Where to begin... So much has changed in the 10 months since i lost my dad. but its still so heartbreaking to think about and its something i often think of.
Im back in the USA, have been here now since November 2012. initially i was only coming back for 3 months to get some relaxation and quality time with Nick after the dramas that came with executing a will and all that.
The biggest change came about in December 2012 just 4 months after loosing my Father i found out that Nick and i were expecting a baby (due september 2013). We also finally tied the knot after 2.5 yrs of an overseas/long distance relationship. It was a very small affair (just 2 other people and i got to wear my jeans !!!)
The first 3 months of being pregnant were extremely hard to deal with, not because of morning sickness or anything like that (i got very luck and basically skipped all morning sickness!) I found it hard to handle changing hormones while still grieving my father.
i wish my dad was around for whats to come in september... He was always the one i went to when i was scared or hurting or in trouble and with out him i dont know what to do! i know hes with me but its not the same. It pains me that my son (yes we found out its a little boy!!) wont know his grandparents (my parents -- either of them) and nicks parents live so far away that i dont know when he will see them either.
I am SUPER excited to hit Australian soil again in March 2014 for my big brothers wedding. Though a 15.5 hr flight (dallas-sydney) with a 6 month old isnt going to be fun LOL. And at least i wont have to do it alone... because nick is finally coming home with me 🙂 and im going to try convincing him that we should move there with in the year.
As for the baby, Besides making me crave beer (Hahn super dry!!!!!) i feel he already has some of my better qualities in him that i got from my dad.... The good taste in beer and the ability to throw a good punch/kick (hes a bit of a ninja ha ha ha)
Nick and i have decided to give him my father's name "Bruce" as a middle name in honor of my dad. though finding a first name to match bruce wasnt easy... so we are leaning toward Oliver as a first name. but its not set in stone.
I guess in so many ways im still missing my dad and i kknow its more then normal. But i dont really have anyone here in the USA who understands what im going through (especially being pregnant and hormonal). I really just needed to get some stuff out.
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So after a whole lot of dicking around... i was set to land back in sydney on monday BUT there was a massive thunderstorm and i missed my connection in Dallas. I had to stay in a hotel (a very nice one at the expense of American Airlines LOL) till my next possible flight out at 9:55pm the next evening. So i didnt actually get home till tuesday morning.
It was strange being home for the first time since loosing my dad, and it still upsets me that during this all i had to say goodbye to nick again because with such short notice he couldnt get the time off to come with me.
I feel like everything that has to be done after my father passed is done and ive been useless to my brothers. And while in the USA no one could get the money from banks because in the end my dad wanted me to execute the will and leave my brother out because of his busy job. All ive managed to do is the funeral programs and a photo tribute(because im pretty tech savvy and my brothers are not so skilled in that department).
Its still so unreal he isnt here. and i dont think id have coped if i was here when it all happened. While my heart is broken and i feel so lost with out him, i take comfort knowing he is not in pain anymore.
Today is his funeral.... and im not ready to face this day. its also 1:30 am and im HORRIBLY jet lagged :(
the only thing making home life bearable is that my little brother got a dog. so i know im never alone in the house. he got an 8 month old staffie named trouble. and he really is trouble when i leave him alone in the house.
any way beautiful people take care of yourselves and your loved ones <3
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I hope you are ok. One of the best things i did as a carer was take an hour or two for my self every once in a while (easier said then done most of the time i know) But id make an appointment to get my hair or my nails done once every 3 weeks and get on here and rabble on because it really helped having people who know what you're going through. My dad was a chain smoker... till the very end and he just never saw a reason to stop when he knew what was coming. I do hope you find some rest and things get a bit easier for you.
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i head home from the USA tonight. My big brother has been doing a huge amount of stuff while he gave me a few extra days here with Nick. and i really did need it. i cant imagine if i had been at home when this happened. i would have had no one to just hold me while i cried.
it all still feels so un real to me and while my heart is broken i know it will get worse before it gets better.
i am truly thankful his pain is over. the cancer took away so much from him... but he kept his spirit till the end. and after two rounds of radiotherapy i just hope that his fighting will is something i have inherited.
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its 10 am here in the USA and about 4 hours ago i had a call from my big brother.... he would have only called me for one thing... to tell my my father has passed away.
im not sure how to process everything right now, its not real to me yet being so far away.
all i know is its going to be a long few weeks for me as i now have to get ready to return home early and i have a lot to do.
he wasnt just my father... he was my best friend. and im going to miss him so much.
i dont really know what else to say yet.
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i booked the trip on a whim, just figured it would be a good time you know, my money was going well, my dad seemed to be holding up ok and i felt good when i booked it. im still feeling a bit anxious about leaving but i know when i get in the air ill be fine and know i have done so much over the last 3 weeks to make sure he was taken care of. ive lost about 3 kgs just in the running around and stocking up things in the house ha ha ha (nice bonus for me 😛 ) and like i told my brothers, the hospital staff and my dad im only a $250 ticket change and 2 days away if im needed desperately. I really cant wait to spend some quality time with my man <3
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Life truly isnt fair sometimes. And the title of your blog is very true... Carers really do need to talk! I have found this website to be one of the most helpful tools while caring for my dad. Sometimes the people around you just have no idea what your going through and it can be really hard and frustrating for the carer.
I hope for the best possible news for you both!
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Hey rubes, Sorry its taken so long for me to get back to you. Thank you for the kind words.
This website is by far the only place i can be truly honest about the way things are... its like the only people who understand are those going through similar things.
