17th June 2002
I didn't know how to title this thread. I just feel the need to 'do' something. I'm not after sympathy, I'm just trying to make something good out of something bad.
At 2am (GMT) Saturday morning, my dad lost his unfortunately brief fight against cancer. This time last year, he was fine. But he'd apparently found an odd growth near his armpit - he thought it was a 'skin tag', and didn't go to the doctors (ironically because he was scared of doctors - he's since seen more doctors than most of us see in our entire lives!).
As of January, it had become a large tumour. It was removed in April, but grew back bigger than ever before Birmingham hospital could deliver clean-up radiotherapy treatment three weeks later. In May, it spread to his lymph nodes, his lungs, his shoulder, and his neck. He couldn't have chemotherapy, as an existing heart condition would have meant almost-certain death. At the start of June, he was rushed to hospital with hypercalcemia - his bones were leaking calcium into his blood - and as quickly as they could treat it, it got worse. It was like watching somebody get severe dementia in the space of a few days. At this point the doctors decided to risk chemotherapy on him despite the possible complications, but then he developed an infection at the site of his operation wound that wouldn't clear, no matter how many antibiotics they pumped him with. Last Monday, both the doctors on his ward and the specialist cancer doctors in Birmingham decided there was nothing more they could do for him. His condition was worsening faster than the treatments they could give him could address his problems. You could literally see the cancer in his blood veins, his right arm was wholly swollen, and lumps were popping up all over the place as fast as they could detect them. He was discharged, as he hated being in hospital, and he came home to his family. We had a couple of days with him before he became unresponsive, and he was happy for those couple of days. Though we had to move him to the hospice on Friday because he was in too much pain and could no longer walk, we were all there with him until the very end. He was 63 years old, and healthier than any of us. This time last year, he was playing football with my 10 year old nephew.
All of this has happened because he didn't go to the doctor in the first place. Had the stubborn old bugger gone to see his GP last year when he'd first found that little skin anomaly, as my mum had pestered him to, he would probably still be with us. He would still be that strong, giant, powerful, invulnerable man we all knew him as, a man who always put himself first and worked hard to support his family for his entire life.
His death was senseless and unfair, but if it can accomplish anything, I hope it is this - please, go to the doctors if you find anything unusual that doesn't go away after a week or two. Don't dismiss it, don't ignore it, don't put it off. Just do it. What seems innocuous now could very well kill you in a year's time, and it's so much better to waste a GP's time for ten minutes once, than it is to risk going through what my dad went through for six months.
I just want to make sure that the lesson of my dad's death can help save a life some day. Then, maybe, his death won't have been so senseless after all.Visit your doctor. Tell your loved ones to visit their doctors. If you can catch something early enough, then you might not have to endure what we have endured. Your life could depend on it. If just one person lives because they have seen this post, and acted, then something good will have come from this otherwise-pointless tragedy. That's all I ask for.
Matt, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you're not asking for sympathy, but I truly am.
It sounds like the doctors did everything they possibly could for him, and that he did put up a good, if not short, fight..
Thanks for sharing your story. <3
Mikey - GameFront.com - Lead Developer
Matt, my condolences, losing someone so close to you, well the long and short of it, it's difficult.
You are absolutely correct that if you notice something unusual to go to the doctor ASAP. It saves live and potentially quiality of lives as well!
If you need to just get something out or chat, please feel welcome to PM me.
I'm very sorry for your loss, Matt. Cancer is a nasty beast, and too many people are fighting it and - unfortunately - losing to it these days. There has been more than a few incidents of cancer in my family, so I'm well aware of how the smallest symptom can be enough.
You cannot go to the doctor too many times. If you find something strange or out of place, it's better to check with a doctor to be sure.
And Matt, you know we're here for you. Don't hesitate to hit me up in PM - I might not know you on a personal level, but I do have two ears.
10th September 2007
Very sorry to hear about your father. I can only imagine how hurtful a loss that might have been prevented can be. You're doing a great thing by spreading the word about health awareness. A few months ago the lymph nodes in my neck were tender to the touch and so I scheduled an appointment. It turned out to be just some kind of infection that didn't really present with symptoms, but it brought peace of mind. And the reason I did get it checked was because of advice like yours.
I wish all the best to you and yours. And we'll always be your online extended family.
"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.
22nd December 2007
Jesus, Matt. Will you/your family ever catch a break? Sorry to hear. I personally hate dealing with doctors but they do have their place in detecting major problems before they become debilitating.
All hail Daut our Lord and Savior
No chance, you metal bastard
17th August 2010
Wildly different circumstances, but my old man passed away around ten years ago now, it's a horrible thing to happen and sincerely wish you all the condolences in the world, so so sorry for your loss.
Appreciate how selfless you're being with the advice about getting checked up and your family checked up, that's grand of you.
All the best, buddy, again, my condolences.
Christ, Matt. I hope you are able to find peace. Losing family so soon one after the other, I'd have probably become very bitter.
I would caution against fully trusting doctors, however. Take what they say with a grain of salt and try to put in some thought and research of your own.
I know one stupid dentist fucked up one of my teeth real good until I switched to somebody competent. Fucker also made me waste money on two crowns of his, both of them shit. Didn't even know he knew jack shit about sculpting them until I saw the work the other doctor had done. Tooth looked practically indistinguishable whereas that other guy made the tooth look like it was a fucking necrotic body part if anybody decided to look into my mouth.
22nd December 2007
"random_soldier1337" I would caution against fully trusting doctors, however. Take what they say with a grain of salt and try to put in some thought and research of your own.
Yeah, unfortunately doctors are only human. And it's an unfortunate fact that some humans are simply far more/less competent than others. When I brought my health issues up with my doctor a year and a half or so ago, the best he could come up with was that I was suffering from depression and that I might wanna try meds, and also that I should try daily exercise, and maybe just taking a break. At that point in my life I felt like I was completely losing it, and he didn't leave me with much confidence. I ended up questioning why I even bothered to bring the issue up. After probing a bit more, he had me go in for a blood check and it was found that some levels were borderline low, but nothing to really worry about. I was pretty unconvinced that anti-depressants would do me much good so I decided to try a few things on my own, which were based on Internet research, intuition based on health issues and solutions that other family members had, etc. Among them were drastically changing my diet and incorporating consistent cardio exercise, as well as getting a bit more sleep. Also finding some things I enjoyed doing. These changes seemed to be pretty effective for me. Not sure why these things make such a big difference, but they do, and when I deviate from this adjusted lifestyle too much the backlash is somewhat unforgiving.
The point is, the doctor doesn't always know what's going on with you. If you feel something is seriously wrong, don't let them convince you it's normal. Find a different doctor. Find someone who is able to work with you comfortably and who can probe you enough to bring the important information as to what the issue is.
All hail Daut our Lord and Savior
I'm spending a year dead for tax reasons.
15th December 2002
I am sorry to hear this Matt.
If it helps though, I've taken your advise to heart recently. I've been increasingly ill and rather than keeping ignoring it I am getting diagnosed. I don't know what is wrong with me yet and I doubt it's as serious but regardless.
Always here for a chat if you need me mate.
Danny King | Editor-in-Chief | GameFront.com