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My 94 year old father found out that he has cancer and it is in his skeleton. We just had a petscan today and will find out more shortly. We got some pain relief for him. Both parents are alive and my mother cares for him. He can walk with a cane. He has a will, power of attorned, and all financial paperwork is in place. My brother helps with taxes and understands the pension side of it. So basically, I just want to help keep him informed of choices. he told me that he doesn't think there will be many options because he is so old. I told him that there are always choices.

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Sorry - your post appeared just after I finished typing.

Questions to ask about staging, etc. are addressed in my first post, as well as what you can expect as you go forward, estimated time left, what changes and limitations you can expect and how to deal with them, etc.

You might also want to ask about home help for your mother; my sister's oncologist said she could arrange to get help for housework, etc.

How to prepare someone is also so difficult, and so individualized. I would wait until he raises the issue, ask him what he wants to talk about, what he would like to do while he's still able.

He may want to see friends and relatives for quiet visits.

One of my wise friends told me, when I was still in a state of denial, to ask what I would want to tell my sister if she died tomorrow, then tell her that.

When he feels comfortable talking about dying, ask him if there's anything he would like to do before then, what plans he would like for his funeral. If he's comfortable planning it, go ahead and help him with that.

Honestly though, I don't know if there really is any way to prepare for dying, but it's clear that you have a lot of love and concern for your father, so just express that.
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I'm going to assume that this is a metastasis from a primary cancer. The things you want to ask the doc are about possible treatments, clinical trials available, projected life span, prognosis in terms of time in good health. You want to know about options for pain relief, is hospice appropriate at this time. I think you want to be in touch with dad's minister, etc,.
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What a sad diagnosis - this must be such a shock to you and your family.

From someone whose mother had breast CA and whose sister died of metastasized breast CA, I would offer this:

Ask the doctor what stage the cancer is at, what the prognosis is, what treatment is recommended, etc. At your father's age, chemo and radiation may be too hard for him to handle and just debilitate him. In my mother's case, my sister's oncologist, who treated them both, just recommended medication. We all agreed that chemo and radiation would be too much for Mom.

If it is determined that your father will have chemo, ask for an anti-nausea med; otherwise the first treatments can be violently upsetting for him and he can easily become dehydrated.

Chemo can also cause changes in taste; during my siste's last round of chemo she had difficulty finding anything to eat that tasted good to her. We eventually found that salty foods and thick fruit juices appealed to her.

Plan to spend time with him, just to be with him, and let him talk about whatever he wants, if he feels like talking. If he's depressed, play his favorite music. If you have pets, bring them over; petting little furry critters is relaxing.

Ask your doctor if the hospital on\r infusion center has any therapy programs. Ours had ceramics, drawing, and other programs (which I can't remember now). It was truly a respite to be in that facility - it was calming, everyone there had some experience with cancer, and it was therapeutic to work on crafts projects. I learned enough about colored pencil drawing to continue on my own, and really enjoyed it.

Think about getting him a walker and commode; as his skeleton becomes compromised, it may become harder for him to walk and get to the bathroom. Along that line, clear paths for him to move unimpeded, remove throw rugs, perhaps have grab bars installed (into the studs only) as hand holds along his paths from bedroom to bathroom, kitchen and living room.

Think about how he'll be able to get in and out of the house. Is it a one story? Two story? If there are steps, think about getting a temporary or permanent ramp installed.

If he doesn't already have loose, comfortable clothing, get some for him. It'll be easier to get dressed.

We eventually brought whatever my sister needed into an area in the living room that became her bedroom as she was unable to climb stairs. If you do this, bring a phone, place for water, note pad, calendar, remote control, CD player or radio, magazines, books...whatever your father wants so that he can reach it easily and quickly. Blankets too, as he may become chilled easily.

If friends and relatives come to visit, limit the time they stay as it may wear him down. My sister told me that despite pleasure in visits, it was too exhausting for her to try to maintain a conversation. Warn any visitors ahead of time if your father experiences that kind of fatigue.

Again, I'm sorry for your family and wish you the best in comfort and medical care as you go forward.
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What questions should I ask the doctor when we hear the results of a petscan for my father's cancer? We know he has cancer, it can't be operated on due to his age, so how do I help him prepare mentally and physically for dying?
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I'm not the best person to answer this question, so when one of the RNs on this site answers, please disregard anything I say that they don't agree with, I'm so sorry for the sad news your father has been given. I think it's important for someone in the family to talk to the doctor and find out what the prognosis is. It sounds like your dad didn't hear the whole conversation with the doctor and who could blame him. Can you contact the doctor, with your father's permission and discuss the prognosis, treatment options, hospice, etc.?
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Oh Manners29 I am so sorry.. Give him a hug and let him make his own decisions..
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