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Mixed Emotions….

June 6, 2013

We went to the surgeon today to get the latest update on dad and the prognosis is good – they are holding off the chemo for the moment and going straight for surgery, which is what we were praying for. He’s also having surgery on June 27th which is great as we won’t have to wait around for too long thinking about all the ‘what ifs’. It’s also a miracle that it’s being done that soon as the guy handing in his op forms to the hospital after dad was told he was going on a on year waiting list. Thank you Lord is all I can say. So to break down what’s going on, they are taking dad into surgery to remove his entire stomach and gall bladder. They will then somehow connect things together to form a pouch in his belly. He’ll be in intensive care for a few days and will be fed through a tube for a few days while everything heals together. After that, he’s looking at a few weeks in hospital and a 3-6 months recovery period but will have a normal life. Great. He goes on and tells dad that he will have about a 6-12 months period while he’s recovering where he will feel very tired and drained and will more than likely not be able to work – dad is 67 and has gone through a triple bypass and prostate cancer, so this didn’t surprise me. It did however surprise dad. He then tells us that 1 in 30 people die. I didn’t expect that. However, the cancer hasn’t spread, no chemo for now and they are speeding things up with surgery in a few weeks, so all pretty positive. Again, thank you Lord.

When we left mum and I were focusing on the positives – no chemo, no eating from a tube for the rest of his life etc. Dad’s was focusing on the fact that he wouldn’t be able to work. We started talking about that and dad got annoyed and said ‘I’m going to turn into a vegetable. I’d be better of dead. I’m better off dying’. This is the part where I probably should have been a little more patient with my dad but instead lost my temper (not proud of it but there you have it). The 3 of us had words, dad walked off, mum walked off and I stood there trying to get my emotions in check. I probably sound a little insensitive but the outburst was a result of a couple of things….firstly, I mentioned previously that dad is a very negative person, so he seldom focuses on the positive things in a situation and this situation was no different. Secondly, mum is over compensating when dad is around and while she is being positive, she takes a very soft approach with dad, which essentially allows him to keep being negative. Dad’s negativity rubs off on mum and I have to also try and deal with her negativity when dad isn’t around. I get having cancer is scary. I get going into major surgery and being told there is a 1 in 30 chance you may not make it out is scary. And I know it’s easy for me to say ‘stay positive‘ cause I’m not the person with cancer. But you can’t give up like that. You can’t start thinking that death is a better alternative because your mind will win that battle and give up before your body does. You keep telling yourself you won’t make it and you won’t. How do you encourage someone that’s given up before treatment has even started? How do you encourage someone to keep fighting when they believe death is a better alternative? My frustration came from the fact that we are trying to do everything we possibly can to help him and get him through, but he needs to do his part as well.

While dad was sorting out his paperwork I went and stood next to him, we hugged and he started crying. We stood there for a few minutes crying in the hallway (we seem to have a thing with crying in public!). I apologised for my outburst and told him he can’t give up. I highlighted all the positive aspects and again told him he can’t give up, he had to fight! I kept repeating he couldn’t give up until he agreed. We hugged and cried again and then I realised that the administration lady was crying because she was watching us, so all 3 of us were crying..awesome. We finished up, went to lunch and got on with the day.

I knew I would have a mental battle with dad but I didn’t think it would be this early in the game. It’s draining trying to be/act/think positive against someone that is so negative. Things are going to get harder, that much is clear. But I’m looking at this is as a training ground for when I become a counsellor as it occurred to me today that one of the electives I’ve chosen is ‘grief counseling’. But, where there is life, there is hope, so we’ll just keep going and pray for God’s grace and peace for whatever is coming.

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2 Comments
  1. Wendy permalink

    Wow Leila! It’s an Up hill battle as they say, but you God on your side the whole way. Thanks for sharing xxx

  2. Thanks Wendy. God is definitley getting me through this. xx

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