The Thing You Don’t Want To Hear

My Dad has prostate cancer. He got the results today. The doctor says it is localised and that he is confident it can be treated successfully, but he won’t be able to make a full prognosis until the results of the CAT scan and bone scan my Dad is having on Wednesday are in.

It has been a very emotional day. My Dad is afraid. I can hear it in his voice. His best friend died four years ago of prostate cancer and it was a grisly, horrible death. It is very sobering to acknowledge that the horror you saw someone else experience may be the very horror you have to face yourself.

When it comes to cancer there are so many stories of survival, of triumph. Yet there are just as many stories of loss, of defeat. It’s hard to know what to believe and what not to believe. It is probably best to go down the road of accepting that each case is different and depends entirely on the person involved. And to take each day at a time. Each hour. Each moment.

All of us have a fear of something. A thing we really don’t want to hear about or know about. In my Dad’s case it has always been cancer.

It is funny what happens to us when that thing, that demon we are scared of facing rises up before us.  We expect upon seeing it, upon knowing it that the sun will shine a little less brightly, that the sky will somehow be a paler shade of blue. That everything in the external world will change because we have changed, we are changing. But that doesn’t happen.

Things stay the same even if our worlds are falling apart around us. The outside world has nothing to do with it. We can weep on a serene, peaceful day just as we can rejoice in a thunderstorm. That the outside world remains constant as our hearts and minds are rendered inconstant is a comfort of sorts.

‘At least today I can see the sun shine,’ said my Dad. ‘That’s something.’

Small comfort for now, but definitely something.

36 thoughts on “The Thing You Don’t Want To Hear

  1. I’m so sorry, baby. I was hoping…. Ok, so we wait again for more results. I’m right there with you in spirit (um, that’s me huffing and puffing over your shoulder. It was a long flight).

    Killer and I are sending strength your way.


  2. The worst thing is the waiting … five years ago, I heard the dread words ‘I don’t like the look of this! I’m sending you for some tests’ … and, what followed were the worst five weeks I’ve ever experienced.

    Fortunately, they came back negative … but, sometimes I think, what if they’d been positive? Would I have had the strength to accept it, and just get on and enjoy the time I had left, as my late uncle did?

    (Mind you, he had a very close call during WWII, and reckoned he was on borrowed time, anyway. Maybe that helped?)


  3. I hate the “C-word” more than any other. It strikes terror in our hearts and upheaval in our lives. I do know what it’s like to have the world going on calmly all around you when yours feels like it is falling apart. My thoughts and prayers will be with your father. He is blessed that he has you there to care for him and love him… that is the best medicine he can receive.


  4. I am sorry to read this news Sel but I agree with the comments above, wait and see. Prostate cancer is very common in older men. Many times they live long beyond having this disease diagnosed and treated. Hang in there Sel.

    And take care of yourself too, ok!!!!

    Many hugs, G


  5. Selma, I am so sorry! I definitely know how it feels – the not knowing and hoping for the best! And yes there are many stories of survival and stories of loss but try not to think of that – it is a very scary period, I am scared shitless everyday! Take it a day at a time and be positive and strong – that gets you a long way!

    You are in my thoughts daily and there is a huge hug coming your way! Remeber how you said you would write a story about me surving and beating cancer’s ass – well now you will write it about your dad instead of me because he will beat cancer’s ass!


  6. Selma so sorry to hear about your father. I did a lot of research recently about prostate cancer as we included it in our last TV series. If it is the less agressive type as the doctor seems to be alluding to, there is a perfectly good chance he will beat it. Let’s hope that is the case.
    Wishing you strength.


  7. No one wants to hear they have cancer…yet…one in three of us will hear those words. Most any man living long enough will learn he has prostate cancer. I’m not looking forward to hearing that myself, but I hope to live long enough such that it becomes a possibility.

    Still…it’s a shock. A sobering reminder of the fragility of life. I pray the tests show that your father’s condition is treatable (the vast majority are). I pray you both will find peace of mind and that the outcome will be far, FAR better than the fear.


  8. Okay Selma… I’m back.

    I know how tough this is for you and especially your father, and the C word certainly comes with a lot of baggage… I’m so sorry to hear this is now happening in your life.

    We do tend to think the worst when confronted with cancer and its aftermath… but don’t give up hope, your father will find the resilience he needs to face this, and my hope is that you too will find that resilience.

    I’d like to share a personal experience with you.

    30 years ago next month, a loved one was sitting in the surgeon’s room after being operated on to have a particularly aggressive malignancy removed, and, at a time when chemo and radiation weren’t in wide use, he was told that he had a 5% chance of being alive that Christmas. Or if you prefer, he was given a 95% chance of not seeing the year out.

    So why am I telling you this? I’m that loved one.

    Not all bad news is accurate news, and I just want you to know that despite the devastating news I managed to find something within that helped me to cope with it and keep a reasonably positive attitude… and now, 30 years later, I’m still here.

    You and you’re father in my thoughts.



  9. KAREN:
    I wondered where all that huffing and puffing was coming from. It’s been a bit of a shock hearing the news but it is amazing how quickly resolve kicks in. We;ll do we have to do to get through it!

    Oh, absolutely. The waiting is terrible. I’m glad your tests came back negative but that five weeks waiting period must have been exhausting. Torture.

    I’ll look forward to you coming back….

    Thanks so much, hon. I’ve been at a loss for words myself.

    It does strike fear into us, doesn’t it? I think it’s partly because the sound of it is so ominous. I agree that support is so important during a time like this. I will give it in any way I can.

    It is extremely common and usually not fatal. It’s just being faced with a limited amount of time that is scary, I think. We all know we’re going to go, don’t we? But it is more sobering if a timeframe is put on it.


