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Elderly Father's Cancer


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I suffer from severe anxiety and depression. In April my elderly parents returned from Florida and within a two week period my mother had collapsed vertebrae and my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. My mother has made an amazing recovery for which I am very thankful. My dad who is 88 has just finished his radiation treatments and is not doing well. My stress levels are through the ceiling. The outlook for my dad is not good. I am in my fifities but no mater the age its still a parent. Any suggestions for coping would be appreciated.

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Benji, I'm sorry to hear about your dad. You're right -- no matter what age you are, losing a parent is not easy.

My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of June last year, and the entire time she was ill, my stress levels were through the roof. I too suffer from anxiety and depression, which seemed to just make everything that much worse.

Spend time with your dad if you can and enjoy each other. While my mom was sick, we refused to admit that she might not make it through and we never discussed that option. Looking back, I wish we had. I wish I would have talked to her more about how she was dealing with everything (the cancer, the radiation, the chemo) and how she was feeling emotionally.

Please keep us posted on his progress and how you're doing.

Erin

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Dear Benji,

I'm so sorry to learn of your father's serious illness, and I agree with you completely ~ no matter what their ages, our parents are still very precious to us, and they are irreplaceable. You've asked for suggestions for coping, and I want to point you to an article that I hope will offer you some useful information and some helpful ideas: Anticipatory Grief and Mourning. You'll also find links to dozens of helpful resources on the Care Giving page of my Grief Healing website. (Pay special attention to those addressing cancer care.)

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I am so sorry to hear about your father's illness. The realization of possibly losing a parent is one of the most difficult things we can go through, no matter the age. The best advice I can give is to spend as much time with your dad as possible. Nobody ever regrets the time that they did spend with one they've lost, but many regret the time that they didn't spend with them. Also, as hard as it may be, you may begin to think about possible funeral arrangements. Whether or not you have that sort of conversation with your dad is up to you. However, some people find that gathering information, even if it is just for themselves, can put their mind more at ease. It can give them a bit of control over a situation that seems totally out of their control. For others, this is not a step that they are comfortable taking.

Again, I'm sorry to hear about your dad, and I hope that this helps.

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