Gullet (oesophagus) cancer

A support group for anyone affected by gullet cancer (also known as oesophageal cancer) to come together, share experiences and ask questions.

My dad has oesophageal cancer

Shortz85
Posted by

Hi, 

we found out on 21st January that my dad has oesophageal cancer which has spread to his liver and lungs. Unfortunately it is in-treatable and have given him 4-8 months. Since finding out I’ve had 1 day where I broke down and couldn’t stop crying (the day after we found out) since then I have made sure I’m constantly busy so I’m not sitting around thinking about it. Today though I have completely broken down. I’m the oldest out of 3 (34, 31 & 29) and I feel I need to keep strong for my younger siblings and not let them see me this emotional. 
I don’t know where to start with my dad discussing finances etc but this all needs to be in place. 
many advice would be welcome 

thank you 

Nik1988
Posted by

Hi Shortz85,

So sorry to hear about your dad, it must be so hard. I lost my mum from breast cancer 9 months ago, after she was ill for 15 months and I also lost my grandad from oesophageal cancer so I know how difficult it can be. I think I’m similar age to you (31) and also the oldest sibling. I don’t have too much advice for you, other than keeping busy like you’re doing is good. It’s so hard to get the balance right between trying to keep some normality and be there for your dad- I managed to work at home quite a lot which meant I was able to be with my mum and go to her appointments, not sure if that’s an option for you? It helped me cope being part of everything, as hard as it was. I also think trying not to look too much ahead and worry, and just live each day as it comes. That way you don’t live through it all twice. My main thing was to try and keep my mum as positive as possible, as I felt when she was positive (whether or not she really thought it!) everyone else found it easier to cope. She was so positive though, that she never really accepted she was really ill, she never asked for a timeline. As such, none of her finances were in order, meaning sorting things was quite hard but I wouldn’t have had it any other way, that was right for her. Hopefully your dad is coping as well as can be expected and you can get things sorted out, but if not, you will manage when the worst happens I’m sure. We used to try to figure out what my mum wanted by asking her what would happen if she got hit by a bus, rather than specifically mentioning she was so ill from the cancer...even if we all knew what we really meant!

Thinking of you.

Shortz85
Posted by

Thank you for the reply. 
I do sometimes wonder if it’s better knowing how much time you have left or not. But I suppose I won’t know. 
my work are very supportive so luckily I’m managing to attend appointments with him. 
my dad doesn’t want to talk about it a lot of the time but not sure if that’s a good thing or not?! I mean maybe it’s his way of dealing with it all?? 
he has his 1st chemo session a week Monday to try to make him more comfortable. Maybe because it’s all been booked and we have more appointments now it is more real maybe? 
you hear of things like this all the time but just never think in a million years it’s going to be your own. 

its nice to have this forum to read other people’s experience too

Zappaman
Posted by

Hi shortz85, I'm sorry to hear about your dad. He might not be able to talk about anything just now, it's still quite soon after the diagnosis. He will probably be thinking about all sorts of things. If he is a similar age to me, I'm 60 and was diagnosed and had surgery in 2016, I'm sure he will be up and down like a yo-yo with the emotions. Firstly for me it was the realisation that it was me this was happening to, I felt like I was watching a soap. It also brought into focus that we are not immortal and that none of us know when we are going to die. Tomorrow, next week, next month? So I started to be grateful for every day and I am still here and still grateful. Someone said that making plans gives God a good laugh, but we do have to have some rough plans in place. I would try speaking with your siblings and not try to shoulder the burden on your own. Maybe say to your dad that once he is ready to talk you will be there. Good luck and kind regards Frank.

Shortz85
Posted by

Thank you, he will be 62 next week. He lives at home by himself. I try to call him everyday to see how he has been and try to get over there a couple of times a week. 
thank you for the advice 

Zappaman
Posted by

Hi shortz85, I forgot to mention that it's still quite soon, early days since the diagnosis. So it's a shock to everyone and everyone takes time to digest the information and think all sorts of stuff until they can come to terms with the situation. Kind regards Frank.

Gazzamc
Posted by

Hi there 

Im sorry to hear about your dad.

my dad was diagnosed 2 days before Christmas and we have since been told he has 12 months and we are all devastated. I have tried to be strong for him but find myself breaking down thinking of scenarios we will no doubt experience in these next few months. My dad has been the strongest of all of us. He’s a fit man coming up to 69 but I just cannot comprehend him not being around. He has not been poorly up until his first chemo last week which has really knocked him for 6. He had a reaction towards the end of the session which caused breathing difficulties which we were told could happen and has scared him. Talking to my family has really helped as I was bottling things up which was not good.

i hope this has been of some use, your family are everything and I wish you all the best