I posted an intro about a week ago and am so grateful for all of the thoughtful replies.
Just a quick background again. My Dad (65) was diagnosed with cancer in the bile duct (ampullary) back in Sept. He had a Whipple procedure done on Oct. 29th. At that time, they were able to remove the entire tumor (clean margins). However, they did find that it had spread to the lymph (7 of 39 tested positive.)
During his initial illness (when we discovered the cancer due to the jaundice) his kidneys (acutely) failed and he was on dialysis for about a month. We were so thrilled to find out about two-three weeks ago that his kidneys have recovered sufficient that he can get OFF of dialysis. However, that same day he got the news that the cancer had spread to his lymph.
So, onto my question.
Dad has been very depressed. Mom has to continually push him to eat and drink. He doesn't seem to care too much. He's down to about 180 lbs (from about 230). He often will lay in his chair with an afghan blanket over his body (including his head), like he's trying to shut everything out. It is more than just recovery from the surgery. There is definitely an emotional/depression componant. He is on an anti-depressant, and hopefully that will help.
My question is for those who experienced depression (or had loved ones who did). How long did it take them to get through this initial low and find some hope or strength to fight? Was there something someone said or did that helped you get past it?
I understand it will take some time for him. But we'd like to know what to expect and ways in which we can gently help him through this (while acknowedging his need to go through the stages of grief).
My Mom, God bless her, also feels like she's about to crumble, but she can't as she needs to hold it together to make sure he gets to the Dr. appts., coordinates all the appointments, make sure he eats (which is quite a task in itself.) and on. I know if/when Dad pulls through this and finds hope, it will help her immensely, too.
ETA: If anyone has any stories similar to what my Dad has experienced medically, I'd also love to hear from you (clean margins post Whipple, but with lymph involvement.)