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If you think you're protecting your kids - you aren't

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A bit of background. My father died 10 years ago after a very bad run of cancer. He had originally had cancer in 1991 but was in remission after surgery, chemo, and radiation. Up until last night I had been led to believe that the diagnosis of the cancers return up until my fathers death took about 4 months.


This weekend my mom asked if I would like to have my fathers medical records so that I can fill my doctor in on any family history that might be appropriate. So I was looking at them for the first time last night. And I found out that in reality my father knew 5 years before he died that the cancer had returned and was killing him. And he never said a word to me or my brother.


So while I'm not mad at him because I know he was a private person - I am deeply hurt. I am hurt that I didn't know and couldn't try to spend more time with him. I am hurt that he never got to meet my daughter, who would have been his only granddaughter. I regret not trying to visit more and travel with him while his health was still holding out.


I also found out that as bad as I knew the cancer was, it was actually much worse. This stuff ate his lungs slowly. It invaded his rib cage and destroyed the ribs one at a time. It ate into his vertebrae and caused the disks to bulge into the spinal column and create staggering pain. And ultimately it suffocated him.


For 5 years.


So if you get sick, please tell your families and loved ones. Don't hide it thinking you are sparing them the pain. Because they're going to get that pain sooner or later. And if you hide it, you miss out on the love and support that you so desperately need. And your family misses out on being there for you when both they and you need it most.


My father thought he was sparing me the pain. And here it is 10 years later and now I've got it. But now I can't sit down with him and tell him how much I love him.

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I am so sorry you had that experience. I guess people really do think they are sparing others but they aren't. In times of crisis a family should be honest and cling together for as much support as possible. I am sure he thought he was doing his best for you and would not want you to have an regrets in regards to him. God Bless.

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Avman sorry you had to find this out like this. Father's have this thing about being strong and showing no vulnerability. They are the protectors, especially fathers of your fathers age. So for him, he was sparing you his hurt - as misguided as that is - it shows a lot of love. I've dealt with something like this with my dad for a few years now. And honestly you knowing isn't necessarily better for them. For the reasons above. Weakness and vulnerability is very very difficult for some dads. And it's not easy seeing that in their eyes. But you are absolutely correct and I agree. My best to you.

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Avman! I'm sorry. Somethings in life is hard to share, you were at a age he thought you were better off not knowing, it was a judgment call he made, you may never know why he felt this way or acted this way.


Parents and loved ones sometimes keep the bad from the people they most love, he new there was nothing any one could do for him, why make everyone around him sad, why let his loved ones worry or go through this ordeal with him.

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Avman, thanks for sharing and even more, thanks for opening my eyes. You see, I am just like your father - I don't tell my family anything about my health, because like your father, I thought I was doing the right thing and want to spare them. I feel I don't want to inconvenience them. I keep all my ailments closely guarded and "suffer in silence". After reading your story it was like a slap in the face and really made me think differently. This is not going to be easy for me to change a habit of a lifetime, but I will try.


Thanks again.

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So sorry to hear of your shock!

I am a cancer survivor (6 months so far) and I happened to be very open with others about it and continue to be.


I was also going through my marital separation at the time (which I had not been open about) so when I was diagnosed with cancer I just could not keep it all in...


And I realized that I needed the support and prayers of all around me, especially since it wasn't going to be my husband.


It was amazing how many people came out of the woodwork to let me know they had had cancer but had not shared it with anyone. I was astounded. These were older people, so maybe that is how that kind of news was shared for that age group. But honestly, wouldn't they have wanted the support of all they could get??


Only your dad knew why he handled things the way he did. Maybe he was not ready to face it himself. What you do know is that he was trying to protect you, so maybe you there is some comfort on the fact that he was trying to do a loving thing for you and your siblings.


As far as telling your dad how much you love him, perhaps you could write out a letter to him with the words you would like to have said to him. Who knows, maybe he will get the message...

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