Grandpa has cancer

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Shannonsparkles, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    I'm not really close with mom's side of the family. I just found out about this tonight. Last I heard before, he had an early kind of bladder cancer, and my Grandma said it was "very treatable." Now Aunt Becca has written me to say that he has thyroid cancer and lung cancer too.

    What can I do for him? What is he feeling like? What are the things you should say and shouldn't say to someone who has cancer? I'm still stunned about this.

    He was a violent man and always gave me the creeps as a child, but there is a side of him that is very good too. I haven't spoken to Grandma since several weeks ago, when the situation with her saying my medical plans would fail and asking why I'm not better yet got too tense for me to handle.

    I trust you guys, and you're the first ones to know. I don't know if I want to get involved with him after being distant (with the creeps) all of these years. But I feel like I should do something because they are my family. It's one of those toxic relationship things. I don't think I can be aloof while he's going through this. But, frankly, I'd rather be distant, to protect myself from the strss. I may not be that important to helping him anyway, because he has friends and relatives in his town.

    Thanks for listening. I'm afraid he will die because he has cancer in more than one place. Does that happen?
    (( )) Shannon
  2. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    This is a tough situation to be in. I really don't have any advice except to protect yourself first. I guess if it were me and just the thought of getting involved with this were too stressful, I would let the family know that I was too sick for the stress of visiting Grandpa but was keeping him in my prayers. If you need to, tell them the doctor doesn't think you should be dealing with overly stressful things for your own health.

    On the other hand, if the thought of not getting involved is more stressful, I would probably pay a very short visit to him. I would just tell him I'm sorry he is sick and he is in my prayers. Then you can let that suffice as paying your respects. I think it's important to think about these things because if he dies, the opportunity is gone. Just don't stress out over what to do. Think about it in terms of what you can handle.

    Sweetie, only you know how you feel about this. Being around him might bring up old scary feelings. Or, seeing him as a sick old man may take away the image you have had all these years and release you from the power he once had to make you afraid.

    Whatever you decide to do, I pray it will turn out well for everyone. My only advice is to put yourself first and don't let anyone in the family say anything to make you feel bad. Walk away from them if you have to. My prayers are with you.

    Love, Mikie
  3. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    I have cancer myself----leukemia, so I may have a unique perspective here.

    I have really appreciated get well cards, and phone calls, from friends and relatives. Your Grandpa may or may not be feeling well enough for a visit----when I first started chemo & lost my hair (and was still kind of in shock from my diagnosis) I really wasn't up for many face-to-face visits. But those cards with truly sincere words and phone calls kept me going; they were my lifeline.

    I had a couple of close friends I never heard from---I found out later that they didn't call because they didn't know what to say---DON'T do that!! You don't have to have anything profound or healing to say----just call, acknowledge the illness, then have a normal conversation. I CRAVED normal conversation, it helped keep me grounded and realize that I was still part of my own & everyone else's world.

    You'll figure out the right thing to do, Shannon, but do have some kind of contact with him. Hope this helps!

    And I'm very sorry about his dx, cancer is never easy.


  4. Windytalker

    Windytalker Member

    When someone faces their mortality, they sometimes change. That doesn't mean your Grandpa will be one of these persons, but it might.

    First and more important, do what "feels" comfortable for you. If you don't want contact, then don't. You protect you.

    Perhaps, like others have suggested, send him a card. One that expresses concern for his health...

    I've had 2 cancer battles and from the sounds of his cancers, he's got a major battle ahead and it's not looking good. His age may also be working against him.

  5. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    was very wise....see him for a short visit before the opportunity disappears forever. You may be stressed, but I think the stress/guilt of not going would be greater.
  6. rachel432

    rachel432 New Member

    shannon i'm so sorry to hear about your grandpa's diagnosis. the last question you asked about dying because the cancer is in more then one place i can give you some information on.

    having 2 primary tumors makes treating a cancer patient a little more challenging but it actually may be better then if either tumor had actually spread to a second area. thyroid cancer is very treatable, the chemo drugs for that are very effective. the lung tumor is a little more difficult. there are a few different types of lung cancer, and depending on which type it is and if it has spread to anywhere else determines how effective the treatment is. but patients are actually living with lung cancer, not being cured necessarily thanks to a few new drugs out there that seem to halt the tumor growth even if they don't totlly get rid of the tumor. for example tonight at work i took care of a man who had lung cancer, who was in the hospital for another reason, but he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001 and he is still alive and doing well with treatment.

    there are reasons to be hopeful that if your grandpa gets the right treatment and the cancer cooperates he can do well even with cancer in 2 places. i hopoe he does. also i hope you are doing well adn that throughout this you take care of yourself and support your family as you can and you feel comfortable doing.

    i hope this helps.
  7. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    I sent a short e-mail to grandma (I don't have grandpa's e-mail address) asking what's happening. I haven't checked my e-mail yet today. Everything was so tense that I stopped writing to her BEFORE this cancer thing started. I will protect myself first.

