My father diagnosed 2 months after my mam died. At first I thought he was just going through the grieving process, but he didn't want to eat, had swelling of the legs, felt tired and wasn't looking after himself. He had blood taken which showed he was very anaemic and had to have a blood transfusion.
They carried out tests and told us he had stomach cancer which was blocking his stomach. They think he has had stomach cancer for about 2 years. His general health was not good to be operated on or have chemo, he has had a stent put in to make him comfortable.
He is now at home with palliative care. He has his family to help him through to the end, such a shock so close to my mam passing away. Laura, UK
Laura thanks for sharing your fathers stomach cancer. Life is a rollercoaster and has interesting ups and downs, no more so than following the death of a spouse. You actually have a have a 66% chance of dying statistically in the first three months and about a 50% chance within the first year. I have seen this so many times over my career and there are many reasons why this might be.
Symptoms such as not wanting to eat (what doctors refer to as anorexia), swelling of the legs (due to a variety of different reasons including low protein levels in the blood, obstruction of the lymphatic drainage from the legs and other reasons), tiredness due to the tumour and the anaemia as well as a general deterioration are usually late signs of the disease.
Some people with cancer are aware of symptoms, but chose to neglect them in the hope they will go away, whereas others are too frightened to see the doctor to get checked. I always emphasise the importance of having symptoms checked, no matter how trivial they are. Early detection is so important to survival with this condition. Knowing your fathers symptoms will make you and your family more aware of this too.
Sadly the condition is often picked up too late to have surgery or chemotherapy and you have experienced this first hand with your father. Hopefully the stent will help him gain some nutrition and make eating more comfortable for him too.
Your father is very lucky to have a very supportive family around him and that will be of some comfort to him as he nears the end of his life. I am sure he will also have good support from the palliative care services available to him in the UK, particularly through the MacMillan and Marie Curie nurses network.
Do come back and update on any concerns or advice that you may need. Best wishes to you and your family.