Cancer. Family members of victims, let's talk

It’s been a month since my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. All cancers are insidious, but stomach cancer is extremely sly, you won’t suspect it until it has consumed a great part of health.

Since the results, it has been the loneliest, most morale destroying time of my life. I can only imagine how it must be for my dad. And when I do imagine it, I get sucked deeper into despair.

If you are a family member of a cancer victim–and I refer here as 'victim’ to those that continue having the illness and those that have survived it, because cancer does not come and go in an instant, it lingers–I would like to have a conversation, perhaps to make myself feel better, but mostly because I want advice. I feel impotent, what little I do to help feels like it is not enough, and I’m being told it is not enough by others. What can I do to help him?

*If you are a cancer victim, what do you wish others would do for you? *
What did others do for you that helped?

So sorry to hear about your father.

I was diagnosed with lymphoma ten years ago. I went through four cycles of chemotherapy and luckily the treatment was successful.

It was a very frightening time for me. But even as I was going through chemo, there were also some good days and some positive memories I can take away from it.

So the advice I’d give for you to help your father is to help him have those good days any way you can. Seize the opportunity to be happy with him, as crazy as that sounds. As a cancer patient, there are no shortage of things to bring you down. Friends and family can help be bringing the outside world. The fun stuff. The happy stuff.

Being happy is one of the most important forms of strength that cancer patients need. Even for a moment, when you are happy, you’re winning and the cancer is losing. In that moment you are not its victim.

That said, there are times on chemotherapy when you feel completely exhausted and even having a conversation can be tough. Then it can help to give people space, and maybe company if they want it, without even the need to talk.

I hope your father’s treatment is successful, and I hope you take care of yourself too. I know how tough it can be for friends and family.

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The best thing you can do is be there for them. Support them in what ways you can, and be their advocate when they are weak and fatigued.

Within the last month, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, so I completely understand the feeling. Things move so quickly yet so slowly at the same time.

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I’m sorry about the news… I can’t imagine ever hearing something like that about my parents…

But my grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer a few years ago. It was stage 3 when it was found. When I heard the news, it was horrible. I’ve never seen anyone go through cancer before… I only knew what I knew from films and media, and it never ended well… But somehow, my grandmother was declared cancer free within 2 years (having gone through a few rounds of chemotherapy and an operation). It wasn’t easy, but against a lot of odds, she was okay.

I guess I just want you to know that no matter what, there’s always hope. Different people react differently to treatments, and may feel differently emotionally throughout the process. For me seeing my grandmother going through it, I feel like positivity made a difference. It’s sometimes difficult to be positive, especially if it’s advanced… But she wasn’t just a statistic, and neither is your father.

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@grahambower, @MakaylaSophia, @OConnellElaine

Thank you for sharing your stories and your advice. :slightly_smiling_face:
It gives me hope to hear that people can survive this illness.

At the moment I live far from him and don’t have a job to assist him financially, so I don’t feel like I’m as helpful as I should be as a daughter.

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Treatments are getting better all the time. More and more people are surviving. There is hope.

Life is short, fragile and precious. If cancer gives us one thing, it reminds us of that. To make the most of the time we have.

I suspect you support your dad way more than you realize already, just by being there for him.