How do I deal with a father-in-law, whom has terminal cancer?

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  1. mobias profile image74
    mobiasposted 8 years ago

    How do I deal with a father-in-law, whom has terminal cancer?

    My father-in-law finally went to the doctor a few months ago, he had to quit his job due to the side-effects of prostate cancer, now spread throughout his body because he also neglected going to the doctor and dealing with it -for numerous reasons. He's been a depressed, mostly recovered alcoholic whom had a rough growing up, and was very rough on my wife when she was growing up. I like the guy, he has his character, he's redeemed himself, but I feel so frustrated knowing what is coming and what my wife will have to go through, which all could have been prevented if he had only gone in sooner.

  2. ComfortB profile image87
    ComfortBposted 8 years ago

    If he had gone in sooner, he would probably have been negatively impacted by all the chemo treatment and die sooner. So, don't dwell on the 'what could haves' and the 'what should haves', enjoy the little time you all have together, and love him to death.

    If you can afford it, take him places he's always wanted to go, and do things with him that he's never had the opportunity to do.

    God bless you all, my prayers are with you.

  3. ThePracticalMommy profile image94
    ThePracticalMommyposted 8 years ago

    I went through a similar experience with my father-in-law, who refused to acknowledge his diabetes and asthma conditions and died very young. All you can do is help him feel as comfortable as possible, and give your wife as many opportunities to spend time with him.

    It's a hard thing to go through, no doubt. My father-in-law slipped into a coma unexpectedly and didn't give his family the chance to even spend quality time with him. His family went through a long period of shock, including my husband.  It seems that you and your wife will have the chance to spend quality time with your father-in-law.

    It will be hard for your wife. Be her support and comfort during this difficult time. It is frustrating, I'm sure, knowing something could have been done sooner, but don't focus on that now. Focus on what you and your wife have, which is precious time.

    Many prayers for you and your family.

  4. PhoenixV profile image63
    PhoenixVposted 8 years ago

    I am sorry for your burden and sorry for your Father-in law's health. I am sure it is no comfort to say that the cycle of life has an inevitable end. From the information you have given, it sounds that your Father in law, lived life and possibly lived life hard. He sounds tough. I would suggest making his as comfortable as you can and encourage him to keep his chin up, and you should try to keep your chin up too. Its just going to be a struggle for all that is concerned.  The fact that you are here, showing your concern for him, may be all you can do. Show your concern and be there for him in whatever he needs.  Try to understand what he is going through is all you can do. I am sorry I can be of much help.

  5. mobias profile image74
    mobiasposted 8 years ago

    Thank you, ComfortB,ThePracticalMommy, and PhoenixV for your encouraging thoughts, and prayers. It is a tough situation, compounded by many factors that inhibit spending a lot of quality time with him. One being our household is chaotic, and so busy we can barely take care of our kids, with my wife & I working so much; another being, he is so bitter [probably out of self-frustration/changing his mind about life] that it's too late, that he's become a hermit in his apartment, avoids any and all talk about the matter, and gets more hostile toward my wife whenever she tries to talk to him, even for basic information. We have to file disability now for him, and hope it goes through quick, as they have no money to support themselves, and my wife now may have to stay home from her job, because her mother [our current babysitter] will have to take care of him AND find a job. Which means our financial household is going to be stressed to the max. 

    This questions wasn't meant to vent on how it affects us, I honestly feel very bad, frustrated, and angry at him for his lack of crucial decisions. I feel he got dealt a bad hand in life, and could have been so much happier, more successful. If I've taken anything from this situation, its that how your parents raise you, if there is abuse or neglect, or money issues while growing don't have a very good chance at succeeding in life - unless you are driven by an insane desire to be the opposite, which happens with some. For others, like my father in law, they become casualties. Forever lost and floating through the world, bitter and regretful that things could have been better.

    I will be more diligent about forcing my wife to go over there nonetheless, and get her dad out of the house and do stuff with him. You all are right that there is precious time remaining. Better to try to connect rather than regret not doing so later...

  6. mandypoole profile image62
    mandypooleposted 8 years ago

    I have just read your post and felt I had to comment as I can relate to this situation. My own father passed away last month after suffering with cancer, and like you, we all knew the cancer was terminal beforehand.

    At the time It didn't feel real, I kept thinking there was a chance he would get better, but even after Chemo and Radiotherapy he got worse, as by then a new cancer had appeared and spread.

    Like your father-in-law my dad had a very rough childhood, in fact were only just finding out the true extent to his past now as he had written about it through his creative writing. He became a very depressed adult and we had a very difficult relationship, like your wife had with her father.

    I think his upbringing made him very isolated and he was not able to show love or affection, which has always been very difficult to accept, but in recent years he seemed to soften a little. I tried to show I cared by visiting him in hospital, sending a Thinking of You card etc, even just making small talk. We were never going to be really close or even have a good proper conservation, but in the last few weeks of his life I realised I HAD to try, whether he was going to try too or not. I had to make amends as time was running out.

    So, basically what I am saying is keep visiting your father-in-law, accept that he may be bitter and depressed because of his up bringing and his situation at the moment, but try not to take it personally. If time is running out, then you and your wife have to do all you can to show you both care,otherwise you may regret it and be left feeling guilty. He sounds very much like my dad. It is very sad when people  live very hard lives as it also affects those around them. But its time to change all that.

    Sorry this was quite long! Hope it helps a little at least. Take care.


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