Ask Dr. Giles

Dr. Geret GilesDr. Geret Giles is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  He received a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University.  Dr. Giles works with individuals, adolescents, children, and couples suffering from a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, and relationship difficulties.  He is often asked to address psychological issues for large groups in the community.  He has the reputation as a knowledgeable and engaging speaker.  In January of 2007, he lost his best friend to cholangiocarcinoma.

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Ask Dr. Giles: I’m angry at my parents’ friends who have done nothing to help them

Lisa asks: Dr. Giles, My father is close to the end with this disease after about 6 months of being sick. I am so grief stricken and angry. The grief is overwhelming at times and I think things like, it would be better if we all died the minute we were born rather than live through such a life of suffering and injustice. I was raised in church and felt very spritual and connected to God. Now I doubt. Almost everything. I pray and just ask why over and over. Then I feel anger especially at the church people in my parents church who have not helped them in any way through this. I want to be able to tell them to their face...

Ask Dr. Giles: How do I move past the “what if’s”?

Tiffany asks: Dr. Giles: I’m fighting CC. I have a friend named Liza that is also fighting cancer (liver). She and I were friends before cancer. She is only 24, and I’m 30. Liza isn’t doing good. In fact she is about to die. How to I protect myself while show support to her family? Its hard watching a friend die, but knowing that we both have cancer in our liver is even harder. How do I move past the “what if’s”? My thoughts go out to you and Liza. You and your friend are in a unique position to have a very keen understanding of what the other is going through. Trials bond us to each other like few other things can. For...

Ask Dr. Giles: How do we even begin to deal with this?

Cindy asks: My mother was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in June 2007. She has surgery to remove a tumor the size of an orange in the right lobe of her liver. She then underwent 9 chemo treatments. In June of 2011 she was diagnosed with stage 4 cholangiocarcinoma that metastized to her lungs and lymph nodes, ironically her liver is clear. She has been given maybe 2 years with chemo, about 1 year without chemo. How do we even begin to deal with this? I don’t know how to accept the fact that I am losing my mother! Cindy, My thoughts are with you as you face your mother’s serious condition. The prospect of losing a loved one is never easy, yet it is something...

Ask Dr. Giles: My niece doesn’t know the extent of her cancer, should we tell her

A Concerned Aunt asks: Hi, My 29 year old niece was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma about 2 weeks now. The doctors here in PH told us it already on stage 4 and surgical procedure is no longer an option. My niece is all in high spirits though we see her health deteriorate day by day. My family is pushing for chemotherapy since this is also what my niece wants. All is hoping this is the cure and will help her cope. I talked to the surgeon and we were told this is not something they will recommend since it will only make things worse for my niece. However, my niece did not know the extent of her cancer. Only that she has it and she...

Ask Dr. Giles: What emotional support can we give our brother

Angela asks: Our offers to help our brother-in-law and his family seem empty but very much appreciated by them. We live an hour away, so its difficult to assist with coordinating meals, errands, and pick-up/drop-off for their daughter. We’ve hosted mass intentions for him, but feel that’s about all we can do. What emotional support can we provide? Angela, I think it is wonderful that you want to make sure you are doing what you can for your brother-in-law and his family. Providing emotional support is a very individual endeavor and depends primarily on what would be considered to be support for the person with cancer. In your desire to know what more you can do, a good place to start may be to...

Ask Dr. Giles: My husband glares at me and doesn’t speak to me as if he’s angry.

Charlotte asks: I am a 67 year old female with CC diagnosed in Jan 2010 and doing very well from a cancer perspective. I am having a lot of hip pain requiring a walker so my husband has to help with carrying laundry up and down stairs and going to the grocery. He says he “doesn’t mind doing it” but glares at me if I ask and rarely speaks to me as if he is angry. He is fine with other people. My concern is what happens when I approach the end of my life. I feel like I don’t want to fight sometimes and just hurry up and die. I am not depressed and do many of the things I enjoy. I would...

Ask Dr. Giles: I’m scared that something will happen to my husband and I’m not ready

Missy asks: My husband Kevin has cc and won’t do chemo any more. I want him to do chemo and the natural healing stuff together because I feel go at it with both. He tells me chemo isn’t a cure. I’m honestly not convinced that naturally is. My husband is a very strong man but the last 8 months have been crazy. When he was first diagnosed he was in denial, then just laid around for 2 months, it took a lot to get him up and living again but he is. A friend said to him she thought he would of been dead by now because of the way he was at the beginning, he looks great, eats right even started exercising. I’m...

Ask Dr. Giles: I was involved in the beginning, but now I feel like a spectator

Courtney asks: My Father has survived one year so far after surgery for Klatskins CC. He has had non stop complications ranging from infections, to bleeding ulcers, to anorexia type behavior…I am 7 hours away and my step mother is his main caretaker. It is very complicated and confusing to try to keep up with paperwork and doctor’s. I feel very helpless not being able to be more involved. Most doctor’s do not want to touch him with a 10 foot pole due to the severity of his surgery. I guess my main question would be…How do I find the best support for him? His original surgeon has moved away and cut rope after surgery anyway, saying he had done everything he could to...

