to your heart, and you'll know the answer. Don't be motivated by guilt or what someone else thinks or says. Do what is right for you -- either staying or going. But don't ignore the urgings of your heart either way. Unfortunately, you don't get "do-overs." It will be important later that you are at peace with your choice.

Curtis wrote once that after Becky died he realized that his life was less stressful but that he missed being in the "fight." Now I know what he meant. For 8 months every day was committed to researching, praying, trying to make sure everything was being done right, trying to find ways to help Dad. My first day back at work after Dad died, I had the feeling I was forgetting something. I kept checking to make sure I had my purse, car keys, lunch, and then I realized that I wasn't carrying Dad anymore. I wasn't carrying the burden of lung cancer anymore. It hurt.

Sorry for rambling. Hope I didn't say anything wrong.


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