Helena’s Story

by | Jan 16, 2023 | Family

When I visited my parents during the summer of 2019, my dad told me that his ribs were in constant pain. After going to an orthopedic, dermatologist, and going from one doctor to another, he finally took a CT scan. To everyone’s surprise, he was told that he had inflammation in his gallbladder and needed immediate surgery. Fortunately, the operation was quick, but about a month later, biopsy results showed that he had cancer in his gallbladder. That day, he was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer. From then on, my siblings and I researched so many things, such as diet and lifestyle recommendations to help with his cancer.

Cancer patients and their families continue to face a crossroads of choices while fighting their illnesses. After being diagnosed, we faced many uncertainties upon hearing the shocking news and felt like we were in a dark tunnel. We had to make countless decisions about whether or not to undergo surgery, which doctor to get the surgery from, whether to try chemotherapy or natural treatment, what kind of food to eat, and how much.

My dad was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer at the age of 79, and he seems to be grateful for his life this far and wants to live and die while enjoying the rest of his life despite his illness.

But from his daughter’s point of view, I continue to nag him a lot, hoping that he would work out harder, cut down on bad food, and do his best to receive treatments, but my father chooses to live stress-free. To this day, as he is still battling cancer, he does what he wants to do, eats what he wants to eat, bought himself a new car, meets with friends, travels, and watches TV dramas he wants to watch.

Since a few years passed after his diagnosis, now that I think about it, it seems that the way for patients and their families to have no regrets is to allow patients to live as they wish because there is no right answer to treating cancer. While my dad was fighting cancer, I heard a lot of stories from family members who were in the same situation as me. There were cases where the results were not good even though they were devoted to receiving treatment, and there were people who lived for several years, even if they were in a terminal stage.

It’s hard to understand how much your heart breaks as a cancer patient’s family unless someone is in a similar situation. Some of my friends lost a family member when they were young, but at the time, I didn’t understand the extent of their grief. But now I do, and the struggle is real.

In my opinion, what we should do is support and honor patients who are accepting their situation and want to live with a comfortable mind. I think the most important thing is to spend as much time as we can together to leave more meaningful and enjoyable memories to carry on for the rest of our lives. I want to encourage all of us to make the most of what this life has to offer us because the time each of us has we have in life is limited.

Sharing this story helped me reflect and process my emotions about my dad’s cancer journey. I want to thank the Living Hope Project for creating this safe space and supportive community for patients and families who are fighting cancer. It gives us a lot of encouragement to spread hope and know that we are not alone.

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