How to get him out again

  • 2 replies
  • 13 subscribers

My father in law was diagnosed with cancer of the Oesophagus late last year. He couldn't eat at all and was tube fed through the nose. He's had his chemo, a huge operation and has been given the all clear and had his 'mop up chemo sessions, The problem is that he doesn't do anything at all. 

He used to be on amphetamines 24/7 until a stroke (TIA) nearly 2 years ago scared him and he stopped drinking, smoking and the speed. He took a while to recover and we moved 400miles away a few months later. Not long after he moved in with us, he got his diagnoses maybe a month later and I did everything for him, he just laid on my sofa all day and night, despite having a room for him. Eventually he got a bungalow and now has had all his treatment and is in the clear. 


He doesn't move, he lays on his sofa with the curtains shut, all day and all night, he has no cooker and usually just eats handfuls of cheese and ham etc. from the fridge. I've made many efforts to sort him a cooker but he doesn't want to cook, he has a bald spot on the back of his head from laying down constantly. I'm pretty sure the problem is that he thinks he is still very unwell but actually he is just 67 and not on amphetamine and drink etc. 

I am having trouble helping my parter with this because despite me looking after him, I find him a rude and generally nasty man. My partner is devasted that his once energetic, full of chat dad that was in and out at all hours now never leaves the house or the sofa without an absolute need to go.

How are we supposed to get him to see that this is him now and he just needs to get himself up and going again or he'll never feel better. I'm not trying to get him to run a marathon, but opening his curtains everyday and maybe a walk to the local shop for the paper would be a huge difference 

Any advice would be amazing. Thank you 

  • Hi Kickupthebum

    It’s great to hear that your father-in-law has finished his treatment and has been given the ‘all clear’.  I can hear how concerned you are, though, about his current lifestyle.

    The ‘after treatment’ period can be challenging in various ways, and it may be that this is what is affecting him.  Many people can find the adjustment back to day-to-day life hard, especially when those around them feel everything should be back to normal while they themselves feel far from normal. 

    You can find further information in the After treatment section of our website. You many also find it useful to have a look at some of the booklets that Macmillan produces including

    What to do after cancer treatment ends: 10 top tips

    Life after cancer treatment booklet

    Your feelings after cancer treatment

    These may help you or your partner to start a conversation with him about how his father may be feeling.

    It sounds as though he’s been through a lot of change over the past few years, with his health, moving home and area, and giving up some lifestyle choices.  No doubt it’s affected you both dealing with all this too.

    Do you know if he has spoken to anyone at all while he’s been going through his cancer treatment?  Please do let him know that our support team are here 8am until 8pm every day on 0808 808 0000 or you can chat with us online here. We’re still here for him and for both of you and other his loved ones and friends to provide any further emotional and practical support.

    Yvonne, Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, I will have a look through the information you've provided.

    Thank you