Dealing with Dad – new blog

... dark waters ...

... dark waters ...

I found out about this blog from friend and fellow “Cancer Warrior” Mel Majoros from a post on Facebook.  (I really need to learn how to use this iconic resource more effectively.)  It is written from the viewpoint of an elderly renal patient’s son and daughter.  As this blogger writes in his introduction, “As he reaches the end of his life, he is denying his current situation and lashing out at the people around him. This is a blog about our experiences with dad and how we are coping with the situation as he approaches the end of his life. We love dad and want what he has said he always wanted: quality time with the family.  However we are at a loss for how to do that given his rage and anger towards us. We hope others that have gone through this situation before and people going through it now will find some solace in our stories and comment on how we can better deal with dad.” I thought that this approach is somewhat unique in our world of precious cancer blogs, not that dysfunctional anger rarely happens but rather people rarely have the courage to write about it. Dealing With Dad

A quick background. Our dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer over 10 years ago. First doctor gave him 6 months to live. After 10 years and a dozen major surgeries, dad is still alive. The man is a fighter. But he is coming to the end but wants nothing to do with it. Wednesday before Thanksgiving, his kidney’s failed. His doctor told him to go straight to the emergency room for emergency dialysis, but instead, he boarded a flight to Boston to spend Thanksgiving with his two older children (us), son-in-law, our younger half-brother, and his first wife (our mom) and her husband of 30 years. It was a Thanksgiving to remember and that post is coming soon.

But I wanted to start this off with our new names – “Piece of Shit” and “Asshole”. Piece of Shit is my sister. She is an accomplished professional with a great husband living in Chicago, IL. I am Asshole. I run a small organization and am a single guy living in Washington, DC. We both like to think that despite our short-comings and peccadilloes, that we are good people. At least our family and friends humor us enough to think so.

Dad, on the other had, decided that we are Piece of Shit and Asshole. He only renamed us recently. He used to just tell us to “blow it out your ass” or “go fuck yourself.” I guess we had not completely embodied those actions, so we kept our given names for a while. But now that we fully represent and embody blowing it out your ass and fucking yourself, we have progressed form the verbs to pronouns. I wonder if the tags on my Christmas presents will read “To: Asshole; From: Dad.”

We love our dad, as hard as that is some times. This blog is about dealing with the changes our father has gone through and the emotional challenges he and we face as he becomes less and less himself and closer and closer to death. Why share it? We need an outlet. While our dad has never been a touchy feely guy (our stories are not represented in Tim Russert’s Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons), it has been painful seeing and experiencing him becoming someone else. So often, we just stand dumb struck and ask ourselves, “what do we do?!” We are certain that despite hearing from everyone that, “this is the worst case scenario,” that there are others out there going through the same thing. We hope to hear and learn from your experiences and that you find a little comfort in ours.

Thank you for following. We will be posting stories – the good, bad and ugly – as they arise and sharing with you some of the “classics,” like barging into the kitchen at a restaurant and screaming at the chef for giving him food poisoning (reality was he was sick from the cancer drugs). Or who knows what will happen tonight at his holiday party…

Thank you for following …

from: Dealing With Dad


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.


Dealing with Dad – new blog — 6 Comments

  1. Hi, After reading your blogs felt I had to say something.
    I do feel so sorry for you all at this very trying time. I aslo can relate to how your dad must be feeling.
    Angry,hurt he wont want to miss all the good times with you guys too.You are truely blessed to have the strenght to carry on, I do know what you mean all the hospital visits the tests they all do take their toil I had grade 3 breast Cancer, had the test the day before Christmas and went away on holiday thinking I was a dead girl walking and this would be my last holiday. That was 2 years ago now. I read your stories thank you for sharing, it gives hope to all, thought I had it bad but you made me see we are not alone. I had grade 3 breast cancer went through the Chemo badly collapsing twice then the op and rad. The treatments nearly killed me and I am still in pain all the time two years down the line. But in all the thick of it I visited a web site called read their stories and bought a CD which helped me every day that I listened to it. From time to time I still take it out when I feel low and it helps. I done the walk for life and will be doing it again this year. My way of saying thank you for still being here
    Thanks you for sharing your story visit the web site see my story there
    good luck with your continued story

  2. Wow, that sounds really tough on all of you. It sounds like you’re dad would not be open to therapy but you and your family might want to consider it for your own selves. I have seen my own parents go thru cancer (one survivor and one not) and am going thru my own cancer now and the best thing I did for me and my partner is get some therapy. It really helps me understand my own struggle as well as see what my partner is dealing with too. Good luck to you and try and remember when it is all over that it wasn’t really your dad calling you the asshole. Blame it on the cancer and remember all the good times.

  3. Thank you all for your comments. Jenny, I admire your strength. the ability to look cancer in the face and acknowledge it is on of the strongest acts… maybe I am asking too much of dad to do the same. And Janine, yes, dad refuses even the thought that he is week physically or mentally. I have to say thank you and that I am blessed to all my friends and family that have been there for me. And all of you who read the blog have provided the outlet I so badly needed to share the story and start my healing process with myself and with dad. Thank you again and I hope you continue to follow us at Best, Bro

  4. Hi Bro,
    Many Thank’s for your reply, still had more insite to offer you for what it is worth. This is a battle at this time you are fighting. Always remember through it all he is your dad and loves you so. It’s the frustation of not being able to make everything alright that gets him angry. Waking up in pain and suffering is hard its not alway possible to be nice to your love ones at the same time. But take good heart when his war has ended you and yours will have the comfort of knowing you were there at his time of need. God bless you sir and I hope your time of trials will be short.

  5. Hello. I just wanted to say that I lost both my parents to cancer and I find myself at nearly 41 will renal cell carcinoma. I am 4weeks post op. I remember living with my parents when they had bothe been diagnosed and they were both angry but as they both had cancer I was the butt of that anger. Very hard for my 3 older brothers to comprehend as they didn’t live with it so didn’t see it. Ironis I get cancer out of the four of us! I am guessing that your father has since passed away or maybe you are still dealing with the same situation? I just hope things are better for you. Truly

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