Overwhelmed

I don't have a question but I feel I need to write something in the hope it may unclutter my brain from the rollercoaster which started in August 2020.  During lockdown v1 I was dropping food supplies to my dad [74] and his wife [64] weekly but of course not going inside the house given they were both shielding so I didn't physically see them other than through the window occasionally.  I got a text one day from my dads wife to say that he wasn't eating properly and hadn't been for a few months now and had lost 3 stone but that he had specifically asked that she didn't tell me as didn't want to worry me.  I wasn't sure what to do with that information at the time but thankfully she followed that text up with another message saying she had told my dad that if he didn't phone the Dr first thing Monday morning that she would tell me everything.  That spurred him to arrange an appointment of course! He went to the Dr, she took some bloods and said he would need an endoscopy for further investigation.  At this point he had to call me because they don't drive and would need me to take them to the hospital.  We attended the endoscopy in early September and the news wasn't good, a mass was blocking the entrance to the stomach from the food pipe hence why he hadn't been able to keep anything down as it wasn't reaching his stomach.  My heart sank and I sobbed walking back to the car knowing this wasn't good. When I drove around to pick them up at the entrance of course I felt I couldn't show my sadness so tried to remain positive on the quiet journey home.  Next was a CT scan followed by a meeting with an Oncologist, it was stage 4 oesophageal cancer, I almost felt my world fall apart as they broke the news.  Dad was so weak and poorly by this point that they admitted him from that appointment where he stayed for 4 days while they fitted a stent to enable him to eat to build some strength back.  Covid rules on the ward were strict, one person for a booked one hour slot per day which was difficult.  We met again with the oncologist, I had lots of questions as I need to know things to process them in my head properly.  They offered palliative chemo to extend his life expectancy even though he was weak and frail and the cancer was going nowhere, she felt that with support from myself and his wife he would manage but would keep a close eye on things of course. Chemo started quickly and Dad was a rock star, always had a little bit of banter for the nurses and seemed to be coping with it really well.  With each treatment it seemed to take a little longer to recover and although he isn't losing weight anymore because the stent is doing its job he is getting frailer by the day which again is soul destroying to watch while trying to remain upbeat and on top of everything! He has chemo every 3 weeks which started in October and the oncologist has approved another bout, its being reviewed this week in fact.  Dad is very much of the thought process that if its helping (which it is as all 4 affected lymph nodes reduced in size from the last CT) he'll keep going until they say no more. The oncologist is great, very direct which I like.  Ultimately its a balance I guess.  On top of all the above happening, his wife, who suffers from COPD was diagnosed with lung cancer just before xmas which had already spread to the lymph nodes and the liver, she is now waiting on a palliative radiotherapy session to try and ease the pain in her chest and allow her to breathe a little easier after which they may offer chemo they may not.  Dads wife was made redundant during lockdown1 and has been caring for my dad since his diagnosis but of course she is just as unwell as he is now and as much as I am doing/offering as much support as I can I feel there aren't enough hours in the day to achieve everything.  I myself work full time, I have 3 children at home (2 are adults) luckily juggling and multitasking and being organised are me in a nutshell and I do feel as though I am managing everything, hospital appointments, dr appointments, arranging bloods ahead of chemo, carers, district nurses, OH, applying for benefits, disabled badges, taking cooked meals over to save my dads wife cooking every day, to name just the things that spring to mind.  Anyway, that's all really and I do feel better for just having written it all down - thank you for listening Slight smile

  • Hi  and welcome to the Macmillan Online Community although sorry that you needed to find us and especially sorry to hear about your dad’s and his wife’s diagnosis. This must be such a hard time for all the family

    A double cancer diagnosis in the family brings many questions, confusion and lots of stress but talking with other people who are walking the same type of journey will help you navigate this rollercoaster.

    The Community is organised into dedicated support groups and I think talking with others caring for family and friends will help you a lot so do check out our Family and friends (I see you have found), Carers only and supporting someone with incurable cancer group groups as you will connect with others walking the same journey supporting family and friends through their cancer journey.

    To join a groups just click on the links above then choose 'click to join' or 'join' (depending on the device you're using) on the page that opens. You can then introduce yourself by putting up a ‘New Thread’ or hit the box with the X on the top right (phones), you could just copy and paste the text from this your first post. You can also join in with existing ‘Discussions’ by clicking on 'reply'. 

    You do t need to do this on your own and its always good to talk and the Macmillan Support Services provides lots of information, support, financial guidance or just a listening ear.

    Most services are open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week and it's free to call on 0808 808 00 00 have a look by Clicking here to see what is available and we also have our Ask an Expert section, but do allow two working days for replies from our expert team.

    ((hugs))

    Mike - Thehighlander

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Thank you for taking the time to reply Slight smile