When I Share, I Give the Best Care


When I Share, I Give the Best Care

puzzle-210792_640My dad met with his urologist on Monday to learn the results of his pathology reports and to talk about future treatment. I had a commitment so couldn't attend the appointment. My sister stepped in to accompany my parents.

The doctor recommended my dad have his bladder and kidney removed. The cancer spread to the bladder muscle wall and may now be in the kidney. Removing the bladder and kidney provides my dad with the best chances for a cure. They remarked that they often don't see an 83-year-old enjoying such good health that my dad does.While not the news my dad wants (he wants to hang on to his bladder), he's adjusting to the recommendation and moving forward to prepare for surgery.

Since my dad's diagnosis in 2004, this was the first time I wasn't with my parents during a difficult doctor's appointment. It felt odd.

My sister did a great job, took better notes than I ever could. My parents were thrilled she joined them and made sure to thank her profusley. They felt so blessed by her company.

So, of course, the though crept into my mind, "Will my parents love her more than me now?"

Yes, I"m 52 years of age and had the thought of an 8-year-old.

It's hard to share. So odd to say this but it is.

Because I've been with my parents throughout my dad's diagnosis and treatments, I have a connection to them that my siblings don't. A small part of me wants to keep that kind of connection just for me.

When I'm thinking clearly, though, I understand the advantages of having siblings who will share the care with me. My parents have a larger circle of support. I have back-up, which means I can continue to keep my commitments.

Most important, my siblings get to experience helping my parents during their most vulnerable time. There's something strangely beautiful about being with another during his most heartbreaking. Your presence serves such a purpose that you end up embracing the experience in a quite unexpected way. I want my siblings to experience this. I want them to be the recipient of parents' gratitude. I want them to experience the gift of being a comfort during a tough time.

I spoke with my other sister last week about attending the next appointment with my parents. It's important she meet with my dad's care team, truly understand his diagnosis and experience these moments with my parents.

I have help. I am a fool to not use it, train it, support it and welcome it. The help from all of us is the best kind of treatment my dad (and my mom) can receive.

Maybe at some point in the future my siblings will disappear, unable to handle the declines and demands of caregiving. At least I know that, if they do, the decision was all theirs and not because of my refusal to accept their help.

It's not about whether my parents have enough love to go around. It's about ensuring my siblings have enough memories of how they helped my parents when my parents needed their help the most. It's not just about me or just about my parents. It's about all of us.

My parents will die. That's not the tragedy. The tragedy is my parents dying without my siblings having memories that will keep alive the love my parents felt for them.

Like this article? Share on social


Sign in to comment


I think it's amazing that this surgery is even an option! I hope that it works for him and he can keep enjoying his good health as long as possible. Thanks for sharing your embarrassing feeling. :-) My own is that need to always have my mom's approval. In both cases, the feeling may not be the right one to act on.

Lillie Fuller

Denise, I wish the best for your dad and the family in this time of change. My prayers go out to all of you.


I had the same question as Jan. Of course your father doesn't want the bag. My husband certainly didn't want the bag that came with his colostomy. But he adjusted (I think beautifully) over time and I know your father will as well. It's just amazing how routine things you never thought could be routine become with the passage of time.


So many levels of emotion to carry: your own, your parents', your siblings. Thank you for your honesty. \r\nWhat happens when you don't have a bladder and kidney? I'm clueless.

Lillie Fuller

Stop making me cry. I have to think about this. I feel my siblings gave up. Do your siblings call to check on you and your parents? Do they go out of their way to come visit them if there is not an emergency? I have trouble asking my siblings to help me. From past experience \"they do what they can\". I guess they feel I have EVERYTHING under control. I won't ask them for help.