I am a 37 year old daughter of the sweetest man who passed away from pancreatic cancer. My dad suffered from a sore back for over a year and was consistently told he was fine. He was told he worked too much and needed to sit more. Until one night, he went to the washroom and only blood came out! Once he got to the Emergency Department it wasn't long before they told him he had a tumor 9 cm long on his pancreas. How could we dismiss such pain and call it STRESS? Our lives since that day in the Emergency Department have been flipped inside out. We almost lost him from severe bleeding from the spleen. The quick work of a few surgeons and a miracle - his bleeding finally stopped.
We didn't know what to expect or what to do next, how long he would have to live and if his cancer was curable? Once my dad stabilized and was able to go home, we were sent to see if surgery was an option and within days we found out that it was not. Even if it was, 5 years was the longest we could expect our 68 year old dad to live. The next option for him was chemo, and that came with a 1 year lifespan tag. Everything seemed so unreal. We had no choice - chemo it was.
After 3 months of chemo, blood transfusions, tears and frustration - we had high hopes to beat the odds! And, in one year we did. We got a year and three months - some people only dream of that much time. In that year, dad got to see my son get baptized, got to see his daughter’s wedding, and his third grandson's birth, only days before he said goodbye to us all forever.
The process is not easy, and when they are gone- it’s even worse. Stay strong for the ill person you are caring for. Help them stay pain free and comfortable while spending as much time with them as you can. We are all going to go through "death" someday and everyone’s journey will be different. The Palliative Care team made a huge difference in managing my dad’s agonizing pain, but we only saw them one day before he died—way too late! I wish I knew what was next, how much time we had, and why this happened.
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF! If you are sure something is wrong, keep asking questions and get multiple opinions. Do not listen to one doctor's opinion of your pain, only YOU can feel your pain and you must keep searching for the answer before it is too late."