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Question
Posted by: Just me | 2011/03/07

Depressed after surgery.

Hi

My dad (67) was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in Oct 10. His attitude at that stage was to fight and beat the cancer and he had very few side effects relating to the treatment. In Dec10 he suffered complications and he had his whole esophagus and part of his stomach removed (emergency procedure). He had another op to drain fluid from his lungs 12 days later. In both operations it was a case that he''ll die without the op. He was in critical condition for long and spent 56 days in hospital. He is home now but he only wants sleep. He does not want to walk or do the exercises the physio gave him. He has to be fed every 3 hours (PEG) and we basicly feed him in his sleep. He does not talk to us at all. He is on Cilift 20mg/day. What can we do to improve his emotional state so he''ll get moving as it is only his physical weakness standing between where he is now and having a full life again?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its more dificult, isn't it, when such major decsions arrive in emergency situations, without much time to think them through or to seek all the information and opinions you might want, and when they are presented as a choice between, frankly, something bad and something worse.
Having worked with people in such situations, I think it is important to work in a way that deals as well as possible with all aspects of the complex problems. There is a relatively new medical speciality ( I was involved in its early formation days ) now called Palliative Medicine, which deals with the art and science of controlling all the symptoms of advanced illness, rather than only concentrating on issues of survival, dealing with quality of life, rather than only quantity. Where such expertise is available in SA, it would be potentially through the Cancer Association or through your nearest Hospice program.
I wonder, for instance, whether he is receiving morphine or similar strong painkillers ( which are so often needed after such major surgery ) - but they can make someone drowsy, and may reduce appetite.
And though in some situations Cilift might help, properly skilled counselling would be needed to help him adjust to having a radically changed body, and to each of the current physical and other problems. He needs and deserves more than a merely chemical solution.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/03/07

Its more dificult, isn't it, when such major decsions arrive in emergency situations, without much time to think them through or to seek all the information and opinions you might want, and when they are presented as a choice between, frankly, something bad and something worse.
Having worked with people in such situations, I think it is important to work in a way that deals as well as possible with all aspects of the complex problems. There is a relatively new medical speciality ( I was involved in its early formation days ) now called Palliative Medicine, which deals with the art and science of controlling all the symptoms of advanced illness, rather than only concentrating on issues of survival, dealing with quality of life, rather than only quantity. Where such expertise is available in SA, it would be potentially through the Cancer Association or through your nearest Hospice program.
I wonder, for instance, whether he is receiving morphine or similar strong painkillers ( which are so often needed after such major surgery ) - but they can make someone drowsy, and may reduce appetite.
And though in some situations Cilift might help, properly skilled counselling would be needed to help him adjust to having a radically changed body, and to each of the current physical and other problems. He needs and deserves more than a merely chemical solution.

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