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Dad Swore Me to Secrecy But Don't My Sisters Need to Know?

4 months 3 weeks ago #59400 by EdFlaherty
I am a 72 year old man (husband, father, grandfather, g-grandfather) with bladder cancer since 2013.

I hate to even talk to my wife about my condition because I don't want to upset her. She says that I must keep my family informed, I say I deserve privacy. The point we have reached is that she passes on information, and no one talks about it in front of me. If/when it is mentioned I always make jokes to downplay concerns and to let them know that I'm not worried. When I've had TURBT's, biopsies, cathatiers, BCG, overnight hospital stays, etc. my wife keeps the family informed.

So, it's like a secret that everyone knows, but everyone respects it as a secret ... maybe that would work for you.

Learning about bladder cancer can be overwhelming, you need to gather information little by little and absorb what you can. There is a lot of information available online and lots on this site. I like to go slow and make a list of questions. For me, I wanted to know as much as possible and use knowledge and experience to desensitize me and lessen some of my fears. It is easier to ask specific questions and get them answered one at a time, than it is to try to understand all the stages and treatments and issues associated with bladder cancer.

Good Luck.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #59399 by sara.anne
So sorry to hear about your dad, Stephanie. It is difficult enough without his request for "secrecy."

As you know, without treatment your dad would have no hope of recovery. Many patients undergo a radical cystectomy and live very happy and complete lives for many years. We have members on this Forum who have recovered from surgery/treatment and drive race cars, climb mountains, and scuba dive. A LOT of the success in recover has to do with the mind-set of the patient!

With respect to the request that you not share his diagnosis with your sisters, my opinion would be that if he is of sound mind his request needs to be honored. Of course you should ask him how he would feel if someone close to him did not share a similar diagnosis with him!! I know of some really sad cases where someone did not tell their family member because "they didn't want them to worry" and, from then on, said family member lost all trust in their loved one.

Please ask any questions you may have as you go along. There are many here with experience who can provide answers for you. For a start, and as a review of the facts about many aspects of bladder cancer, I recommend that you go to our Home Page
and use the pull-down menus in the blue box on the left. AND ask us questions!!

Best of luck to you and your dad

Sara Anne

Diagnosis 2-08 Small papillary TCC; CIS
BCG; BCG maintenance
Vice-President, American Bladder Cancer Society
Forum Moderator

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4 months 3 weeks ago #59398 by stephanie009
Hi all,

My 77 year old Dad has been recently diagnosed with MIBC that has, upon recent PET scan, metastasized to a nearby lymph node. Doctors want to do chemo, then an RC with RP and remove the lymph as well. My dad never told anyone about his Prostate cancer diagnosis 16 years ago and the only reason I'm involved with his health care now is that he was so sick from an obstruction that caused bilateral hydronephrosis that he required help. That was over a month ago, and he has since received the BC diagnosis, and yesterday the news about the metastasis. When I left today he told me he wasn't sure if he wanted to go through the chemo & surgery, and we'd talk it over when I'm back in a few days (I have been staying with him 4 of 7 weekdays). As a recently graduated RN he has taken me in as an advisor but I'm nearly as clueless as he is with respect to surgery and cancer.

I have many questions, and I am wondering if anyone can tell me about their treatment for sure. However, I want to know if anyone can tell me how I should handle my dad's insistence that I not tell anyone in the family about his diagnosis. My two sisters are my dearest and closest friends, and I think they should know. Not for dramatic reasons but because my family is so close that we share everything, all experiences, intelligent discussions, and otherwise.

My dad's decision is ultimately his own, and I respect that, but I don't know how I feel about being the sole advisor about this very major decision and all subsequent ones. I appreciate any candid, honest response you may have - it won't hurt my feelings.

Thank you!

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