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Pancreatic Cancer

Posted by @andyd in Cancer, Sep 3, 2012

My dad was diagnosed two weeks ago with pancreatic cancer. The main symptom that brought him to the hospital was fluid buildup in the abdomen. Lab tests of the fluid indicated the likely presence of cancer and followup scopes confirmed that. The doctor declared it inoperable and likely having started in the pancreas (though not 100% sure?).
He had one round of chemo. The oncologist determined that further chemo wouldn't help. So, he's now in hospice. Not eating. Drinking little. Getting weak.
A family member declared that he should have an IV for nutrition. Which opened up doubt. So, now I'm wondering if we were right in just going along with everything the doctors and hospice said to do. Are we doing all we can for my dad?? Is it right that he should be in hospice, or should we have challenged things along the way somewhere??

Tags: Cancer, pancreatic cancer, hospice, inoperable


Posted by @bettyann, Sep 3, 2012

Dear Andy,
Please forget about what that family member said about what 'should' have taken place. In the first place, no one KNOWS if that would have prolonged his life even by a few hours.
It sounds as if this family member is the one who truly has a 'problem' with facing death... not the rest of you. I do not say that out of disrespect, but what I feel to be the truth.
Andy, I also don't mean to tell anyone 'what to believe'... but I will share with you what I firmly believe. The soul of your father chooses his own time of when he makes his transition. Some people say 'god does'...but I believe God is IN everyone and everything and not a separate entity. Neither you nor anyone else will determine when he dies....if anyone has had a 'hand in it.' it is because your father's soul/higher consciousness has gone along with that....
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and difficult to deal with. To me, he definately belongs in hospice where they will be able to help him deal with what otherwise would be intolerable pain. BLESS YOU ALL for doing what was best for him. Any other 'guilt' is totally self imposed and DOES NOT come from the Loving Spirit of which we are made.
Perhaps soon, no one knows when, your father will re-emerge into total Love and feel WONDERFUL again. Just TRUST you have all done the right thing. I'm sure your father agrees, if he can express that or not.
Much love, understanding, and peace to all of you.

VickyLinda and mouser like this

Posted by @andyd, Sep 4, 2012

Thank you for your kind response, Bettyann. Perhaps I have reached a point in my journey through this experience where doubt settles in. I was awake at night asking myself if we are doing the right thing. The doubt led me to the Mayo page... thinking perhaps we should have taken him there... perhaps it's the drugs, more than the disease putting him in this condition... perhaps it's a total misdiagnosis... all this was going through my mind.

The doctors diagnosed this terrible disease and I am, perhaps selfishly, thinking I don't want to let him go. Dad is 79, but I had ideas that he'd be with us another ten years or so (just as a round number). There's still so much more to do... with my mom, his kids, his grandchildren.

Dad is strongly guided by his faith and has accepted the disease with grace and honor. He understands what is around the corner. He's been spending conscious time with us relaying his last wishes and conveying what life is really all about for him. It's hard for all of us, to try to get a handle on this when there is so little we can control. Dad's bravery (and Mom's) is carrying all of us. He's being the leader that he always was...



Posted by @bettyann, Sep 4, 2012

You all sound like a most wonderful and amazing family!! Just please know all is well. It really is. I know it can be SO difficult to Let Go of a situation... but it doesn't sound to me as if any of you will 'really' be are so close.
One of the hardest things to do is to Let Go in your mind....and wish him whatever HE chooses. I have worked with a number of dying patients who seem to patiently wait for the loved ones to Let Him or her go... that is a TRUE act of love. Unconditional Love.
A Chaplain from Swedish Hospital (Denver) told of a man who was dying (hospital room) and he had been surrounded by loving but grieving family...some of whom were saying "Please, Dad, don't leave us" ... Finally, at the suggestion of the Chaplain, they all left and went to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. Only a few minutes passed before the old gent took a big sigh and left his body....feeling free to go. My own mother died within several minutes after I left her hosp. room to make a phone call to my Aunt.
The Chaplain taught our class many valuable lessons, and that was one of the most memorable. Letting Go with Love. Just keep (silently or outloud) wishing your father well and a wonderful time ahead... That kind of love will be so healing to everyone.
Bless and love you all.

mouser likes this

Posted by @mouser, Sep 11, 2012

There are many books written by hospice nurses who say that the dying choose when they go. If they passed away when you weren't there it's because they didn't want you there or that they wanted to spare you the trauma of being there- that they thought you wouldn't be strong enough to deal with it. Listen to BettyAnn here. She is right on.


Posted by @mouser, Sep 10, 2012

That is really a matter of opinion., that is right and wrong.
The facts though are this, and I speak from experience- both with many of my own patients and with my own experience with cancer;
The cancer is terminal. Providing nutrition will prolong his life, and his pain. The answer to the question comes from answering this- Is providing him the nutrition and thus prolonging his life and his pain for his benefit, or the family member that is having difficulty letting go? If it were my dad, I would make him as comfortable as possible, and not do anything that would sustain his pain.

VickyLinda likes this

Posted by @done, Sep 12, 2012

If you do nothing, it is best, I too have pancreatic cancer. I have put my house in order,. and try to visit with my children as often as possible,, the journey has to be,, spirituality is the best now. with lots of love .Take care and my best to you. leila.

VickyLinda likes this

Posted by @chey1enne, Sep 16, 2012

Andy the best thing u could do now is love him talk about the past and forgive him if there is anything. And tell him everything so u never look back with any. Couldas shouldas or I wish I would have told him that. I hope that helps friend Chey1

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