Hello, I'm new here. The reason I am here is because my dad has metatasised colon cancer to his liver. Unfortunately the liver tumor was found in a late stage of the disease, and is too large to operate on. It has been incredibly hard for me to find any local support groups for families, or even for cancer patients who don't have breast cancer. I would like to think that I don't need a support group for myself, but it just isn't true.
Ever since the doctors found the second tumor, everything has changed. He has lost a ton of weight, is always in lots of pain, he's sick a lot, and is severely depressed. The truth of the situation is, my mother would rather go on with life the way it was before he got so sick. She gets down on him a lot because she thinks he is feeling sorry for himself. I know better, as I have been depressed before and how uncontrollable it is.
about a month ago, I went on a family vacation with them. I thought it would be nice to spend time with them and hopefully have his mind taken off his situation. But the trip backfired. He was sick most of the time, and very sad. Being that I was spending a lot of time with him and my mother, I saw the way they interacted. My mother has no patience for him. Basically to me, it looked like she wanted him to stop crying and go out with her because it was ruining her fun.
Seeing this, I can relate because when I was depressed as a child, this is how she acted. She acted angry if you cried uncontrollably because she just doesn't - nor does she try to - understand. But I see the pain it makes my dad feel. He loves her very much and never wants to disappoint her. I could see him strain himself just to please her... For instance, he would wake up crying, then he would get an upset stomach and start throwing up. My mom would get mad because she thought he was throwing up because he didn't eat or something. So then, just to make her happy again, he would change his clothes, suck it up, and go out.
It was horrible. He had no one to help him during that trip, except me. Because I was the only one that has gone through depression. He even told me that he knows my mom doesn't understand. That she should read a book or something. But she isn't willing to. He told me some things that was very hard for me to hear, because I know that no matter how much I listened, the only person who could trully help him is my mother. I tried to make her understand for his sake but those conversations drive a wedge between her and I due to her complete lack of interest in helping.
I recommended my dad seeing someone, and my mom, but they just won't do it. Now that we are back from the vacation, I frequently wonder how he is doing. Every day he seems to get worse. I worry so much. Especially because now I realize the unfunctional dynamic of my parents. It can't be easy for him. He is always saying how he wished he would have called me when he was having a really hard time coping with his disease in the middle of the night. I know why he wishes, because my mom won't listen to him.
But all this makes it hard for us to all get along. I find I can't be around them together much any more because the way their relationship is, just brings me down. I get frustrated at my mom for being so selfish. I get sad because while I feel like I know alot about depression, I also at the same time don't know what I can do for my dad.
It is all just one great big mess. Maybe it isn't my business how their relationship is. But I know my dad needs support, and he can't get it from my mom, and he isn't trying to see a counselor. I feel immense pressure on my shoulders to be there for him, but I don't know how to listen to him without it bringing me down, damaging my relationship with my mother, and effecting my own family at home in a negative way. Because every time I help I leave feeling exhasuted, sad, and frustrated. My husband says it shouldn't be my responsibility to be my father's therapist, and that I should stop subjecting myself to the hurt it causes me. But I don't know what else to do.
The thought has occured to me that maybe I need to put my foot down. Maybe I need to demand that they find and go to a counselor, therapist, or anyone more qualified than me before I resume spending any more time with them. But that feels cruel - he seems weak and I worry about how many weeks or months he has left. Plus I work with them at their business every day, so not seeing them would be very difficult. I don't really think finances are keeping them from finding someone. This past weekend they bought a new truck.
And I'm sure people are going to sugguest that I tell them how I feel and how it is effecting me, but I have told them. They rarely take my advice or listen to what I have to say. I wrote them a long letter about how I felt. That changed nothing. Being that I am the only child, I even had my husband try to back me up in telling them that they need to find a therapist, but that did nothing either. My mother kept up with her unsupportive behavior, my dad didn't find anyone to talk to, and so it left the situation the same, with only me to turn to.
Apart of me thinks that both my parents are in denial. That going to see someone would make it that much more serious, and they would actually have to deal with the seriousness of the situation emotionally. I say this because he has no interest in finding a support group or therapist. Also, he frequently doesn't tell the doctor about severely painful parts in his body, doesn't ask the doctor questions, etc. Plus, the truck I mentioned before is huge. My mom cannot even drive it. They got rid of the car she drove. It seems illogical to me that they would buy a vehicle so big that my dad has to drive my mom around in it every time she needs to go somewhere. I think about, "What about when he is so sick and can't drive my mom where she needs to go..." or, "What about if my mom is the person that needs to drive him to the hospital because he's too sick to drive. Whats going to happen then?"
It seems odd that I am just 23... I barely have my own life together. I'm trying to go back to college. Yet I feeled charged with the responsibility of fixing their problems because they won't do it themselves, or because they don't know what they are doing.
Anyway, I'm not sure if I am posting this in the right area, so please let me know if I need to move it or something. Any input you could give me would be appreciated, and I apologize for this being so long. Thank you very much in advance.