My Dad just got diagnosed, I’m 21

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My Dad just got diagnosed, I’m 21

I don’t know where to start, I never thought I’d actually be here right now or ever. My dad has smoked since he was 14 and he’s 62 now. I’ve been telling him to stop since I could comprehend what cigarettes smell like. He had been going to some doctor appointments and telling me little about them, he doesn’t like to talk about his health or things that will worry me. My stepmom had told me he was getting a biopsy for some dark spots from a scan when he told me it was a regular colonoscopy no biggie. He had dark spots before this and nothing ever came of it... well 2 days ago my heart sank when he said “kid, I got cancer.” I’m not a priss but may be a little spoiled, I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and the only reason I’m here is because he’s carried me here metaphorically and physically. I think it’s hitting me so hard because I called this, and I’m only 21. 21 is the beginning of becoming an adult in my eyes, especially when your dad does everything for you. I still haven’t graduated college, or met the love of my life. My grandma was my rock and best friend and passed from an unexpected stroke almost 2 years ago to date. My dad is the second to her, and this news is just hitting me like a brick. I’m supposed to be going back to school in the fall 2 hours away from home and I can’t even leave the house because I’m scared something will happen while I’m not there and it’s been 2 days. As of right now, we know that it’s Adenocarcinoma and it’s in his lymph nodes between his lungs, that’s awfully close to his air supply. I don’t know what this means whatsoever because no one in our family has ever had cancer. These words are all semi-familiar from conversations with strangers when I thought I’d never be faced with this situation. We find out how much it’s spread and what stage it is in about. 4-5 days and it’s like every day I’m scared we’re losing time of getting it under control. As of right now he is physically in no pain and doing great.... I’m scared for how quickly it’s going to change. My dad doesn’t share his feelings at all and I think I’m the most empathetic person on the planet so he’s cool and collected and I’m shattering into a thousand pieces around him. I feel like I’m too young to be handling this and I’m nervous to see my strong man’s man of a dad turn into something he always didn’t want to show himself as, as weak. I know it will alter the way he sees/carries himself. I don’t want him to lose hope for himself but every part of me is already mourning. I feel like it’s a death sentence.... All my life and the career I’m working towards is doing art therapy with people who have cancer or mental illnesses and now I’m here and it’s become too personal.

if you perhaps have read this then I really do appreciate it. I feel like the only thing that will help me through this will be people who are also going through it/conquered the c word. Please tell me there is some way to keep hope or how to make the most of his life that he has left. 

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Re: My Dad just got diagnosed, I’m 21

Hi @Lexsteve 

It's been a week since you posted and perhaps by now your dad has had some more scans/tests and the picture might be a little clearer as to what is to happen in relation to a treatment plan. 


It is a shock when someone we love is diagnosed with life threatening disease, we literally can only take things step by step, loving them along the way.  Your dad may well be one who responds positively to treatment, in any event, doing things that bring joy and will later on bring positive memories could be made a priority. 


Perhaps in line with your career aspirations, youeyou might find it helpful to express your feelings in your art. Later you may be able to reflect on it and indeed it may give you an empathy and insight that only "one who has gone though this" can appreciate.


Sending gentle thoughts your way.




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