Don't know how to help

Discussion in 'Coping and Compassion' started by sam_gordon, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

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    I live in KY
    My sister lives in IN
    My parents are in FL
    His sisters are in NV and CA

    In April, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. A lot happened since then that I won't go into detail right now, but he had his first chemo three weeks ago. Two weeks ago, he couldn't catch his breath, my mom called 911 and had him taken to the hospital. We could tell through text messages that she was overwhelmed. I flew down the next day to do what I can.

    They moved him from the local hospital to Moffit in Tampa. My mom and I sat with him every day, driving back and forth (they live in Poinciana). I found out then the cancer was Stage 4 (mom and dad knew in April but elected not to tell us kids) and had mestasised to the brain. They started his radiation, and added some to the lungs (was supposed to start the day he went into the local hospital), tried a broncoscopy, but couldn't do much. They suggested waiting for the radiation treatments to finish and they'll try another broncoscopy in a couple weeks. My mom told me to fly back home, so I bought my ticket for this past Saturday (I was there for a week) and of course they release him that day.

    Mom had trouble taking care of him at home and arranged for a nurse to come help. While he's had good days and bad days this week, now mom is saying he is being rude and mean to the nurses. One supposedly said she doesn't know if she's willing to come back and she feels sorry for my mom.

    Mom has said he has episodes (maybe 1-2 over the last 10 years) where he's been mean (verbally) to her in the past, and I actually saw one while we were in the hospital. But they're apparently getting more frequent. From what I can tell, this is not unusual for cancer patients, and can also be brought on by the radiation.

    Mom's sister is supposed to go for a visit in a couple weeks. I don't know what to do.

    Adding to the mix is we created a group text while he was in the hospital. His sisters, mom's sister, me, my sister, and our spouses. Mom is updating us about his "mean streak" and one of his sisters responds to everything, trying to offer suggestions "tell him he can't act like that" (that helps a lot </sarcasm>). I'm regretting setting up the group text, but it made sense at the time.

    Anyway, I don't know what to do to help. I told Mom to find a support group in their community (they're in a retirement community), but I don't know if she'll go or not.

    Part of me wants to go back down there, but I have work and family commitments here. I don't know that I'd be any help.

    If you've read this far, thank you. If you have any suggestions on what to say/do, even more thanks. DW & I have talked (naturally), but we're not the ones directly affected (Dad's the one who's sick, mom is the one caring for him).

    I just don't know what to do.
     
  2. Christine

    Christine Would love to be able to sit on

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    Sorry, I don't have any suggestions but I'm really sorry your family is going through this. Cancer really is awful and when the brain is affected, there's the personality changes. Hang in there. There's not a lot you can really do from afar which is stressful in its own right.
     
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  4. mommasita

    mommasita DIS VETERAN Moderator

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    I definitely did read your entire post.

    I’m so sorry for everything you and your family are going through. Being so far apart certainly adds to everything.

    The support group certainly sounds like a good idea, if your Mom would be willing, as you mentioned.

    I wish I could say something to ease your mind, sending good thoughts, and if you need a place to let it out, feel free
     
  5. Lynne M

    Lynne M Moderator Moderator

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    I suspect that the personality changes are caused by the brain metastases more than the radiation. I've heard of similar things happening with people who have primary brain tumors. Or perhaps he's just having trouble dealing with all of this emotionally, and it's coming out as anger. I think anyone would be angry/upset/frustrated/lashing out in his situation.

    I'm so sorry. I don't really have any suggestions other than to ask his doctor(s) what they think is causing the personality changes, and if anything can be done.
     
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  6. KidaniZen

    KidaniZen 'Asante sana squash banana!'

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    I'm sorry this is happening to your family. I don't have any advice but wanted to offer a :hug:.
     
  7. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

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    Thank you all.

    He's finished his radiation treatments, but got admitted to the hospital for dehydration. Mom says she keeps pushing him to eat/drink, but he fights her on it. Supposed to have a chemo treatment today. Mom's sister is supposed to be down on Sunday, so we'll see if she can lend a hand. It's a "one day at a time" and sometimes "one hour at a time" situation. :(
     
  8. mommasita

    mommasita DIS VETERAN Moderator

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    Just checking in on Dad, and everyone else of course :)
     
  9. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

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    Unfortunately he passed away two weeks ago. The family is back in Fl for a Celebration of Life today.

    Family is enjoying being around each other, but as Mom keeps sayin “it’s for the wrong reason”
     
  10. mommasita

    mommasita DIS VETERAN Moderator

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    I’m terribly sorry.
    Your Mother is very right about that. Thinking of your entire family.
     
  11. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

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    Thank you
     
  12. ronandannette

    ronandannette I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!

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    Hey @sam_gordon I don't browse this board very often and just saw your post. Sincere condolences to you and your family. You had an impossibly tough situation on your hands and I hope you don't second-guess your actions. Many of us have been through similar and know that at a certain point, all the choices are bad; you do the best you can. Grace and peace to you all. :flower3:
     
  13. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for your kind words
     
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