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Sudden cancer diagnosis for my Dad

(15 Posts)
MountainDweller Fri 21-Apr-17 21:40:58

My Dad was admitted to hospital a week ago with severe pain in his side. He's had a lot of scans and blood tests which have revealed liver issues, a shadow on his lung and a broken rib. The doctors are pretty sure it is an aggressive cancer but don't know where the primary source is. His platelet count is low and has dropped since his admission (in fact he was due to go home today but was kept in at the last minute because of this). He has a lot of fluid on his stomach and leg which they are going to drain. He's had a biopsy on a lymph node but they didn't want to biopsy the liver as there is a big risk of a bleed due to the low platelets. I think they are speculating that it's a bone or blood cancer, which seems logical to me as otherwise I would think they would have seen a primary tumour on the scans. He'll get the biopsy results on Tuesday.

This is all a huge shock as he's only 70 and has been in good health until now apart from being overweight - in fact he was due to have a hip replacement at the end of this month and had the pre-op a couple of weeks ago when everything seemed fine.

I've actually only found out today as I'm not in the UK and he didn't want me to worry about him. My brother has seen him a fair bit and thinks he's deteriorating. My sister said that he struggled to get through a phone conversation with her as he was so breathless. He's been moved to a private room (in haematology) tonight, because of the deterioration according to my brother.

I know nobody can tell me what will happen but I guess I'm posting to see if anyone has gone through something similar, and what the outcome was? My brother will keep me posted but I'm trying to weigh up whether I should go there as soon as possible or if I can wait until they get the biopsy results. It's a short flight away but my own health is not great. They are giving him platelets tonight and draining the fluid - is that likely to stabilise him?

Thanks for any help.

beansbananas Fri 21-Apr-17 22:34:37

I'm so sorry to hear about your poor father. My father was diagnosed with terminal
Cancer after complaining about a sore back. It was so sudden and unexpected, and he was only 60 at the time. He was told he was looking at weeks, but has somehow managed to keep going for nearly 18 months. He is extremely weak now, but I have been amazed what determination he has to live. Through all the heartbreaking scares and the ups and downs of watching someone you love experience so much pain, and have to come to terms with a terminal diagnosis, it has also brought my family together and made us closer. I think that when you share memories and laugh about the silly things from the past, it is very cathartic for everyone. So don't be afraid to talk and laugh and try to find moments of happiness over the coming days and weeks. The hospice and Macmillan are also an amazing source of support and advice, so please do talk to them. Cancer is so devastating, but you will muddle through it together, and that will be a wonderful support to your father. Thinking of you and your family.

MountainDweller Fri 21-Apr-17 23:24:27

Thank you for replying beansbananas and for sharing your father's amazing story. How wonderful that he has survived so long and that you have been able to make the most of that 'extra' time. The suddenness is such a shock, isn't it? I am happy to know that my father's family is rallying around him, though I'm sad that I'm not there at the moment, but I will be. I think my Dad is strong like yours, he has rarely been ill and will certainly fight this... he was well and enjoying life, still working part time, had just thrown a big party for my step mother's 70th. I can hardly believe it's him in that hospital bed.

I wish you and your father the very best.

MountainDweller Sun 23-Apr-17 00:16:22

My brother messaged this morning to say my Dad had a bad night, was very agitated and kept trying to sit up and get out of bed. So I flew over this afternoon. He's on heavier pain meds now and is sedated. Although the doctors are saying they still don't know exactly what the cancer is, it's very aggressive and nothing can be done to treat him.

I feel terrible that he has obviously been soldiering on for months and not said anything. He said I wasn't to be told until they knew what was wrong with him and his wishes were respected until yesterday when my brother really thought they should call me. I feel like I missed my chance to say goodbye, I feel like he is already gone. I just can't believe it's him lying there when two weeks ago he was at a big party celebrating a relative's 70th.

We are talking to him as the doctors believe he may still be able to hear. He jerks his head sometimes in response to a voice, and it's as if he's going to say 'hi mountain, when did you get here'. But he doesn't. It's just so sad. I am staying alone at his and my stepmothers house (she is staying at hospital) which is weird because he is everywhere here, yet he'll never be coming back.

And it's strange at the hospital because both my mum and step mum are there, and my sister and half brother. I'm ok with the double family life he lead but it's hard for my mum because she was still with him, she was just sharing him, yet she is taking a back seat to my step mum now (who is really nice and not stereotypically horrid).I'm just so sad. Have done so much crying and not enough eating.

