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Dad has bowel cancer diagnosis, I am a new first time mum

(10 Posts)
Shopgirl58 Thu 09-Jan-14 14:23:44

Dd is 5mths old. My dad was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer when she was 12wks. It is terminal, he has had two rounds of high dose chemo so far and currently in hospital with infection and high temp. No idea on prognosis re timescales. Is anyone in same boat? I am struggling with staying upbeat while also raising my wonderful baby (who luckily is an "easy" baby!).

chocoluvva Thu 09-Jan-14 22:05:17

You have my utmost sympathy. sad

My mum was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer too. I googled - length of survival is usually predicted to be 6-24 months. My DM lived for 13 months after her diagnosis.

The medics are usually very reluctant to advise on timescales.

However, it must depend a lot on how much the tumour has spread - my DM had spots of it in her liver and lungs. She had six rounds of chemo and was okay - though quite delicate - for about four months. She then had two sessions of radiotherapy on a tumour that had appeared on her head. She took increasing amounts of morphine for about for three months before she died. We managed to keep her at home until the final week of her life.

You have such a lot on your plate with a tiny baby and your dad's illness. The macmillan nurses will be happy to talk to you about your concerns.

How is your dad coping?

I have name changed as new to MN and first name chosen hastily. I am OP.
My dad was a very fit and healthy man until two months ago. Had no signs of any illness until a stomach ache when my dd was 8wks old. So it was a huge shock for him and us. Due to his high level of fitness and general stoic nature anyway he has started on very high dose. But it is too hard, he slept for a month solid over Christmas and New Year. Now in hospital. He is bearing up well in his spirits and joking away.
I am so sad. I don't show him my sadness though.

Oh and it is already spread to his liver. No morphine, only co-coda mol. Very hard to see him in pain.

chocoluvva Fri 10-Jan-14 08:46:25

I know what you mean about the difficulty of seeing a loved one in pain. It's very upsetting. My understanding is that the medics hold off on giving the strongest pain relief for as long as possible because of the side effects, but your DF should not have to endure pain at this stage in his life.

I think it's probably okay to acknowledge your sadness sometimes - your dad will know that you're sad.

And you will probably get used to the idea of this being the final chapter of your dad's life. So difficult for you with a little baby though sad

In a way your dad has been freed from many of the cares of everyday life before his death. Grab any moments of humour, tenderness, fond memories with him - don't look ahead just now.

Have you met his macmillan nurse?

Thank you for sharing your experience and sorry you have had to go through it. It helps to know some of the nitty gritty from someone who has been there. I have avoided google as too scared.
I keep imploring him to get in touch with Macmillan but the stubborn beggar won't as he doesn't identify himself as a cancer patient! Ooh he's a character my dad! But he is receiving excellent care. I had a bad day yesterday, the sadness took over. Today I will focus on being strong again.

chocoluvva Fri 10-Jan-14 10:39:40

I'm so glad he's getting good care.

There's probably no 'best' way to get through a time like this, especially with the demands of a little baby. Be kind to yourself - do whatever you need to. Don't feel guilty about the days when the sadness is 'getting the better of you' - it's bound to from time to time.

Ooh it's difficult when they're "stubborn"! I remember my DM telling the doctor she was in a little bit of discomfort after she had been experiencing horrendous pain. She was determined to avoid morphine for as long as possible, aware of its side effects and feeling that it would be the beginning of the end.

I expect your dad doesn't want to put anyone to any bother? - even though it's their job to 'bother'. Sigh

It's hard to respect the patient's right to do things their way when you feel they're perhaps making things harder for themselves and treading the line between acting on their behalf and interfering.

I hope this doesn't sound crass.... but I used to worry that my mum would have years of Alzheimer's before she died (family history) and I'd not be able to be there for her (living a long way from her). I felt the cancer, though horrible, had spared her a long drawn-out demise. It's an ill wind and all that...

jessisinthegarden Fri 10-Jan-14 14:49:04

Hi, I am so very sorry you have to go through this - my DD is almost 6 and the light of her granddad's life, so I can't begin to imagine how hard this is for you all.
I think chocaluvva's advice is very sound - grab all those moments of lightheartedness, humour and love that you can now.
Take loads of pictures of your dad with his new granddaughter, so she can look at them some day.
I hope this doesn't sound crass hmm
Sending lots of positive vibes.

To update you all, my dad is coming out of hospital tonight looking more healthy than when he went in. He is determined to stay positive so I am doing the same. Thank you for your support x

ajandjjmum Mon 13-Jan-14 17:29:03

Hope he keeps well for a long as possible - and that you are able to have lots of good times with him and your DD.

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