Ask Dr. Giles: My cancer is gone, but I don’t know how to regain my joie de vie.

Donna asks: In late 2007 I was diagnosed with cancer. Originally it was described as adenocarcinoma, stage 4, terminal. I had been going to the DR for 4 years complaining of pain and/or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Lots of blood work was done but nothing was identified. In August of 2007 I say a Dr that was taking my regular Drs call. He said I needed to wait for my DR to return from vacation. I proceeded to turn to walk out the door in the middle of his sentence. He called me back and I told him I was going to jump off the first bridge I came to. “don’t make me any appointment”. At that point he said maybe a sonogram...

Ask Dr. Giles: I worry that I may be pushing my grandmother too far

Courtney asks: My grandmother has cc! I was raised by my grandparents, I just recently lost my mother of a heart attack she was 44. My grandmother is such a strong woman and has had surgery, right liver resection portion of left all that goes with that. She did complete i round of radation and chemo(pill). She has had so many complications since the surgery. She had gastric bypass 2 yrs prior to CC finding which had complicated thing, The doctors told us that they removed all the tumor. She has been retaining fluid which thank the Lord has came back negative for any cancer cells. I see her struggling to fight. I keep encouraging her, but I know that I am pushing and...

Ask Dr. Giles: I’m determined to get help with my grief, but I’m just so tired and confused.

Michael asks: My name is Michael and on September 28 of this year I lost my grandmother and best friend to bile duct cancer after a 6 week battle. I’ve been posting on the discussion board and they recommended you as a good person to contact with addtional questions. I am currently seeing a one on one grief counselor wit hospice and a primary care physician or these issues and this coming week and going to try to get back with a counseling/psychiatric center I uses to belong to. Before I go any further I have to tell you that I have had some pre-existing mental and emotional issues long before my grandmother got sick. I am officially diagnosed as having Obsessive Complusive Disorder,...

Ask Dr. Giles: I worry I’m not showing friends and family appreciation.

Lina asks: Even though I have the most amazing awesome support of friends and family who are giving me all the love and support, emotionally and financially, I wonder why I feel depressed at times and simply want to burst into tear. Am I doing enough chemo to tell my friends and family that I am trying to fight this with everything I’ve got? Am I staying positive and optimistic enough? They are saying don’t worry about it Lina, just be you and we are here for you. They take care of everything and anything. I just have to ask. Can you believe it? Anyway, I think that was a three fold question. Thank you for your time and God Bless You. Regards and...

Ask Dr. Giles: How do we make the most of the time we have left?

Mary Anne asks: My 79yo dad was just dx with cholangiocarcinoma. Except for the past 2 weeks where he became ill leading to the dx, he has been extremely active(bike riding, bowling,handyman etc). The recent illness and dx have taken the wind out of his sails. I realize he needs time to adjust and absorb the dx and its implications. My ? is how do we as a family (6 grown kids) balance trying to keep things normal with thinking this could be the last time we can celebrate an event with him (like the father’s day recently was very awkward). I want to take the opportunity to make the most of everything like getting group pictures whenever family is together but don’t want...

Ask Dr. Giles:How to cope with BiPolar/Narcissistic husband with cholangiocarcinoma.

Tina asks: My Husband was diagnosed in June ’09 with cholangiocarcinoma that is unresectable, at that time he was told that his prognosis was 9-12 months.  He completed chemo (gemzar and cisplatin) in the fall and a CT was completed at that time (Dec), which his Oncologist had stated that he was staying with his same prognosis, however they may have bought him a couple of months.  Chemo (5FU) and radiation were completed earlier this year. They tell us that the radiation continues to work for approximately 2 months after treatment is complete, therefore we expect a CT to be scheduled approximately the beginning of May.  Meanwhile, I have had numerous family members (including his parents) and friends approach me to say congratulations that...

Ask Dr. Giles: Mom died of cholangiocarcinoma, worried she might have it too

Leanne asks Hello, well my mother was diagnosed with CC in jan 09 and was gone by march 09… i have a history of lupus plus and have had pain for a long time in the liver region, they suspect its the bile ducts and im petrified… how do i deal with these doctors who seem to be rather flippant about it… i dont want a diagnosis from you just advice on how to settle the stress im under… my health isn’t the best but watching mum suffer and knowing the pain i am in scares me to well death …please help kind regards leanne Leanne, I’m sorry to hear of your stress and worry.  Many times stress comes from the unknown.  When it...

Ask Dr. Giles: I’m overwhelmed.

Beth asks: Hello, I am a 34 yr old caregiver to my husband who is also 34. Recently there is talk from our Dr.s that they might not be able to continue treatment. I’m sad. We have a 5 year old daughter and I don’t know how I will move on. My husband is obviously getting worse and we have thought that treatment might not be possible,soon. We have no family to help and would not ask because our relationship is strained. I work full time and have not been myself lately. I make more mistakes because I am preoccupied. I don’t really have a question I guess. I think I need therapy but there is no time for it now. I am so...

