It's the "my dad will be dead within the year" thread

My parents called last week. My dad’s been having some abdominal pain and went in for some testing. A large tumor was discovered in his pancreas. The pain was was because the tumor is blocking the ducts for the draining of his digestive juices. The biopsy was scheduled for today. They implanted some sort of stent or drain or something but because of an old injury were unable to do the biopsy itself (I’m not really clear on that part; something about an old shoulder injury which I don’t quite get). The biopsy’s been resceduled to Wednesday but the doctors are already about 90% sure it’s pancreatic cancer. It’s considered inoperable because the recovery time would be such that it would reduce his lifespan as much as the cancer would (I’m not quite clear on that part either). The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is highly dismal. The tumor hasn’t been typed or staged but best case scenario is a year.

My mom’s a wreck of course. She was at the hospital most of today, along with a few friends. Dad was admitted for the biopsy so she’s home alone now, but has about 40 people who volunteered to stay with her as needed. I need to call my brother because I guess he’s not handling it very well either. I’m actually doing all right so far but I imagine the wreckiness will arrive eventually.

Can’t tell you how terrible I feel for you.

I have been going through similar issues with my Dad since last year. He had an aortic anyeurism, then a double bypass only 5 months later. He survived, which is incredible, but they recently found another anyeurism on his descending aorta. Things don’t look so good this time around.

I’ll be praying for you and your family.


I’ve never been through anything of the sort (thankfully), but prayers and thoughts are with you and your family…

I don’t want to get your hopes up, but my Dad was given 6 months to live in 1997 and I’m still sending Father’s Day cards.

He was diagnosed with basal cell lymphoma. I never can remember if it’s Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s that is worse, but that’s what this was/is. It is supposed to be 100% fatal.

He refused to go down without a fight, so he sought out other opinions. He found some doctors at R. H. Dedman Hospital in Dallas, TX who were willing to try new and aggressive therapies.

He’s had several rounds of chemo now. The treatments really do a number on him, but each time it goes into remission and he gets back on his feet and goes out dancing. He’ll be 74 next month.

The same thing happened with my dad, only local doctors kept treating for ulcers until we found one who suspected pancreatic cancer and sent us to a specialist. I’m trying to remember exactly how treatment went (funny how such a huge thing is fading). I believe they put him in a study for a new sort of chemotherapy right away. It seemed to work for one of the participants at least, but not for my dad. They put him on the regular chemo to buy him some time, which was almost six months after he’d been diagnosed.

20/20 hindsight; make sure you spend as much time with him as possible. I could have taken a semester off and I regret that I didn’t. I have a lot of pictures of my dad, but no video and you might want that someday-- I know I do-- just to hear his voice.

I’m so sorry about all of this Otto. It may sound trite, but try to take this one day at a time. Focus on what needs to be done right now so that the months ahead don’t overwhelm you. E-mail me if you’d like.

It sounds as if you really care about your dad. I wish I could do better than saying “I’m so sorry.” Take it from a nurse’s daughter, don’t forget yourself. Eat right, sleep right, and you’ll be able to help your mom more.

Regrets, Otto. I went thru similar things with my dad, just a few years after my mom died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was 37 at the time of Dad’s death. It sucks a lot. It really does. But you will deal with that which must be dealt with, and in doing so become more the man that your father hopes you will be.

My father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year (he had also been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but they weren’t too worried about that). We moved from the U.S. to Australia so that my husband could spend more time with him (he’d only seen him once - at our wedding - in a decade) and so that he could meet his grandson for the first time. He passed away on December 29th. He actually went very peacefully. He was in hospice care for the last couple weeks of his life.

Anyway, I’m so sorry your dad and your family are having to go through this. My thoughts are with you.

Hang in there, Otto.

A friend of the family was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer…very crappy odds and he beat them and had at least 3-4 good years before something else, unrelated to cancer did him in.

Hang in there and tell your dad it’s ok to buy green bananas.

Otto, I am so sorry to hear your news. Sending supporting thoughts your way!

I’m very sorry to hear this. Pancreatic cancer is a terrible disease. You might find this website from a pancreatic cancer awareness organization helpful:

My best wishes to you and your dad.

My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer a little over a year ago, and he died a couple of months later. He was coherent and talkative until the day before he died, when he mostly slept. I live 500 miles away from my parents, and I managed to get up to see him several times before he died. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world. We had lots of long talks, and I spent a lot of time just holding his hand while he slept. The last visit I had with him turned out to be about 10 days before he died. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said “I’m not buying any green bananas”. He always could make me laugh, no matter how bad I felt.

 Spend as much time with him as you can, and say whatever you haven't already said.   Someone on this board (I think it was **Matt**) suggested the book "Final Gifts", which I read and found to be very helpful.  

 My thoughts are with you and your family.

I’m sorry to hear your dad has this miserable disease. I just lost my favorite uncle to it in April. Oddly, he was diagnosed 3 weeks before he passed away and didn’t endure the horrible pain most PC patients do. I wish you and your family strength and hope.

Pancreatic cancer took my father too. It got a him a full two weeks after he had a proper diagnosis. My condolances. Don’t necessarily put your life on hold, but be with him and your mother as much as you can.

I’m sorry, Otto. What a horrible thing. I wish we could do more than offer comfort. Everyone here at the NoFair household are keeping you in our thoughts.


For what it’s worth, my thoughts are with you. Be strong, and treasure what time you have.

Post on the Board.
We will listen.

That sucks, Otto. Best wishes.


Otto I’ll be keeping your family and you in my thoughts and prayers. Spend as much time with your father as you can. You won’t regret this. My dad had Alzheimer’s and I watched him deteriorate from that horrible disease. I don’t regret one single second I spent with him even though I gave up many weekends to do so. When he died April of last year, I was sad but I knew that he died knowing I love him. Just be there for him and your mother. She’s going to need the support of her family as well. I wish you and yours peace and strength.