MrsMozart Tue 25-Apr-17 21:28:01

Eat lass. I know it's hard but you need to. Keep talking to your Dad. Remember all the good times. Hugs indeed.

Graceflorrick Tue 25-Apr-17 21:29:41

Thinking of you OP flowers

musicmum75 Tue 25-Apr-17 21:36:36

Something very similar happened to my dad. He had severe back pain for a couple of months which no one could find the cause of. He was eventually admitted to hospital with a very similar diagnosis to your dad - low platelets and a shadow on his kidney. They knew it was some kind of aggressive cancer, probably blood, but they didn't know what.

He deteriorated very quickly. He had lots of blood transfusions and ended up in ICU but he died about two weeks after admission. It came very much out of the blue for all of us. He was only 66. They didn't actually diagnose his cancer until after he died and it turned out to be extremely rare and extremely aggressive.

I don't want to worry you as hopefully it won't be as serious for your dad but it may be best to be prepared just in case.

Orangeseed Tue 25-Apr-17 21:53:52

You have my deepest sympathy. I went through a similar situation a few months ago, so I understand your heartbreak. I had no family for support, so I hope that you take comfort from the fact that you do have loved ones with you.
Also take comfort from the fact that his quality of life up until this short illness has been good and he has for example been to a party recently.
Keep speaking to him, tell him everything that you need to, clear up any lose ends and let him know how loved he is, he might not be answering but he will be listening. Xx

MountainDweller Wed 26-Apr-17 19:21:37

Thank you so much for responding. My father died in the early hours of Sunday morning. I'm so glad I made it in time to see him on Saturday. We knew it was severe but thought he might last a few days, though I wouldn't have wanted him to suffer longer.

I'm very sad and still shocked because it was so sudden and the deterioration at the end was very quick. I'm glad though that he didn't have a long illness as he wouldn't have been a good patient!

musicmum it sounds very similar to what happened to your Dad. Mine was fist admitted to hospital two weeks ago, was sent home once and admitted back two days later. The doctors have put multiple metastatic cancer as the cause of death so that we can register the death but we are still waiting for the biopsy results (I think they take the rush off once the patient is dead sad).

MummaGiles Wed 26-Apr-17 19:28:34

I'm so sorry for your loss OP. I have only just seen your thread, and I hope you are looking after yourself. Take comfort in the fact your dad is no longer in pain and that you got to say goodbye. flowers

musicmum75 Wed 26-Apr-17 22:53:18

I'm so sorry MountainDweller but am glad you saw him before the end. It does indeed all sound very similar.

Sending you hugs and strength for the days ahead. Xxxflowersflowers

MrsMozart Thu 27-Apr-17 09:39:14

I am so sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace, and may you and your family find peace xxx

Surreytimes Thu 27-Apr-17 19:13:27

I'm so so sorry for your loss. I am also very glad you saw him. I AM SURE HE IS SO PROUD OF YOU. Remember the great times you had and be strong as I am sure he would want you to. Take care of yourself

MountainDweller Fri 28-Apr-17 02:21:19

Thank you for the lovely replies.

Surreytimes (are you in Surrey? I am too!) it is weird that you said that because I had a big birthday this year and my Dad wrote me a lovely letter saying that in spite of everything he was very proud of me, and listed the reasons why. And said how important family was to him and how it was a shame he didn't see much of me and DH. I was very touched by it at the time as we've had a difficult relationship at times because he was very demanding and critical, Now of course it means even more to me. I can't help wondering if he knew he was ill when he wrote it. Anyway I called him and thanked him for it and said how moved I was by it. Then we had a normal chat. It was the last time we spoke.

At the hospital I whispered to him that I forgave him for the past. I don't know if he heard but I wanted to try so that I can move on and remember the good parts.

Strokethefurrywall Fri 28-Apr-17 03:26:04

I'm truly sorry for your loss. My younger brother died from a rare form of testicular cancer a few years back and the loss was immense.
We had just over a year from diagnosis to his death so at least had time to come to terms with what was going to happen.

Living overseas as well, I know only too well the urgent flights home and hoping to get there in time.

I'm glad that you were with him in his last few days and am thinking of you at this very difficult and sad time.

Sincere thoughts are with you, I'm so sorry thanks

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