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    alkaline's Avatar
    alkaline Posts: 61, Reputation: 20
    Junior Member
     
    #1

    Jul 9, 2007, 07:50 AM
    Dad's surgery coming, parents fighting a lot
    On Thursday my father is going for surgery. He has prostate cancer and is having his prostate removed. Ever since we found out about my dad having cancer this past winter things in my family have been very tense.

    My dad has a very A-type personality, and he is an overachiever. He can never sit still, and always has to be “getting something done.” He is a terrible patient, even when he just has the flu or something. He is bad about taking medicine or resting. This is the first time he has had something major wrong with him medically.

    It is obvious that he is upset and stressed out about the upcoming surgery. He told me the other day that he’s scared they are going to open him up and find out that the cancer has spread. I can understand him having that fear, I probably would myself.

    He hates all the people he knows constantly talking to him about it, so I never bring it up to him, I always let him talk to me about it first. I understand that hearing other people talk about it constantly only makes him worry more, and makes it pretty much impossible to get off his mind.

    Some people, in fact quite a few of them, keep telling my dad horror stories. It seems everyone wants to tell him about the person they know that died from cancer. It makes my dad more upset, and I understand that, too. If I had any way of communicating with these people I’d ask them to stop it. I know people think they are helping, but they aren’t.

    Lately, my parents have been fighting constantly. It is over every little thing. I understand they are both stressed out, but they both need to chill out a little. I told them that on Saturday, they were fighting over something that isn’t relevant for 2 years and I came in the room and said like, “Guys, you don’t need to worry about that right now. Just chill out, let’s have a good day and enjoy ourselves.” And of course, then they yelled at me.

    Now, for a while my mom has been saying how hard all this is going to be for her. My mom tends to make everything that happens be all about her. Basically, it isn’t that it is going to be hard for her because she’s worried about my dad’s health, it’s because he’s going to be a pain in her while he’s home from work and she has to take care of him. I hear about this from her on a daily basis.

    Today my mom said to me that after my dad has his surgery, I’m going to need to “keep an eye on my dad on the weekends” so that she can take a break and go to my brother’s house to go swimming in his pool.

    That kind of pissed me off.

    I’m a new attorney and my job is pretty stressful and intense as it is. Ironically, the same day my dad is having his surgery, the senior partner here is also having surgery done and will be out for a while. While he is gone, I am taking over his clients. This is going to be a massive surge of work for me, and a lot of things that I have no experience doing whatsoever and much more pressure than I am used to. On top of that, I still obviously have my own clients. I also have to go to meetings and things after work hours, so it isn’t like I have a 9-5 job. My parents know all of this.

    I’m getting very frustrated with my mother. She doesn’t work, she stays at home all day, and even though she is home she doesn’t do very much.

    I have a lot on my plate right now, and I am actually worried about my father’s health. I can’t imagine my life without him. It isn’t so much that I don’t want to spend time with him after his surgery, of course I will want to… it is the way my mother told me I have to “baby sit” him the way she did. And how she makes it all about her, and how it’s going to be so hard for HER to deal with my dad being home. As if it isn’t going to be the hardest on him, he’s the one with the cancer! He’s the one having the surgery!

    Talking to either of them is pretty much useless. My dad is always right, and any time you confront my mom you just get a dramatic “I can’t do anything right!!!” type of tirade.

    What can I do to make things more peaceful at home? I am trying to think of ways to make it less stressful there, and to maybe get them to chill out for a bit. I think it would be the best for all of us if there was a way to make things relaxing, does anyone have any ideas of how to go about this? Have any of you dealt with this before?
    Cinnabar's Avatar
    Cinnabar Posts: 113, Reputation: 5
    Junior Member
     
    #2

    Jul 10, 2007, 09:52 AM
    If I was you, I would tell my mom in a very straight-forward manner that she needs to stop being selfish and should consider reviewing her marriage vows when she stated "in sickness and in health."
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,299, Reputation: 5646
    Expert
     
    #3

    Jul 10, 2007, 11:56 AM
    First let me say that I am sorry you are having to go through this, it is a rough time for your dad and your family I am sure.

    This is very common with cancer patients. I went through it myself with my husband when I had cancer.

    No, we don't want to hear about other people's stories, no we don't want to be babied or tended to, we want to try and live as normal a life as possible. But, it's really NOT possible.

    What your mother is going through right now is what my husband called "the fixer mentality." This is something that she cannot fix. She feels helpless, and rightfully so. But that this is not something like kissing a boo boo and making it go away.

    She needs to know that he needs her support right now. That he doesn't need this added stress. This needs to be firmly stressed to her. His recovery depends on her supporting him.

    Take her out to lunch and shopping, talk to her. You know that another reason she is doing this is because she is scared. She is scared of life without him, but she just can't express it.

    You may want to check into Gilda's Club. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to cancer patients AND their families. It worked for us.

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