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I Am So Blessed I Could Say Goodbye :)

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Hello everyone, I am new here and hoping this site will help me understand what comes next.

My Dad passed away of pancreatic cancer on October 12 of this year, at 64. He was diagnosed as Stage 1 in November 2010 and had the Whipple procedure done on January 31, 2011. Normally the whipple procedure is done immediately upon diagnosis, followed by Chemo. But, because my dad only had 80% benefits coverage, he agreed to become part of a test group that would cover the costs of all his meds. This put him taking a chemo pill first and surgery later. I believe this is what caused his death. By the time surgery happened they found cancer cells in one of his lymph nodes.

After surgery dad never really recovered. We had another big scare when he was hospitalized in February for 5 weeks. The next 7 months were one problem after another, with my dad never really gaining any weight or getting back any strength. We had met people who had had the Whipple procedure done and were basically back to normal within 5 weeks so we couldn't understand what was wrong. On August 19, 2011 my dad was back in Emerg. with what he thought was the flu. He never came home again. It was determined that dad had a bowel obstruction. After ultrasounds, CT scans, and fluid testing, they told us the bad news 2 weeks later. Dad had a complete bowel obstruction, with a collapse of his lower bowel, caused by a large tumour. The scans also showed that his intestines were full of tumours, too many to treat. He was terminal.

Dad was eventually moved to a Palliative Care ward, where he spent his remaining weeks. He quickly came to peace with his 'sentence' and frequently used the words 'no regrets'. He had had a good life and felt that he had not missed out on anything. He was ready, not willing, but ready to die. He was SO strong! My one brother and I both lived some distance away so we both took leaves from work to spend time with dad. My other brother conveniently worked at the hospital dad was in, and my sister took time from school. I will always be thankful for those last 6 weeks. Everything that had ever gone unsaid was said, apologies were made, thankful moments were shared, and TONS of memories were re-lived. I got to ask my dad questions I had never known the answer to, and know him as I never had. My dad got to plan his funeral/memorial they way he wanted it. It's not often that someone can do that! When Dad finally passed that Wednesday evening we were all there.

It has been difficult since my dad died. The hardest was the first week. After spending every waking moment at the hospital for weeks, I woke up on Thursday with an empty feeling because I had nothing to do and nowhere to go. Since then, life has gotten somewhat back to normal but the simplest things can set me off again. My dad is the first REAL death I have experienced, and I'm 43. Prior to him our family had lost great-aunts and uncles, and great-grandparents, but my dad was the first 'close-to-home' death. It still makes me angry that it was my introduction to death, and I don't know what comes next as far as emotions and healing.

I am really hoping that reading the posts on this site will help me to see how people grieve differently, and show me that what I go through day-to-day is normal. I want to stop feeling guilty when I don't cry, or when I laugh at (what I think are) inappropriate times. Thank you for letting me share.

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HI there. I am so sorry for your loss. YOur story mirrors my own, even down to the loss of routine. I was part of my father's care, my mother and I both took care of him, in hospice. Pancreatic cancer is so lethal, I am so sorry, your poor father had to endure this. It does sound however, like he was a source of great strength and inspiration for you. I know, there is very little that I can say, that can ease, your pain, and your emptiness. Know, however, that you are not alone in your struggles. If you would like to correspond, my email is pmpupdamike@yahoo.com. I lost my dad 9/28 and yes, it does feel like yesterday. I am still grieving, and in the process of seeking resolution. I like reading everyone's stories here, as they serve as lessons, and reminders that I am not alone, despite my feeling so. I hope you continue to seek peace, and healing. I am a good pen pal, if you have the time and need to talk.

Be Well


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