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Thread: Coping with my Dadís Cancer

  1. #1
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    Coping with my Dadís Cancer

    About a year and a half ago my Dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a terminal cancer.

    My dad is big into conspiracy theories, and alternative therapies, and is refusing to get the recommended treatment for his cancer. He thinks the pharmaceutical companies are suppressing a cancer cure because they make such a profit on chemotherapy drugs, and refuses to listen to the doctors in Canada.

    Instead, he has chosen to get experimental cancer treatments in Mexico. The treatments they offer at the clinics there have not been throroughly assessed through clinical trials, and are unproven and frankly dangerous.

    Heís paying soooo much money for these unproven treatments, and in my opinion, these medical clinics down in Mexico are a money grab.

    Heís convinced that the treatments in Mexico are helping, but he is obviously declining. He was recently hospitalized for rectal bleeding, is tired all the time, aenemic, and just looks sooo unwell. Itís very reminiscent of what Steve Jobs went through, trying to cure cancer with organic foods etc.

    Sooo, I have a moral dilemma. My Dad knows how I feel about him going to Mexico, but ultimately itís his body and his decision. I have a really hard time being supportive, when I am so against the decisions heís making. I donít know how to come to terms with it.

    Heís planning on going to Mexico again, but this time heís talking about going to other clinics, and tying other therapies. Itís obvious his cancer is progressing and he isnít being honest about it.

    He gets upset every time I ask about the therapies heís considering in Mexico, and when I offer counterpoints and other opinions that differ from his own.

    I want to feel like I am part of his team, and advocate for his health, but I feel so shut out and he gets so defensive when I am only trying to help prolong his life by encouraging him to get proper medical treatment.

    I donít know what to do, and I donít know how to come to terms with my dad making poor decisions that will likely shorten his life considerably.

    Up until now Iíve been gentle in my approach because I donít want to upset him.

    What should I do? Should I write him a letter and explain everything that Iím feeling? Should I leave him alone and try to accept that heís going to do what he wants? Iím feeling very powerless and hopeless.

  2. #2
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    I am sorry for what you are dealing with . Please donít add grief to your dadís ending. I know that we want to see people do what we feel is good for them. Let his passing be his way . Just love him and make memories . Trying to push your way wonít do that .

  3. #3
    Platinum Member mustlovedogs's Avatar
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    How do you know his decisions are shortening his life? How do you know chemo would be tolerated any better?

    Recognize that he has his own moral dilemma: western medicine. Frankly I donít entirely disagree with him - I wouldnít jump to Mexican medicine necessarily - but he needs to proceed as he sees fit.

    He will die eventually. But at least with these decisions, he dies making a decision he feels more comfortable with.

    Give him that dignity and try to be supportive.

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    Well, writing a letter might make you feel better, but it's not going to convince him not to go to Mexico. I might be around your Dad's age, and I can feel for him. There is some validity to some of his conspiracy theories. Chemo may extend your life but a lot of cancer death rates haven't decreased in decades. Big pharma has just figured out a way to take all your money while you're dying. I don't think Mexican clinics know anything your doctors in Canada don't.

    I think his best bet is with herbals. He should immediately be eating as much turmeric as possible, even if it turns him yellow. That seems like his best hope. It won't hurt him and he can buy it in any supermarket, but obviously the best quality works best. There are also some other recommended herbs such as astragalus, Goldenseal and Echinacea, and Cayenne. (I have been taking Cayenne and Garlic for my heart for 20 years.) Again, none of these will hurt him, but they might help him.

    Maybe try offering him this alternative. I do think the Mexican cancer clinics are scams. Some of them have been caught just injecting saline into people. And herbs might give your dad some hope, which at this point might be the only thing that will help.

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    First off I too believe there's too much money to be made in the medical field to actually get a cure out there for the people to use.

    As for Mexico, my neighbour's wife had cancer and was told by her doctor to get her affairs in order as she was considered terminal. Her husband sold his trucking business to get the cash to go to Mexico for treatment. They were gone almost a year. In the end she was cured. This was over 10 years ago. So I would not dismiss the idea of trying alternative treatments in Mexico. Yes it depends on the person and the type of cancer, but it worked for this lady.

