Hey Dad, remember when I would come home from spring break and you would take your lunch break with me and watch reruns on MTV with me…and we would go check out lighthouses in NH, antiques in Essex and walk around Salem pretending to be tourists. Those were the best spring breaks! xoxo
I’m a bit at loss for words, only because I’m not sure exactly what to say other than, that sucks.
I’m so sorry for your father’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. No one ever wants to hear those words come from their oncologist. At this point, there’s still hope to enjoy whatever time is left. Hold onto that hope for as long as possible.
Has he received a second opinion? Will he be able to start chemo soon or join an experimental study? Feel free to share as much or as little as you want about what you know thus far.
The best advice anyone gave me after my Dad’s diagnosis was “every day is a new normal.” I still hold that mantra today because it’s true. I feel like you never know what to expect when it comes to cancer — there are so many variables and everyday is truly a new normal and the best way to deal with it is roll with each punch because sometimes there are really great punches…and your Dad is going to need to see you smile. (but also don’t be afraid to let him see you cry)
Two books that I read this past year that really helped me were “The End of Your Life Book Club” by Will Schwalbe and “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion. They’re tough books to read, but they’re two books that I found most close to my own thought process. Schwalbe’s book is about a man whose mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and its their two year journey through chemo, family events and all the books they read/discussed in their informal book club. It’s more a book about books and what you can learn from books, than it is about death and cancer — but its inspiring and also helped me put things into perspective. Didion’s book is a more emotionally raw book because it’s about a wife and her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack. You may want to hold off on this book, but the author did a lot of research on the grieving process and discussed the year following his death and “the magical thinking” you’re allowed.
And what I relied on the most were my friends, family and boyfriend. As cliche as it is, they were my support network and I let myself fall into it. I was lucky and was able to get my job transferred from DC to Boston so I could help drive my Dad to the hospital for treatments and so I could be near my Mom, Sister and extended family. I had cousins that visited the hospital often, sometimes to see my Dad and other times to hang out with my mom, my sister and me because when you spend 24+ hours in a hospital you get a little stir crazy. I also reached out to friends and asked for help when I needed it…and had friends that reached out to me even when I didn’t ask for it. I also sought out a professional therapist who I still see. They may offer you a social worker at the hospital, but I thought the one at the hospital was lame and found my own. Ha, but there’s usually always a social worker available for patients and their family on oncology floors. At least from my experience. I also have kept writing in the blog (dadcore.tumblr.com)…it’s been therapeutic for me, and I’ve been told that it’s been therapeutic for a few family members too.
After saying all of this, I’m not sure if this is helpful or not…and I feel as though any word I can offer you won’t be of comfort. I’m certainly not an expert and I don’t know your whole situation. What I’ve shared with you above, is specific to my situation. But the fight isn’t over until its over, so continue to enjoy every minute you have with your Dad. Even though its not curable, people can live with treatment.
My email is jen.hudon at gmail dot com — please feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns, or just want to send an email full of thoughts that don’t require a response. The process is complicated and you’re right, its a super sucky club to be a part of. Please don’t be a stranger.
Sending you lots of hugs and even more hope!
OH MY GOD IT'S NOT CLASSIC ROCK IT'S DADCORE YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND
You would have hated this winter.