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Old 08-30-2010, 02:44 PM   #1
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My dad had a pulmonary embolism

I got a call from my mom this morning that my dad has been admitted to the hosp. for a week because he threw a blood clot to his lung. They said he's lucky to be alive right now. He's been undergoing chemo for stage 4 cancer, and I guess that is a common reaction to the chemo.

I think he is beyond prayers, but I just feel sad. He's been through so much the last few years. First it was prostate cancer, and surgery that did not go well. Then colon cancer, and a major surgery that resulted in an ileostomy bag (his upper intestine is routed through his stomach in to a bag), then we found out that it spread to his liver, so he is having very aggressive chemo, and is really sick. Now this. He's having a scan in November that determines if they will continue chemo or if they will let nature take its course. They said if it is the latter, then he has less than a year left. They are not optimistic.

I haven't told the kids. I feel some guilt about that, like their Papa is going to die just out of the blue. But they are so little and I don't want to worry them or make them sad for a long time. It's a tough call. I don't want to scare them, and I don't want them to be sad now, but I don't want them to be upset that we knew it was coming and didn't tell them. My dad said he wants to explain things to them, so I guess I will let him talk to them when (if) he comes for Christmas.

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Old 08-30-2010, 08:50 PM   #2
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Re: My dad had a pulmonary embolism

I got more information this evening. They said that more than 50% of his lung function is compromised, and the clots are really large. They said that this is a serious life threatening situation, and that most people don't wake up, and just die in their sleep. I'm not sure if he is out of danger now, or if I'm going to get more bad news. I talked to him, and he said he was in terrible pain. He sounded really bad. And he's half way across the country and I can't go see him.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:39 AM   #3
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Re: My dad had a pulmonary embolism

Oh wow, Mama. I am so sorry that your poor Dad is in such pain and has had to fight so hard these past few years. (((hugs))) I can only imagine your heartbreak watching him struggle. I will keep you all in my prayers.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:17 AM   #4
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Re: My dad had a pulmonary embolism



How young are your kids? (Edit: nm, saw your sig) Do you think they would appreciate being told and then talking to Papa on the phone every so often, both to work through the reality and to get to know him more? It might soften the blow a bit if they might be shocked (and scared) by his physical appearance come Christmastime, and the calls might give your dad something to look forward to, too. I would venture to guess knowing Papa was quite sick over a long period and then later passing would be less traumatic than a "quick" sickness and a "sudden" passing.
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:25 AM   #5
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Re: My dad had a pulmonary embolism

They do know he's sick. He lived with us for 6/7 months while he did radiation, chemo, and had surgery for colon cancer. But they think he is better now. I have told them that Papa is still sick, and he talks to them on the phone every few days.

I'm not sure what the best way to handle it is. My grandmother died when I was 10 after a long battle with cancer. We lived in the same town, so I watched her slowly wither away and then die. It was a very stressful time for the family, especially my dad and I because we were so close to her. I want to save my kids from that, but then I wonder if the alternative is better. I guess there is no way to prepare small kids for the death of someone they love so much. My kids, especially my ds, are extremely attached to Papa. He's like a second father to them, even though he lives so far away. My dad is just that kind of guy. People get attached to him easy.

He's doing better today. He still has some blood clots in his legs (there was a miscommunication about that. My mother is mentally ill, so any info from her is usually suspect), but he isn't in such horrible pain anymore. He is not happy that they are making him lay still, but he knows why. He does get a week off from chemo, so he's feeling good about that. I think it's going to be a roller coaster ride from here on out.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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Re: My dad had a pulmonary embolism

I figure this is as good a place as any, since this made me feel sad [Pity Party, table of 1]. My dad called today. They are letting him get up and use the bathroom now! His leg still hurts. He told me that he woke up at 2 am last night, and he had no idea where he was. He said that he got out of bed, and didn't know why he looked to be in a hospital. So the nurse comes in (he had ripped one if his lines out when he got up), and asks him if he needs anything. He asked her where he was. She told him he was in the hospital, so he asked if he had been in an accident. She said "No, you have blood clots in your lungs" and he said "I do? but, if I wasn't in an accident, why am I bleeding?" She told him it was because he pulled one of his lines out, then she asked him if he knew who he was. He said he didn't, but he didn't want to tell her that because he didn't want her to think he was crazy. So they put his line in and put him back to bed. They said it was the meds that made him disoriented. He also told me that he has decided that he's going to live for a few more years, so no one should be sad. And I told him good, because my kids and I aren't ready for him to go.
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:52 PM   #7
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Re: My dad had a pulmonary embolism

Sounds like he's doing a little better. That's good! Also fantastic that he has a good outlook. I think that's half the battle.

Did you make any decisions about how to deliver information to your kids?
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