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    Originally Posted by mustlovedogs
    How do you know his decisions are shortening his life? How do you know chemo would be tolerated any better?
    You are right, I donít know. And I agree that chemotherapy is dangerous as well, and could also potentially shorten his life. Itís just that I can only assume that relying on unproven ďcuresĒ is ultimately more dangerous in the long run than taking drugs that doctors know for sure actually kill cancer cells. And that it makes sense to act soon, while his immune system is most able to tolerate chemotherapy. If he waits his condition will worsen, and he will be more at risk for complications.

    I agree that Western Medicine isnít perfect, but I donít buy into the conspiracy theories of Big Pharma suppressing a cure.

    BUT...on the other hand I completely understand my Dadís fears, and his need to try a gentle, holistic, alternative approach to his therapies. Heís afraid of Chemotherapy. I would be too.

    But all of this from my end just comes from me wanting my Dad to have the best odds of living with and managing his disease. I donít want to disrespect his wishes, and the last thing I want to do is fight with him about it when we could be spending time together in an enjoyable way.

    I just donít know how to come to terms with it.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    His body, his choice is absolutely right. Not wanting to expressly endorse his pursuit of alternative treatment is quite different from badgering him and guilt tripping him with dramatic letters. With respect to your position and having to deal with his finality, a modicum of empathy should suggest to you that the struggle is that much more real for him. He's getting his hope where he needs to get it. It's not your place to dictate where he draws his optimism from or whether / how he comes to grips with his mortality.

    I'm not as cynical as others when it comes to pharma. I can't say I'd put much stake in his experimental treatment. But it's not my life. And I pray to the God I don't even believe in that were I in his position, those closest to me would afford me the absolute bare minimum respect it takes to allow me to cope as I need to.

    Get therapy for yourself if you find yourself struggling to the point you'd catch yourself imposing on him. Again, it's plenty understandable. Best of luck to him, you, and the rest of your family.

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    Originally Posted by DanZee
    I think his best bet is with herbals. He should immediately be eating as much turmeric as possible, even if it turns him yellow. That seems like his best hope. It won't hurt him and he can buy it in any supermarket, but obviously the best quality works best. There are also some other recommended herbs such as astragalus, Goldenseal and Echinacea, and Cayenne. (I have been taking Cayenne and Garlic for my heart for 20 years.) Again, none of these will hurt him, but they might help him.

    Maybe try offering him this alternative. I do think the Mexican cancer clinics are scams. Some of them have been caught just injecting saline into people. And herbs might give your dad some hope, which at this point might be the only thing that will help.
    I have no issue with him taking herbs, boosting his immune system, eating organic etc. I think itís great that he does that! But I am afraid it isnít enough, and that the cancer requires more aggressive treatment.

    Look, I really donít know about the Mexico treatments. Maybe they cure some people, but all the evidence is anecdotal at best, and the amount of money heís spending is ridiculous when he could be getting free healthcare back home. I have acted supportive and kind to him about it so far, but have expressed concern to him.

    I feel the need to defend myself because I actually have held back a LOT with my Dad, and have only expressed concern a few times, in a respectful and kind way. Heís gone to Mexico a bunch of times already and I have been very lighthearted with him about it and try to be encouraging. Itís just hard because it feels very disingenuous considering I wouldnít ever go to those Mexican clinics myself were I in his position.

  10. #9
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    Would you rather make memories with him or list your concerns?

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    Originally Posted by j.man
    With respect to your position and having to deal with his finality, a modicum of empathy should suggest to you that the struggle is that much more real for him. He's getting his hope where he needs to get it. It's not your place to dictate where he draws his optimism from or whether / how he comes to grips with his mortality.

    I'm not as cynical as others when it comes to pharma. I can't say I'd put much stake in his experimental treatment. But it's not my life. And I pray to the God I don't even believe in that were I in his position, those closest to me would afford me the absolute bare minimum respect it takes to allow me to cope as I need to.

    Get therapy for yourself if you find yourself struggling to the point you'd catch yourself imposing on him. Again, it's plenty understandable. Best of luck to him, you, and the rest of your family.
    Okay, I agree with you ultimately, and itís clear from your response that you see my stance as a selfish one, which I guess it is. I want my Dad to live longer. But not if heís suffering obviously.

    I know itís his choice, and I really do empathize with what heís going through. Iím not trying to impose some scientific/medical dogma on him, and I rarely bring it up with him. But it is really hard to see him making choices that I perceive to be foolish, and throwing so much of his life savings into it.
    I want to respect his ways of coping but itís just hard to sit by and watch it happen, I just have this natural instinct to try and save him from wasting his money and donít want him to have false hope, and be taken advantage of by these expensive clinics.

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