    When my other grandpa died... I had seen him suffer so much. It was a relief when it was over. He went in for surgery for his gallbladder, and the doctor said he had a 50-50 chance of surviving. It was okay that he went the way he did, in a hospital, with enough painkillers. (Grandma abused him by withholding pain meds and beating and starving him when he was at home. Now that's endurance.) I was able back then to participate in his memorial service. He deserved a good one, and it was the best funeral I have ever been to.

    Pam, you're right, it's better to say SOMETHING than to say nothing because you're uncertain. I'm just going to have to play this by ear and see how much I can handle. I plan to call him when I'm able to, at least once. He's a religious man (the violence has stopped) and I don't think he would fear death. He's done well enough in these last years to have a clean conscience, and I'm proud of him. I don't blame him for anything. Thanks to everyone who said he may not die at all, or that he might live for years.

    That's the most I think I can do. He lives in Kansas, so I will not be able to see him in person. Thanks for letting me ramble. It's good to just release whatever's on my mind, you know?
    Thanks everyone. (( )) Shannon
  8. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    Grandma didn't ask about my health, so we got along fine. She sounds small. Grandpa's thyroid cancer is growing very fast, so he can't breathe well and can only sip liquids but not eat. They won't do surgery on him. They should have his biopsy results tomorrow. If it's "the worst kind" which they think it is because it's growing so fast, there will be no treatment.

    He's too tired to talk. He sleeps in the recliner during the day. It's harder to breathe when he lies down at night. Aunt Becca is staying with them to help out. She says she and grandma and her sister are in a daze. Two weeks ago he wasn't nearly this sick.

    He says he's still hoping that the doctors can help him, but he's not afraid of dying either. I said, "I thought he would say that," when Becca told me. "He has nothing to be afraid of."

    Everybody was subdued there. I didn't get to talk to grandpa because he was already sleeping. If I call in the early afternoon, I may be able to catch him while he's awake.
    (( )) Shannon
  9. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    toxic sounds like your grandpa is prepared to die...maybe he will ask for forgiveness before he dies....and you can have some peace in your life....

    i have my toxic relationship as well...all of us kids...not going into it right now...but 3 out of 4 children are not even talking to our parents...nor allowing our children near them untill they turn 18 and they decide to see them on their own...

    thinking of you...don't beat yourself up over the toxic can still love him and forgive him
    for the creepy things he has let you live your life in a better place...w/o have done anything wrong...

    do what is best for you..

  10. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    Even if you can't talk to your Grandpa himself, I'm sure your Grandma very much appreciated your call!

    When I was diagnosed with leukemia, I started getting calls from friends in other places where we'd lived over the years---well, my husband had called them to let them know what was happening, but they now call periodically to check up on me. I can't tell you what a lifeline this is! Shannon, it's as important to me to be able to ask THEM about their kids or grandkids, how their jobs are going, what they are doing this know, to have a NORMAL conversation. Yes, I fill them in on my progress, but it's nice to just talk and feel that they care enough to call, but that there's also more to my life than just leukemia, you know?

    Anyway, I'm sure your Grandma will tell your Grandpa that you are very concerned and called to check on him---and that will mean a LOT to him, I assure you, speaking from experience. And I sincerely hope that your grandpa gets through this, whatever the outcome, with as little pain and suffering as possible.

    BTW, I live in Kansas---where they are!

    (((Many Hugs)))
  11. hanna4175

    hanna4175 New Member

    hon im so sorry to hear about your grandfather.. i can't tell you not to worry, because you will do that anyways..i think any of us would..i can't tell you it will be alright.. because we are just never sure..but i can tell you to have faith.. and pray..which is what i will do for you and your family.. cancer is surely not a pleasant thing.. when i was four months pregnant with my youngest son.. i took two major blows..i lost two uncles (my favorite uncles in the world) withing two months of each other.. i was heartbroken and angry.. but i also had to sit back and imagine what kind of pain they would have been in if they had fought to stay..i do hope they can get to it before it gets worse..i have been in your shoes sweety and i do know how you are feeling..i will pray that they can get all the cancer and get him on treatments asap..i will keep you and your family in my thoughts.. i hope i haven't upset you.

    your friend
    hanna xo

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