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My Dad Has Pancreatic Cancer And I Hate It!

Just before Christmas we found out that my 70 year old father has pancreatic cancer. It is now February and while it hasn't spread, it seems that almost everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. The first stent they put in to help the pancreas drain bile to the intestines collapsed so he had to have a double stent put in .Then the hospital messed up and he had to start chemo a week after he started radiation. After two weeks of chemo and radiation, his gallbladder developed an abscess and perforated. They didn't want to operate so they installed an external drain. He had to stop chemo and radiation.  After a week, they decided he was well enough to continue with his radiation treatments but  he couldn't continue with the chemo while his gallbladder was acting up. After another week, a hernia he's had for 18 months flared up and became excruciatingly painful. They stopped his radiation treatments for 2 days while they figured out how to address the hernia. They decided to 'truss' it. All these delays are so frustrating .....and scary. I just want him to get his treatments. We are hoping that the tumour will shrink enough so that he can have the 'Whipple'. The diagnosis was horrible and this type of cancer has a horrible prognosis but we were/are hopeful that my Dad had a chance. He may be 70 yrs old but he's in extremely good health _ besides this cancer. He is active and doesn't suffer from any of the common diseases that many people his age seem to have -  no high blood pressure, bad cholesterol only slightly elevated, no diabetes or heart disease. He doesn't even have arthritis. I know the outcome of this cancer is poor, that 75% of those diagnosed will die within the first year, but I was hoping that we might have a chance. Now I just don't know anymore. I want to be positive but it's so difficult - especially with all the missteps and delays.  I'm so mad - and so incredibly scared. I'm not ready to lose him yet. My parents divorced 33 years ago when I was 9. I saw my Dad regularly but not nearly as much as I wanted to see him. He remarried when I was 12 and my step mother is difficult to get along with. Even her own kids don't like her and have urged my Dad to divorce her - but he won't. I'm trying to let this be about him. It's his journey.  I want him to do whatever makes him feel the most comfortable. Unfortunately | didn't envision that my siblings and I would be left out of so much. I'm not sure if he's trying to protect us or shield us from her (like he always has) but whatever his motivation - we're not being allowed to participate. He lives about 2 hours away from my sister, brother and I. We are willing to make the trip but every time we have made plans to do so, something happens like his gallbladder or hernia. I wanted to make the most of the time we have left but that's not really happening. He doesn't like talking on the phone much but we do text and email daily. At his urging I bought a new laptop so we could video chat but he didn't like the fact that his wife could listen in on our conversations. I'm frustrated and if I'm completely honest - I am a little mad at him. He has always told us that he regrets not fighting his wife more where we were concerned, so that we could have spent more time together.  I don't know. It's so complicated. I'm trying to support his decisions but I feel so conflicted. I don't know how to handle this. I don't want to make him feel bad. I don't want to cause him any extra stress - his alcoholic wife causes enough stress for all of us. So is this it? Is this how the last chapter of our relationship is going to be written? How do I live with this? I just want my daddy. I feel like I'm drowning in emotions. I'm a sad child pining for her Dad. I'm an angry teenager who hates her stepmother. I'm an adult child who just wants to take care of her sick parent. I hate this.
spiritedsoul spiritedsoul 41-45, F 1 Response Feb 24, 2011

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I can feel your pain. My father, too, is 70 and just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this past July. I was totally shocked. He has always been healthy and rarely ever even got a cold. It sucks. The tumor is too big to operate but has shrunk a little thanks to Chemo and Radiation. He is now going through his second bought of Chemo. Your story hit so close to home. Dad has his gallbladder out years and years ago, so no complications from that, but he had an old hemotoma that they thought had been cancer spread to his kidneys. I am the youngest and have always been daddy's little girl. I can't imagine him passing so early in his life.

I pray for your father, I am truly sorry that this has happened to your family. Know that there are others out there and those that are willing to listen. *hugs*