How I lived my dads cancer story

I can still remember in the summer of 2012 my dad seemed healthy and he was still going to live for a long time. Of course being him being 81 I knew that everyday with him was a blessing as we never really knew when he would be taken from us. below is a photo of him, my mom and the kids on Olivia’s birthday in 2012.

Olivia's 2nd birthday 011

When I think back there was nothing that would have been a tell tale sign that year until he fell ill with a flu in late November just before his favourite time of year. He lost a massive amount of weight and of course we were concerned, but the Doctors at that point had said he is just very ill from the flu. This flu however never left and he became worse and worse as the weeks went by. below is a photo of him Christmas 2012.

IMG_4784I remember this Christmas because dad was usually the one knocking down our door by 7 or 8 am so the kids could open all their presents. That was his joy at Christmas was to watch his grand kids, his kids and mom open all their presents even more than opening his. This Christmas was different. He came late and we had to bring him to the house, he felt ill, he couldn’t warm up and only lasted about an hour and a half before he wanted to go home. It was heartbreaking as Christmas day was his day! Below is a photo taken in March 2013 after spending 9 or 10 weeks in hospital.


I remember well these days as I was going to the hospital 3,4 or 5 times a day looking after my family as well as looking after my mom and dad. We spent weeks doing tests and just trying to figure out what was happening to dad. I can still remember the moment the Doctor asked if we could go to the cafeteria as he needed to talk to me.  It was a Sunday morning about 9 am. As we sat I knew what was coming and he wasn’t sure how to approach me with the news as he was trying to deliver it gently.

I remember blurting out at him “he has cancer right?”. The Doctor just nodded, said yes and then started to talk about everything we would have to do now. My chest went heavy and my eyes welled up with tears as I felt completely helpless. I couldn’t do anything for him except be there for him. Below is the only photo I kept of my dad after he fell extremely ill. I couldn’t keep the rest as I never wanted to have those memories of him again. I want the memories where he was strong and healthy.


For 14 months day in and day out I watched my dad slowly slip away from us. The pain management they had him on had made him sometimes psychotic, sometimes he slept all day and other times he just had no energy.  He lost so much weight that he was just skin and bones and had no body fat to keep him warm and we would cover him in 4 or 5 blankets that had been warmed and he would always be so thankful to feel warmth.

By mid February the Doctors had told us it was any day now and he was transferred to “end of life”. I stayed every night with my dad and slept on a cot next to him so he would not die alone. He passed away March, 5, 2014 at 11:40 am shortly after I brought my mom as she stood holding his hand he was looking out the window at the sunshine. The only break of sunshine we had that day. I love you and miss you dad and I am so fortunate to have been able to be there for you the long journey you took. Below is how I like to remember my dad. The strong loving caring man that he is! A year for a cure campaign page #ayearforacure


A Year for a Cure Campaign | Baby Brain Memoirs

[…] Cancer affects children and adults alike and we’ll be sharing stories of hope, whether they have seen survival or death of a loved one. You can read Rod’s touching recollection of his dad’s cancer journey and how he eventually lost his battle: “How I lived my dads cancer story“! […]


I am sorry for your loss;( Losing a loved one is never easy but watching them die and not being able to do anything about it must have been really hard. I hope your Christmas was a good one despite the fact that your dad wasn’t there. I’m sure he was watching over all of you.

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