My Daddy Died Of Stomach Cancer

My daddy died of stomach cancer just last Wednesday which had spread to his liver, pancreas, intestines, and throat. He suffered for 4 months misdiagnosed.

I watched him waste away, and helpless to do anything. They found his condition only 5 days before he died. His funeral was yesterday.

The nurses were pulling him up to take him to hospice. A lot of blood poured from his mouth and he took a deep breath and was gone. He was aware of things. I'm devastated beyond repair.

He was my whole world. I need to know if he was really aware of the blood that poured from his mouth before he died.

That was horrible for me, and I had to be hospitalized. The grief is more than I can stand. Someone please help? Suzanne

Making Sense Of Why My Daddy Died Of Stomach Cancer

Suzanne, when I read your story, it brought back a lot of memories of when my father died of stomach cancer.

Like your daddy, my father was misdiagnosed by his GP and was just given medications to help with the symptoms he was experiencing.

I was a medical student at the time and I knew something was wrong, although I was in the earlier stages of my training so I was a bit naïve as to exactly the cause, I just knew it wasn't right.

It was only through pushing the doctor that he was further investigated and finally diagnosed.

I held a lot of pent up anger over that doctor for years, but it was only when I trained in gastroenterology, that I realised (in retrospect) it wouldn't have changed the outcome even if he had been diagnosed on the very day he went to see the doctor.

It is so awful to watch someone you love so much just waste away, with that feeling of helplessness we all feel.

One thing I would say though is this, your dad was so lucky to have you. I am sure having you around was such a source of comfort to him as I know it was with my father having his family with him.

This is the reality of stomach cancer for a lot of people and it isn't until we work out ways of preventing the disease - detecting it much, much earlier that survival from this retched condition will improve.

As a doctor, I have seen many people die, each unique in some way. Your dads death was clearly not the way anyone would want to die, but I hope you will seek some comfort knowing this.

In my experience, bleeding from the mouth is not uncommon and is well recognised at the end of some people’s lives. It is however something that happens when most of the persons ‘life’ has already gone and I don’t think I have seen one case where the person was fully ‘alert’ at the very last moment.

Bleeding is a painless act and although distressing to see, it is in a lot of ways a better death for some.

When someone bleeds, their blood pressure drops and the brain is painlessly starved of blood. As a consequence, the person becomes confused, unaware and then slips peacefully away peacefully.

I am sorry to be a little ‘graphic’ in this description and I hope you don’t get upset by this, but as you witnessed your daddy's, and have this in your mind I just want you to know that, whilst I wasn't there when your dad died, my experience would tell me that it is very unlikely he was aware.

Your grief is tangible and perfectly normal. It is something everyone goes through. You will cope though, it is not easy, but with time things will get easier for you.

That’s not to say you will forget your dad, quite the contrary, your daddy will always be with you. After all, he gave you the gift of life which is so important and of course the memories too.

I am sure that people have probably said that you look like one of your parents and this is because you are given half your genes from your mother and half from your father - it is their gift that made you.

They are part of you, along with all the other members of your family before them too. This is why your daddy will always be with you and a gift that can never be taken away.

Everything that your daddy was is with you and you will draw on this throughout your life. Take care, Peter

Suzanne's Reply:

I want you to know that you saved my life. I had decided that the pain of losing my daddy was something I couldn't live with, and I couldn't go on. Then, I read what you wrote for me, a treasure to be valued all of my life. I had already set up 50 antidepressants to take, and hope to see him again. I didn't care who found me. Peter, thank you so much. You gave me a new perspective on life, and I realize I have to seek grief counseling. Thank you again. I asked God to send me an angel, and He did. My angel's name is Peter. With much gratitude, Suzanne---- I am also very sorry for your loss from this terrible disease. 

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