Like most people, I really don't know where to start.
There are just no words to describe how you can go from cloud 9 to your world be shattered and crumbling around you. I reside overseas, so it's already hard enough being away from my loved ones, but I just can't describe the angst I felt when I woke in the morning in late March 2017 to a message that my dearest beloved Dad had collapsed at home in the night and was rushed to hospital in the morning. Let me just take a minute here to acknowledge how wonderful, strong, resilient and couragous, Mum is. Going back and forth with calls, messages and texts with home whilst they were trying to figure out what was wrong with this normally healthly 60 year old man, was so hard; the flight home two days later fellt like eternity, but came no where near close to how hard it was sitting in the oncologists office a week later to hear that my beloved Father has terminal stage 4 cancer. Initially they recommdended a course of radiotherapy to see if that made him 'comfortable' and apply for a new clinical trial for him, and then they'd discuss next steps, but after receiving the results of the PET scan, they've now incorporated chemotherapy into the mix, whilst they're waiting for their trial to start. He's just finished his set of radiotherapy and it seems to have made him worse... I wonder some days if we were just better off not knowing. I mean, he had absolutely no signs/symptoms of this devastating illness, and since then, it's been one set back after another.
Things just seem to be moving forward in a numbing blur. A week after the diagnosis, I returned to my overseas location and back to work, although my head is not fully in the game. Mum has been so strong, courageous, supportive, amazing, and is taking very good care of Dad, but I can't help feel a level of guilt for not being there day to day to assist. I'm planning my next trip back home, to give Mum some well needed rest herself, but timing seems crucial now and it's really hard to tell what timing is right when you aren't thinking clearly.
I feel like the fun has been taken out of my sails and if I have a day where I have a laugh, it's deemed a good day. My heartbreak is nothing compared to what my Dad is going through, but I struggle to know what 'normal' is anymore.
So sorry to read the news of your father. A cancer diagnosis is awful in itself but hearing that it's terminal is such difficult news to bear - for both the person themselves and for the family. Those who are caring, either up close or from a distance (and that what it seems to be for you) will have lots of emotions about what it's like for them too, including guilt... frustration... fear.
Cancer Council runs a couple of Telephone Support Groups (Carer and Advanced Cancer) that could be helpful for both your dad and your mum. If they haven't already, they could call 13 11 20 (from within Australia) to find out more.
Take care - and stay in touch if you like through this community.
(Online Community Team Member)