1 (edited by rathspailpin Sat, 10 May 2014 11:52:45)

Topic: Introduction to the Group

Hey everybody,

I had discovered the foundation in high school, but I had no idea there were forums until a couple weeks ago!

My father passed away from cholangiocarcinoma after a 2-year battle when I was 10.  I had a somewhat rough time in high school and college trying to accept that I didn't have a father anymore and trying to be a normal kid.  At the end of high school and through college, I struggled with depression,anxiety, and insomnia; and in college I finally sought treatment from a LCSW and a psychiatrist at the school's counseling center (better late than never!).

I'm afraid to start rambling, so I just want to say that I want to be a part of this community because I want to help parents and kids who are facing the same situations and struggles that I have.

A little about me -- I'm a 25-year-old guy living in Pittsburgh, PA.  I have a BA in Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh, and after getting laid off a couple months ago, I just got a job at American Eagle Corporate here in Pittsburgh.  smile

Looking forward to meeting all of you!


Re: Introduction to the Group

Hi David,

Nice to meet you.  Welcome to the group.  Glad you have decided to join us.   I am sorry that your reason for joining is due to losing your father to this disease, but am glad you are here and have found the forums .    I am sure that your story and experiences will be of great help to all who are also dealing with the same issues and feelings that you have.   Hoping that we will be of some help and support to you too.  Thanks for joining and hope to hear more from you soon.  I think you will be a great addition to our "family".  smile


"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

3 (edited by Willow Sat, 10 May 2014 12:35:59)

Re: Introduction to the Group

Hello David,

I too am so glad you posted. You can truly help others by sharing your story and suggestions. Wish you had known about the forum sooner too. What is l
LCSW?  I am so sorry you lost your father at such a tender age and didn't get the right help till you were much older.
Your story touches me especially because my sister's only child, a son, just turned 10 in Jan and doesn't really know how serious my sisters cancer is (it is advanced). I lose sleep and shed a lot of tears anticipating his loss and the years ahead when he still needs a mothers love and guidance. Luckily, he has a good Dad but I am concerned that he won't get the professional psychological help he will need and that instead, his father may just choose the "don't talk about it so we won't be sad" route. I really don't know. In the past, his Dad has resisted counseling for my nephew when he had emotional problems at school. I too tend to stuff emotions/loss/tragedy away and hope it disappear forever behind pride, work, exercise, entertainment, distraction etc.. 
Anyway, it breaks my heart to think that my sister may not be here months from now and I want to be the best aunt I possibly can to support my nephew now and in the years to come.  If you have suggestions or ideas, or signs to watch for that may indicate his mental health is not in a good place, please share.
On a different subject, Your have an interesting education! Happens to be what my father studied... He had a masters in linguistics and taught linguistics and Spanish. He studied the native language of Peru (Quechua) on a Fulbright scholarship back during the Cold War so our family lived in Peru for a few years. The job market is tough for young college grads these days.. Really happy to hear you have a new job. Is it the clothing company, the dental tool company or another one with the same name (American Eagle)? 
All the best to you and thank you again for offering insight into life as a surviving child who lost a parent to this awful cc.


Re: Introduction to the Group

David....thank you for joining in and your willingness to share your story with us.  Too many young people have to experience the loss of a parent due to this disease and like you, they struggle with acceptance and moving forward with life.  Therefore, dear David, there is a real need for someone like you to share thoughts and experience, offer advise, and help our young ones gain the tools necessary for survival of this traumatic event. 
Please share with us as much as you are comfortable with. Additionally, please let me know the scope of involvement you envision with our foundation.  Volunteers are badly needed in virtually all areas of our organization. 


Re: Introduction to the Group

Just want to add my welcome to the others.  Losing a parent is never easy and I am sure you have some great wisdom and insight to share.


Survivor of cholangiocarcinoma (2009), thyroid cancer (1999), and breast cancer (1994).

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based only on my personal experience as a cancer survivor. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.

Re: Introduction to the Group

Hi David,
Glad you decided to join the group.  We found out in Dec/Jan that my brother has this diagnosis.  Quite a shock to the entire family.  I agree with Marion that it is very beneficial to have a young man on board that can share your experience with others of the same age group. This is a great group of people!  Thanks for joining and sharing you experience.


