Topic: Emotional support needed for Dad AND Mom - Language barrier

My father is 73 and was diagnosed with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma in January of 2006.  We have a tight-knit, Chinese (Mandarin speaking) family and back at the time of diagnosis, my father and mother lived with me in a nice 2-story house where we saw each other every day.  Since the diagosis and unsuccessful resection attempt, my parents moved to a small 1 bedroom apt. in a complex dedicated for the elderly, about an hour and a half drive from me.  They moved there because my house does not have a full bathroom on the first floor which created problems for my dad.

Like the other stories I'm reading here, it's been a lot of ups and downs over the last 20 months.  After the initial shock, we went into research/action mode - talking to doctors, looking for different treatment options, etc.  And actually, we were very lucky as we went about 9 months when things seemed to be going really smooth.  The good news was that my dad actually started to "live" again, and except for the periodic scans, we almost stopped worrying.  The bad news is that we, especially my dad and mom, collectively built a false sense that we were the lucky statistical exception.

In May of this year, dad had to go back for an ERCP to have another stent inserted and that knocked us back to reality.  Things looked pretty bad for a few weeks and then got a bit better.  He started chemo again but has never really gotten back to the previous form from before May.

During this whole time, mom has been the ROCK for dad.  Dad has always been a pretty private person and has become even more so.  Mom has taken care of dad completely, to the point where she got shingles back in July from just being drained.  I am the one who handles all the medical coordination and give my mom multiple phone calls a day to try to be a bit of an emotional release for her.  However, it's getting to the point where dad doesn't say much most of the time and mom spends her time with him in silence.  I feel guilty for not being able to be with them all the time.  When I'm at work, I feel bad that I'm not with them, and when I'm with them, I'm just stressed about work.  They won't let me spend too much time with them because they know that I've got a lot of responsibility running my company.

I just feel horrible because mom has no one to really share her worries/thoughts/etc. with.  She can't come to this webiste because of language/technophile issues and she doesn't know anyone who speaks Mandarin who has gone through CC either as a patient or caregiver.  She's always strong for dad and her children but I know that she must be ready to explode sometimes and she can't.  I think it would just be a relief if she just had someone she could speak with in addition to me.

Also, dad is starting to think that things are pretty bad.  To this point, we've been pretty lucky and we've also tried to make things as positive as possible.  For really the first time since his diagnosis, he's starting to get depressed and I know that is not good for him.  Again, he has no one to talk to about it, except mom.

I know that things are soon going to get tougher and it's going to be as difficult emotionally as physically.  Is there anyone out there who speaks Mandarin who has gone through this and is willing to talk with my mom/dad?

Re: Emotional support needed for Dad AND Mom - Language barrier

I am sorry to hear about your parents and their isolation. I live in Sweden so I have had some difficulties too, but not so much as English is spoken by many people, but it was hard finding a pychologist who spoke english when I had depression.  I have two suggestions to help find one in another language...
1) Is there a university or college near by? There are so many exchange students these days that their international office might have leads to where to find a Mandarin speaking pychologist. I know that you are looking for someone who has gone through this, but I think that might be difficult.

2) If there is a MAndarin speaking church, ask if they can help. I have no idea where you live, but large cities usually have something.

Do you know what CC is called in Mandarin? HAve you googled it? There seems to be loads of research in Asia on CC and it is more prevelant there than in Western countries. Maybe there is a similar board or someone has a blog?

I am clutching at straws, but I well understand feeling isolated and the language barrier and I am sure your parents feel it 100% more than I do...and I just hate it!!

Good luck finding those resources for your parents.


Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: Emotional support needed for Dad AND Mom - Language barrier

Kris - Thanks for the advice and I'm sorry to hear about your depression.  Unfortunately, dad is pretty old-fashioned and doesn't really share his feelings much in general, let alone go see a psychologist.  The only one he would really talk to is mom.  I'm actually more concerned about her b/c she is such a rock and I know that she needs to let some of the feelings/emotion out.  She doesn't want to with dad because it will just scare him and she doesn't want to with me because we just end up crying together.

I wish she wasn't such a technophobe and could IM/email people overseas but she just isn't comfortable with computers.  She really needs someone she can just call or who can call her.