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  • My Father is battling stage 4 kidney cancer.



    4 replies

    I am a nurse. I am very familiar with the dying process. I see it regularly and help keep patients comfortable through the process and I also help support the family members throughout the process. 

    Just because I am familiar with it doesn't make it easy or stress free in anyway. Knowing what to expect isn't always a comfort. 

    My own father was recently diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma that has spread to his lungs and his hip. He relies on me a lot for support and advice with the medical aspect of it all. I love him immensely and even though I do not want to lose him. I know death finds us all and none are immune. Currently, his quality of life is decent although he has some really bad days of feeling and being horribly sick. He is not bed ridden and is able to get up and down for activities of daily living but he is not totally pain free. I have watched him decline over the course of 6 months and lose 60lbs. His doctor is kind and offers encouragement and Dad is continuing treatments and desperately wants to live. He is also coping with the situation with a lot of denial.

    This is the part I struggle with. I know what's coming and I feel a responsibility to help he and my mother get things in order to try and prepare and make ready.....???? I know none of us are ever ready. But I guess being in the medical field I have strong feelings on the matter. I see things worse than death daily. I do not want my dad to put himself through all of that...A hopeless miserable losing battle! I know this is ultimately his decision and I will fight with him as long as he wishes to. But he nor my mother see the things I have seen. I have tried to discuss DNR status. I have tried to discuss death.  But it is ultimately a failure every time and I just end up feeling I have dashed hopes and I feel like they believe I have given up. I have not given up. I will continue the fight, but it is difficult to watch, and I am afraid. His oncologist has told he and my mother there is not a cure and remission at this point is not possible. 

    It's not that I want Dad or Mom to stop treatments or dash hopes... But I also don't wish him to be miserable or drag himself through the mud before the inevitable eventually happens regardless. Quality of life is so much more than quantity....

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  • ckalsi

    My heart goes out to you. I found myself in a simliar position late last year, sadly my Dad passed away in January 2016. he was diagnosed terminal from the beginning but just didnt want to talk about! There was no discussion about anything to do with death or dying, although he did describe himself as terminal so there was a level of acceptance. I saw the scans for myself, and although didnt want to negative I could see the cancer had spread considerably. Some people just find talking about it too much and just cant bear to face it. Everyone s at different stages in the process

    and you are also managing your own emotions

    Its really hard and a lonely place at times, and theres no easy answer. Just keep talking to people and expressing your feelings, as it can be really hard on the carers.

    Take Care

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  • Support

    Hi JenRN


    I am sorry to read about your father and appreciate that it is a very different experience for you; as you are now the child and not the nurse. We have a whole section on denial which you can find here: I also can understand your dilemma with regards to things like DNR status, and the importance in having your Dad’s wishes down in black and white. Do you think maybe our publication ‘Planning Ahead’ might help you to start the conversation with your mum and dad? We could always post one out to you ( Another organisation that may be able to help you broach these difficult conversations is . If you would like to talk to us about your feelings please contact us on 0800 090 2309.



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  • Ines


    I am 20 years old, and I´m Portuguese, so sorry for any mistakes I will do in the text. 

    Two years ago, I and my family discovered that my dad had Kidney cancer, stage 4, and he got one of his kidney's removed, after two weeks of the diagnostic. 

    After 5 months of the surgery, we found out that he had metastases in the lungs. The first time I was told my dad had cancer I couldn't believe. It seems that cancer only happens in other's relatives, and when it happens to our dad it seems only a dream. So when I found out that the cancer was also in his lungs I felt that someone took the floor from me. Everything felt, my whole world. From there, we got the information that my father's average life expectancy was around 3 to 5 years. I was 19 back then and I realized I knew nothing about reality. This type of cancer does not react to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so he started an oral treatment, whose goal is to slow death, which means: slow the progress of cancer cells. It does not have a cure, and and the probability of total remission is very low.

    Today I am almost 21, my dad is still alive, goes to work, does trekking and has a decent kind of life. He has periods of very intensive secondary effects. Every time I say goodbye to him, it hurts, and I give him a long hug, that tastes a lifetime happiness. I still fell that someone took my future with him, where he would be present. 

    As the times goes by my fear grows... because I know his death will be near. It hurts every day, and every time I look at him and my mom. I never imagined I had to see my mother aging alone...

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  • Support


    Hi Ines,


    I am sorry to read about your dad’s diagnosis. Caring for someone who has a terminal illness can mean facing unique issues. It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions, some of which at times can feel overwhelming.


    Many people tell us that talking about their feelings can help, whether that is with a family member, friend, health care professional or counsellor. Hopefully other members of the community will be able to share their coping mechanisms with you. You may find some of the information here helpful:


    It is lovely to read that dad is still able to get out and do the things that he enjoys when he is feeling well enough. Whilst I understand that looking to the future is difficult the memories you make with dad now will help you at latter stages.


    If you would like to talk about things in more detail please call our Freephone Support Line on 0800 090 2309, please be aware that if you would prefer to speak to us in Portuguese we can arrange to get a translator on the call with us. Or you can get in touch with us via Web chat:


    Best wishes


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