Re: Introduction to the Group

Hello David, welcome to our remarkable family and extremely sorry about your Dad. What a great idea to come forward to help other young people cope with loss. I am sure your Dad is very, very proud of all you have accomplished and new areas you want to move in to. So glad to have you aboard!


Re: Introduction to the Group

Hi David,

Welcome to the site. Glad that you have joined us all here but sorry that you had to find us all as well. I too lost my dad to this cancer albeit I was older than you when it happened, I was 38 at the time but it is never easy at any age. I am sure that you have plenty to share with us all and I look forward to reading your posts here. It sounds to me like you have done very well with your life and I know that your dad will be so proud of you. Feel free to ramble away as much as you want to!

My best wishes to you,


Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: Introduction to the Group

David...first of all...welcome...and second...you have one of my favorite guy names.  smile   Please know that your presence on these forums is so very appreciated by all of us.  I am very certain you are going to make a great impact on a lot of lives and in the process, God will bless you ten-fold. 

Iowa Girl.....3 month survivor of ICC

"Just for today, I can get through anything."  I'm a cancer survivor, not a doctor.  The opinions I state are my own, based on my personal experiences.    As always, talk to your doctor about your concerns and treatment.

Re: Introduction to the Group

David, I read your message and my thought was you can be a great resource but how can we connect you to teens and pre-teens. Then, I read Willow's message which affirmed what the problem is.

Have you considered writing a blog about your experiences and the path you took from age 10 to where you are today? You could post links here when you create a new entry and it likely would occur in search results.

Re: Introduction to the Group

Hey everybody,

I am so sorry for taking so long to respond.  When I originally posted, I was excited to hear from people I would commiserate with and thought I was ready to talk about it.  Then your great responses came in and I kept putting them off and putting them off.  Even after all these years, it's still hard to talk about sometimes.

Darla/Marion/Randi/Labrador/Lainy/Iowagirl/Gavin -- thank you for the welcome and the kind words.  I really apologize again for waiting so long, andI want to try and help out any way I can -- I'm good with computers, I am really good at talking to people, I'm good at networking.  Right now, in my heart of hearts, I want to help kids who are going through what I've gone through.

Willow -- an LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker.  They are great people!

I am sorry to hear about your sister.  Stay strong!  I know everyone's situation is different and everyone grieves differently, but the one thing I kind of hold against my mom is that I wasn't really informed about what was going on, wasn't allowed to go to the ICU, and never really had a healthy way to grieve.  I was so frustrated in middle school, high school, and college -- I hated how unfair it was that I wasn't allowed to have a dad, and I felt like I was given a raw deal in life.  I still kind of feel that way, but going to a counselor indirectly (Teenage angst doesn't go well with grieving haha!)  I can't hold too much against my mom.  We might have been poor and had a tough going for a while, but she worked two jobs, lost the love of her life, and still managed to raise two boys.  She's a rock star.

As far as warning signs go, it's gotta be real tough to tell the difference between, like I said, growing pains and real mental health issues.  Even for myself, it's hard to look back and differentiate between depression and just growing up, and even then, there's a lot of pressure on boys to internalize those feelings.  That being said, maybe try and look out for drastic changes in mood/behavior.  For me, I had fits of frustration where I would lash out verbally at mom or kick things in my bedroom.  I always was a straight A student, but I really coasted through my junior and senior year of high school and ended up getting D's in my favorite class with my favorite teacher and missed school a lot.  I also quit the soccer team senior year (which I loved).  Looking back on it, those were definite warning signs.  I also would cry a lot over the stupidest things.

Maybe you can take your nephew to counseling once and see if he feels comfortable once.  I did a grief group thing in college for a semester, and it was wonderful to talk and cry with people who had lost a loved one.

I'm working at the clothing company, and that is so cool about your dad!  Did he publish any papers?  Id love to read them!

Kevin -- you know what, a blog is a  good idea.  When I was in counseling in school, the counselor told me that writing is a great coping strategy and she even had me write a letter to my dad and read it out loud.  Sure I broke down and could barely read it, but it was so cathartic.  I'll keep you posted!