My dad has terminal lung disease. Please help me come to terms with it.
April 24, 2014 8:59 AM Subscribe
I just found out my dad has pulmonary fibrosis. He and I are both too young to deal with this. Help?
posted by quincunx to Human Relations (26 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My dad told me yesterday that he has pulmonary fibrosis and is going to Houston this weekend to be put on a lung transplant list. I looked up the prognosis for pulmonary fibrosis, it’s 2-5 years, 7 if lucky. The lung transplant may help but may also lead to other complications.
I just…need help processing this.
As selfish as it may sound, the main thing is that I always assumed I had more time to get married and have kids, and the prospect of my dad not walking me down the aisle or holding his grandchildren is really choking me up right now.
My dad is 63. I’m 26 and the baby of my family. I only have one older biological sister, and we’re pretty estranged. She lives across the country, is 33 and married with a young son. She and my father never got along well-he and I are closer. It’s unfair that he gets to see her have kids, and my cousins have kids, and I’m the only one left unmarried and childless. I can’t help thinking it would be so much better if I was just married already, or if he had just little longer than he does. As it is, he is probably going to be dying throughout the only time I have to date and maybe get married or have my first child, if I’m lucky. And my children won’t know their grandfather.
I’ve had a complicated relationship with my father over the years. We’ve had ups and downs and have been distant and close at various points. I’ve had some emotional fall-out from my parents’ divorce, and he can be very type-A and in some ways is a very different person than I am, with different political and religious beliefs. But maybe I’ve always been his favorite (or at least, the child closest to him) and I also look like him and take after him personality-wise much more than I do my mother.
In the end I know my dad loves me. He’s always been there for me my whole life, has cared for me as best he can in his way, and has been unfailingly proud of me and happy to be my father and never fails to tell me this. Ultimately, whatever our petty differences and whatever his mistakes, I know he is a good enough father and man that witnessing him decline in health is going to hurt really, really bad, and I’m just not prepared to deal with this. I’m not prepared to be left on earth with only my stepfamily, mother, and estranged sister, either. At least I just recently moved back to my hometown, which is wonderful, because I’ll get to see him more often.
I asked my dad if he’d tell me the truth about how bad it was, and he promised he would. He said, “It’s pretty bad. I honestly don’t know how much time I’ll have left, honey. You need to think about yourself and your life right now, anyway, and don’t worry about me.” Then I had to leave because I was starting to cry and didn’t want to cry in front of him.
I love my dad and I don’t want to see him suffer. I don't want to see his quality of life decline greatly, or have him have to deal with major surgery and even more health complications. I feel like I need to talk to someone about this, but no one I know can really relate, except maybe one newish friend of mine whose father passed away when she was in her early 20s.
How do I deal with this? Has anyone else dealt with a parent’s illness and death before you were ready, at a young age, and have advice? Things you wish you’d done? Any first hand experience of pulmonary fibrosis would also be helpful. Thank you very much in advance.