Hope you are doing well :)
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So i am set to take 6 weeks of respite leave in just two days.... while i have been planning this for the last 3 weeks it still doesnt feel real and i dont know if im 100% ready to go away.
im feeling all sorts of things.... anxiety, guilt, worry, stress, selfish and im happy and excited at the same time!
i do know from reading online that its totally normal to feel this way. But reading something sometimes doesnt mean the feelings just go away and i know i need a break but i feel bad taking one. The last break i took was for 2 and a half weeks... I cried at the airport, got panicky that no one was going to care for him, to help him out. and back then he was still able to get outside and move with more ease. This time.... well he isnt as fit as he was then... so im expecting more anxiety and worry.
I did think of postponing the trip. All the Dr's and Nurses and even the social worker, and my aunty have told me to go. Im not any good to him if im burnt out, and they are right.
I remember back to when i had a career... i was a child care worker for 8 years mainly working with under 3 yr olds. at least every 6 months... i needed a break, whether it was a day or two or a week or two.. i guess this is similar.
i may have mentioned before here i dont have a very big support network, in fact i can count the people who truly help me on half of one hand. I spent an hour on the phone with a social worker a few days back... and after my experience with them (not being a good one) it was nice to hear a bit of praise (not that i seek it) it was just nice for someone to acknowledge all the things i do and see things from my side. and for a complete stranger to see when my own family cant made me feel pretty damned good for a change.
Things got rough at home last week when my dad was feeling really unwell and i had to take him back to the hospital. They confirmed what i knew two months ago that his cancer had spread to the hip area. They said it was arthritis... but he was just in toooooo much pain. He now barely leaves the house.
Ive been talking with people from Sacred Heart, a palliative care team and they have been great for me. Not too sure how willing my dad is though to let other people beside me help him. It makes me see just how much he relies on me for every day things, as well as company and emotional support (even tho he is a "tough as nails" kinda guy). He seems willing to go in to palliative care when the time comes because the cancer in his hip area is going to dissolve the bone and break his hip eventually and he will be stuck in a bed or wheel chair and we just dont have the facilities at home (on the 2nd floor of our building) to care properly for him. And on top of all that the pain will get a whole lot worse.
its the hardest thing ive watched in my reasonably short life time. Watching the man i idolize deteriorate so slowly and painfully.
we finalized the will a few days ago. i think he is relieved its all in order. i do know its one less thing i worry about.
ive been doing a fair bit of deep thinking/soul searching in some of my down time. I have taken up cross stitch as my escape and it is a really great hobby... i absolutely love it. I throw some x-men cartoons in the DVD player and stitch and think about things. Its my own personal version of a relaxing bubble bath. Lately i have been thinking of ways i can repay the people who help me through this. The people who have taken care of my dad, The Fantastic Nurses in the Radiation oncology department at Prince of Wales. Flowers have always been an empty gesture to me.(funny story - sorry to side track.. The only man to ever give me flowers got hit with them.... Just like that relationship, they wilt and die and leave mess for me to clean up!!!) I was very in to cup cake decorating not long before my dad got sick and i was thinking maybe i can do some special ones for the staff. I also plan on making a donation of sorts to the department... They have cared for both my parents now... and its something ive wanted to do for a while.
While i know the worst is yet to come... i am looking forward to spending my 27th birthday with my wonderful fiance in America. Just a nice dinner at this little Mexican place he took me on my first visit over there with him.
There will always be ups and downs in life... i feel like i know that all to well by now. But ive been down for so long now its getting harder and harder to get back up after every blow.
i may not get back on before my trip as i still havent packed or finished up with the many many things left on my to do list LOL.
till then, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
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well Friday i had to make some calls and get my dad back out to see his specialist.... He really wasnt looking too good and for him to even allow me to call the doctors was his way of saying im not doing so great.
With the mouth cancer already being aggressive we knew the radiotherapy would only slow down the growth... it was never a cure but he responded so well to it. Now here we are 6 months later and he's going back for two more sessions to try and slow down a tumor that has appeared on the other side of his chin. they have basically told my dad now at the hospital it most likely wont be the actual cancer that kills him, it will be that he wont be able to eat or drink and his body will slowly just shut down.
I leave for my trip in 9 days and i almost cancelled it... but my family has really encouraged me to keep the dates set. i dont know if this is because they know i need some "me" time or if they know i wont get another chance this year.
I have had to do what i never thought i would in organizing a palliative care team from the hospital to come out and put some modifications in the house to help my dad with some easier mobility while im away... as well as having them visit when im gone (i am one of those over protective worrying types and it does drive people mad... BUT i know every base is covered when sh*t hits the fan).
I am REALLY happy now that i started organizing everything last week and that my kitchen pantry is full (over full) with everything he can eat and drink, at least a month supply. From Tuesday next week... i wont have a moment left to myself during day hours anyway.
i spoke to my aunty yesterday.... she keeps pushing me to get power of attorney... i have no idea what this involves... or what it means. i just know if he doesn't make a will i have control of his assets or something like that.
BUT on a plus note... ive been spending a lot of time with my dad the last week or so ... more so then normal. just talking, laughing, complaining (something we both do well). And if this is all the time i have left with him then i thank heaven that ive been here with him every step of the way. Regardless of how i have been perceived by others as a robot, shut off with no feelings about it (yes i have been told to my face that im just being bossy and have no emotion about my dad by a very close family member none the less) i have realized that none of this is going to matter... i am ALWAYS going to remember my dad the way he was and i am always going to remember the last year ive had with him and treasure it... because i got to have what neither of my brothers have ever had and thats a close and loving relationship with my father... the one man who never showed us emotion as children, who though me that "thommo's never give up" ( i may need to explain my surname is Thompson and my dad was known to the boys at the pub as thommo), and despite the hardships my family has faced when i finally loose my dad, i wont have any regrets because i got to show him how much i love him and i got to be there.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.