My Story is about My dad, Stuart Hobson

This event took place from 20 Aug 2018 to 01 Sep 2018

The Discovery

On August the 20th 2018 my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had only really been experiencing symptoms from July time. Unfortunately, he passed away 12 days after his diagnosis. Obviously that was difficult enough, just going through all that, but he actually passed away the day that my sister was due to get married. Because it was so aggressive, we didn’t know until the Thursday that it was progressing more quickly than the doctor’s thought. It was the day before that we made the decision to postpone my sister’s wedding.

It wasn’t until July time that he noticed his urine had gone really dark. He went to the doctor, and I have to say his GP was very good, and straight away said that they’d do a blood test. It came back that there was a problem with Dad’s liver enzymes. During that time he started to get a bit of back pain, and he’d also been trying to lose weight for my sister’s wedding but he’d kind of stopped trying and noticed that that his weight was still going down. So he had another blood test just to check for an error and it came back exactly the same. The GP requested a CT scan, however, when my dad got to the hospital, he had an ultrasound instead. They couldn’t see any signs of cancer.
My dad then went back to his GP still feeling the same. He said to my Dad that he hadn’t seen the results of the scan but if you’re feeling OK by all means go on holiday, as my parents had planned to do. It was during the holiday that he really started to take a turn for the worse. He started to struggle to eat, started to get jaundice. He didn’t want to ruin the holiday. So when they go home after two weeks, he went straight to A&E.
It was the CT and endoscopy that confirmed that he’d got pancreatic cancer. They were also concerned it had also spread to his liver, which is why he was experiencing the jaundice. He was in hospital for a few days at that point and he was really struggling with the jaundice: he had really severe nausea, and all the symptoms that you get with jaundice. The hospital weren’t very good at managing those symptoms. When he was discharged, he was originally being given no medication at all. He couldn’t eat, he was constantly retching. So we spoke to them about the symptoms that he’d got and they gave us some medication for it, but we had to be quite pushy to get that really.
During the time he was at home, he just started to get worse. The jaundice was getting much worse, the nausea was getting really bad and he was pretty much eating nothing, not even drinking anything. So we went to a pharmacist and to an out of hours doctors, and it was through those that we were told that, the medication that my dad has been given is what you and I would get if we had a bit of travel sickness or were a bit constipated. These are the tablets you need and you can only get these tablets from a consultant.

The following week we saw the consultant to get the results of the biopsy. He was shocked with how much Dad had deteriorated and was immediately readmitted. Dad then got those tablets and instantly the nausea was gone. If he’d been given those in the first place, he would’ve had a week at home where, he probably would have been quite comfortable. that’s pretty much when I think he knew what was happening and that there was no fight, he knew what the outcome was going to be. It was the day after that the consultants told us that he will be going into hospice. That was on the Thursday and he passed away on the Saturday. He went from him not being able to hold a cup of tea to not being well enough to talk.

This is My Story

I just want people to know what happened to my dad and that this happens to normal people, this happens to fit and healthy people. It’s helped me. In terms of the grieving, it’s been quite a physical process for me. I’m still going through all that, and It’s really hard, but I find that channelling my energy into something positive, to remember my dad as well, It helps me as well. Don’t get me wrong, I have really dark days, hopefully it helps other people see that there is life after something like this. Your life’s not over; you kind of think that to start with but there’s positive things you can do from it.

The Impact of Time

When I look back, it almost seems quite surreal because it was, it was just so, so quick. Hour by hour you could see a change in him and I think at the time it’s hard to kind of get your head around what’s happening… I remember talking to different doctors and different consultants and there’s certain parts of the conversation that I don’t remember having, I don’t remember things being said and I think my brain just kind of blocked those things out. Time was lost in my dads illness. He basically had no time and we watched him rapidity deteriorate.
What was important for us as a family was being there with him, being strong for him and trying to keep things as normal we could for him. It was by no means easy. We’d leave the room and we’d be in absolute pieces but you just do what you need to do at that moment in time. It was more afterwards that you know when the bereavement and grieving really kicks in. That’s when it’s hard.
We’ll never really know this, but had he not gone on holiday for those two weeks it probably would’ve been picked up, maybe a couple weeks earlier. We needed those extra two weeks. Although I don’t think he would have survived maybe he could’ve had a stent and maybe he would have had a bit longer. Those days, those hours, they matter.