Hello, My name is Katherine though I usually go by Kathy. I have lost both of my parents due to cancer.
Both of my parents retired in 2010 my dad first in April. He began to be sick quite frequently but just attributed it to being overweight and once he retired he could get more exercise. Well to make a long story short they rushed him by ambulance to the mayo clinic where they discovered a football size tumor on his kidney he had kidney cancer. They removed the kidney and then he was on put in a comatose state for a month to try and reverse the damage. They took him off the life support and he was very week. He spent the next month in there rehabbing to be able to regain muscle control before they sent him home in September of 2010. They wanted him to go home and rest and come back and they could figure out the next steps. When he went back the first week in October of 2010 they said he was fully of cancer and there was nothing they could do so they sent him home to die. My dad was 6'3 and 350 pounds...he was my first crush, my knight in shining armor and the slayer of monsters under my bed. It was very hard to see him reduced to skin and bones and crying out in pain. He died in November of 2010.
Fast forward to April of 2014 and my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They did the surgery to remove part of her pancreas, stomach, and intestines. After resting for about a month they put her on a chemo regimen of 2 weeks on 1 week off. They said it was an aggressive cancer but they had dealt with it frequently and said she probably could have at least several years. She did the chemo following that schedule until about September of 2015 when she started getting sick and they stopped it. She was then taken into the ER at the end of October and they said the cancer was progressing into her liver and lungs and the chemo wouldn't do any good. In the beginning of November they told her she probably didn't have long. We had her transferred into a private hospice facility to ensure she was well taken care of during her last days. She continued to fight and held on until January of this year. At the end she was very week and frail. Thankfully the hospice staff was able to manage her pain to keep her comfortable.
I miss them both so very much. I know from going through this with my dad it never gets better. People always say it will get better in time but in my mind it never gets better....just different in time as you learn to adjust to a life without them. I was very close to both of them and find it harder now after having lost my mom too. After the loss of my dad I had mom to turn to which made it a little easier. I do have two older brothers but we have never been close though my oldest brother andI are trying to keep in touch because we are all of the family left. My other brother is an alcoholic and he wasn't even at my father's funeral because nobody knew where he was. He was at my mom's funeral (he had no idea she was even sick he just saw her obit in the paper and showed up). My husband lost his father prior to us meeting so he at least understands what it's like so that helps some.
I just wish I could hug them one more time and tell them how much I love them.
Hi Kathy. So sorry for your parent's struggles with cancer and your losses. I know what you mean. My Mom died in 2000 (Heart Failure) and although it was hard, you are right, it made all the difference to still have the other parent. My Dad just died last October. I am an only child. Like you said, you learn to live with it, but I miss him so much. He loved life and was great company. I am lucky I have great neighbors, and good friends at work and church. It is good you can write about your feelings. People understand here.
Wow thanks for sharing your story. I cannot imagine going through the pain of watching your parents fight cancer. I lost my mom unexpectedly after she had surgery back in 2005. I was 16 at the time and she was only 37. It was so hard, and 10 years later, I still deal with the traumatic effects of losing her. My dad and my siblings do not really talk about it, so I had to find comfort somewhere else. I turned to my faith and prayed a lot which was comforting, especially with the promise to see her again in the future without pain and mourning (Rev 21:3,4) Still it does not remove the sting of death I felt then and still now...it just helps me make it a day at a time until it is corrected. You are right, your grief or outlook changes each year. Just know you are not alone. Death is clearly unnatural, but you have such great memories it seems with your parents and you also have a hope for the future to see them again! (John 5:28,29)
Thank you both for your comments. Yes I still struggle some with the way in which they went. Granted no death is easy to handle but I wouldn't wish watching someone you love wither away to nothing before dying on anyone. My dad was a big tough sort of guy so to hear him cry out in pain when being moved in bed is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. They did an open casket for my mother and I wasn't sure how it was going to go she basically looked like a skeleton at the end but thankfully they managed to hide it for the most part so you couldn't tell how much weight she had lost. I have great memories of both of them which helps stave off the sadness which tries to set in. There a lot of painful memories surrounding their deaths but thankfully there are exponentially more good memories so I hold on to those with all my might.