  10. TBALL:
    I know you know how it feels, hon. I admire how you have coped with it so much. You are an inspiration to me. I’ll make a deal with you – I’ll write a story about how both you and my Dad beat cancer’s ass. There might even be fireworks at the end!

    I got your delivery of sunshine today. It is a beautiful, sunny winter’s day!!

    Thanks so much. I really appreciate that.

    I’m definitely hoping it is the less aggressive type. That seems to be the indication at the moment. My neighbour had prostate cancer 10 years ago and is completely well now. It isn’t always terminal. We just have to remember that at the moment.

    It’s that reminder of the fragility of life that gets us, I think. We may have power over many things as humans but we have no power over death when it comes for us.

    I am praying you will be one of those who DON’T hear they have it.

    I can’t tell you how much that means to me. You are such a lovely person. Thank you !!

    Thank you. I will.


  11. BEAR:
    I am in tears now. Your generosity in sharing your story is overwhelming. Right now I am saying a little prayer of thanks that you survived because I really can’t imagine you not being around.

    I know my father will find that resilience too. That is one of the amazing things about the human spirit. Oh, Bear, your story has touched me so much. Thank you for sharing it. I am so glad you are still with us. XXXX


  12. MELEAH:
    Thanks, hon. It is a very difficult time but we will get through it. I really appreciate your kind wishes.

    I am really grateful for that. It will help a lot!!


  13. Selma, I am sorry for this news but glad so glad docs giving him encouraging words. my father had prostate cancer and it was treated. it does not have to go down like his friend (rest his soul). Prayers being sent your way godspeed…


  14. Old Grizz hates to hear that news. My prayers go out to you and your father, especially your father. It is easy for us to say he can beat it but it is hard for him to go through it. 4 years ago my wife was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer..The doctors had grim looks on their faces and said we cannot tell you how sorry we are. My wife smiled and I’ll be alright. She kept her positive attitude through all the chemo and radiation. Today she is cancer free. I know these stories do not change anything for you. You need to support him and help him keep a positive outlook. Good Luck


  15. I am so sorry for this pain. I can tell from your beautiful words that you are indeed a very wise woman. I was so moved by your father’s words…”at least I can see the sun.” I am an older woman and I can tell you that age does give you strength you never knew you had.

    Wish your father well…we will all say a prayer for strength for you all.



  16. Everyone else has already given you love and positive stories… I don’t have anything else to add exceept love and support.

    Oh, and this. Tell you dad to change his eating habits. My dad did this too late to save himself, but it was working – alkalize. Cancer grows in acidic conditions – between negative emotions and poor eating the world has created a breeding ground for cancer, because our bodies are so acidic. There are books out there that tell how to get your body on track – get one for him. That’s not to say genetics and so forth don’t come into play… I’m just saying his body will be stronger, the cancer will be less apt to spread, and he’ll have a better chance – and it gives him a way to fight for life rather than focusing on his fear, which is the worst he can do.

    love ya


  17. Oh my dear Selma. Hang in there. I’m sure he’s a fighter and together you can get through this. We’re going to be rooting for you dad.


  18. I am so very sorry to read this. It is so scary, I know. I hope you can hear my prayers and feel my support from across the ocean (hug). Be well, Selma.


  19. I’m so sorry dearest heart. I know what makes this sort of thing even harder is when you don’t see eye-to-eye with the person who has become ill and yet now you feel that you have to be the one to make a concession out of respect for their condition. But I know he’s still your dad and you love him and I’m sure you and your parents will be able to resolve the issues quickly with no more hurt. I wish you strength.


    I’m so glad to hear your Dad recovered. That is good news. It gives me hope!

    Thanks for the award. I’ll be over shortly!

    EMPLOYEE 3699:
    I really appreciate that. Thanks so much!

    Thanks, hon. I appreciate your concern and kind words.

    I am delighted to hear your wife has recovered. That is wonderful. Your wife sounds like an amazing woman. I admire her strength. Thanks for sharing such a brilliant story!


  21. B:
    What a lovely comment. I agree about the strength. I have seen it in many people I know. I really appreciate your kind wishes!!

    It’s hard not to focus on the fear, I guess, but I completely understand your point. Thanks for all the advice about diet and so on – I’ll pass it on to my Dad. Cheers, hon.

    How lovely you are. Thank you!

    Awww, thank you!

    I really do appreciate your prayers. They mean a lot.

    I definitely got those prayers. It is scary but all the support I have had has been phenomenal. I am truly humbled.

    You are so right. That has made this whole situation doubly hard. No more hurt would be great. I would welcome it. Thanks, hon.


  22. God Bless You, Selma, for being such a gift to your parents. I wish your Dad much success in his operations/surgery(I’m reading your posts in reverse order, so I’m aware he may have surgery now).
    btw, My honey, Hansoo’s Daddy had Prostate Cancer, too, and he defeated it several years ago. It CAN be done!
    Your Daddy may wish to start now, taking the supplement Lycopene, and/or eating LOTS of grilled tomatoes(the heating/cooking of tomatoes makes the lycopene found in tomatoes, much more “accessible” to the body. Spaghetti sauce, and tomato salsas are also great ways to get Lycopene!
    It has been PROVEN to reduce cancer growth, and to PREVENT re-occurence.
    Hansoo’s Daddy takes “Saw Palmetto” supplement for prostate health, too.


  23. LISA:
    Thanks for all the tips. My Dad is not a big veggie eater which is something he needs to address. I didn’t know that about lycopene but it does makes sense because I read somewhere that people who follow a Mediterranean diet (lots of tomatoes, garlic, fresh fish etc) have a lower incidence of cancer. I am really grateful for your advice!


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