My name is Lina Latini. I am a caregiver to my father, who recently passed away from stage 2 pancreatic cancer. I have learned to respect life throughout this journey, practising gratitude and keeping calm.
It all started with back pain
It was in February 2019, just before the pandemic started. My father complained of back pain. It was mostly at night or when he used to take rest. He did not feel much pain when he was active. As a physiotherapist, I suggested he do some exercises, but it did not help much. Then we went to see a doctor. In the city scan, his cancer was diagnosed. That was the worst moment of our life. It was tough for us to know and accept it. We cried a lot. We were in shock as my dad never smoked and took alcohol in his life. He took his food on time. He was very active. Other than back pain, he did not show any symptoms. So, his cancer diagnosis was a massive shock for us.
His treatment started with chemotherapy. He was on chemo for six months, every other week for 48 hours. After six months, he had surgery. Initially, he did not have any alternative treatment, but he started taking some supplementary medicine and vitamins after the surgery. We live in one of the healthcare hubs in the United States, so we were lucky to get the best treatment for him. His team of doctors were incredible. His report showed no sign of cancer in March 2021, but in May 2021, cancer came back in his liver two months later. After that, his health started deteriorating very quickly, and he died in September 2021.
The time was tough. The last couple of months of his life were terrible. It was horrible watching him in pain. Earlier, he was a very active and happy person and then watching him in depression was a bad experience for me and all other family members. This affected my emotions and mental health as well. I consulted a therapist; I did meditation. I did exercise, walking and all kinds of things which made me happy.
Motivation in a difficult time
My biggest motivation was having him see me continue my life. My husband and I were planning our wedding at that time. He felt more relaxed seeing us living our life in an organized way. And this ultimately made us calm and relaxed. I was taking care of myself, practicing gratitude. We are thankful to God that we got some time to be with him. He could convey his feelings to us. Practicing gratitude and staying positive in this situation helped us.
This has made me more compassionate and generous towards other people, more patient and understanding, and more appreciative of every moment. I believe everyone should practise gratitude for whatever they have in their life. My journey as a caregiver was difficult, but the love and support that came along the way were worth it.