Ask Dr. Giles: I’m not ready to let go of mom, is there anything I can do

Corina asks: Dear Dr. Giles, Nov.09 I took my mom with excruciating abdominal pains to ER. She had an ERCP and a plastic stent was inserted; while still in hospital in Dec.09 another ERCP was done to crash the stone- gallblader removed 15yrs ago- this time I was told a 2.7cm tumor, diagnosis:DISTAL BILE DUCT CANCER; the GI highly recommended WHIPPLE SURGERY- mom refused after being told is a risky procedure, not to mention 6-9h under total anesthesia. I took her home, she was improving and Feb.01.2010 I took her for another ERCP to replace the plastic stent with a metal one. (Between you and me I wonder why the metal stent wasn’t used the 1st time, I wasn’t consulted…) Took her home and...

Ask Dr. Giles: I don’t know what to expect

Anjie asks: My brother was recently given his “expiration” date and it is really the elephant in the room disease.  It is very difficult to talk about which is the way our family has always been.  My question is more medical in nature, but don’t know who to go to.  He is beginning to be jaundiced and I don’t know if that means we are close to the end…I don’t know what to expect.  The anxiety of facing everyday not knowing seems to be so painful.  Since you experienced this first hand, can you tell me what to expect? I’m so sorry to hear about your brother’s worsening condition.  I’m not a medical doctor, so I don’t have the expertise to tell you what...

Ask Dr. Giles: My mom’s afraid of chemotherapy

Benjamin asks: My mother was just dx with Cholangiocarcinoma 3 weeks ago and my family and I are trying to get our heads around it. My Mother is 54 and wasn’t feeling good since December, she started having abdominal pain and losing weight. My mother is scared about the pain and is on the fence to take the Chemo. We have talked with the Doctor about the drugs and the side effects and she feels as though she doesn’t want to prolong what is bound to happen anyway. She has a 8 inch by 4 inch tumor in her liver and being that large it is inoperable. I am wondering if you have ever talked with anyone that never did the Chemo and I...

Ask Dr. Giles: Should I be concerned about his stress at work affecting his health

Jeff asks: My partner was diagnosed with CC in early February and is undergoing the Gem/Cis Chemo Treatment.  He is doing OK so far on that.  However, he is back to work and is very stressed.  Should I be concerned about his stress at work affecting his health? Dear Jeff, I am going to assume that by “very stressed” you mean unhappy and overwhelmed at work.  If that is the case, you are right to be concerned about your partner’s work environment and its impact on his health while he battles Cholangiocarcinoma.  Stress is not automatically a bad thing.  It can motivate us and help us maintain our focus.  But too much stress can make us feel unhappy and overwhelmed.  Too much stress can...

Ask Dr. Giles: She seems to be getting better, but also distant

Kate asks: Hi.  My partner has unexpectedly gotten through a whipples, and has now completed a round of chemo. Great, but she has now signed a non-intervention document, and is emptying the house of her belongings.  Our relationship is great, and I accept her right and choice, and while I am finding the emptying on her belongings understandable, it is also very disturbing. I grieved so much when she suddenly became ill, shortly after my Dad died.  I have cared for her, and love her enough to let her go.  But she seems to be getting better, and is now sort of taking away our future. I am glad your partner’s treatment is resulting in some success.  It sounds as though, however, your partner...

Ask Dr. Giles: I just want to connect with someone like me who survived this

Randi asks: First let me say how sorry I am about the loss of your friend. I am a 54 year old woman who was diagnosed with CC after having an ERCP in Nov 2009.  I had a Whipple procedure December 15th, 09 (just 4 weeks ago) and the good news was that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, was not in my liver, and only ‘poked’ a little into my pancreas.  It was staged as 1B. I am now facing the decision about chemo. Should I have it, should I have chemo along with radiation, or should I not have anything at all. I am also a breast cancer (15 yr)  and thyroid cancer (10 yr) survivor and when going...

Ask Dr. Giles: How can I be dying when I feel so good?

Cheryl asks: How can I be dying when I feel so good? Diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, Sept. 11 2009, have had Sir-Sphere treatment and many chemo treatments. Sometimes I feel ill, but generally I feel normal, happy and thankful. If I felt bad maybe I could come to grips with this disease that is killing me. Seriously I am thankful I do not have pain. But am I REALLY dying??? I am so happy you are feeling so well, Cheryl!  Medically, I don’t know how to explain your lack of pain/weakness/discomfort, but I would suggest you accept it as a gift and as an opportunity to live your life to the fullest extent possible. You know, the truth is that we are all dying a...

Ask Dr. Giles: How can I lovingly but firmly ask mom to back off?

anonymous writes: I have cancer and my mother is caring for me. Actually, I hate to sound ungrateful, but she is smothering me. She is not allowing me to breathe. I am a more introverted person and need time alone to marshall my resources against this cancer and she is always tap, tap, tapping at my psychological door. I feel bad complaining, especially since so many have lost parents and would do anything to get them back. My mom calls me every day at least once, and comes over at least every other day. She comes to my appointments. She stays with me during chemo. I feel guilty for complaining, but I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by her. HELP! How can I lovingly...

Ask Dr. Giles: What can I do ease my pain and devastation?

Rochelle writes: I lost my husband two days ago, he was my absolute everything, we just recently moved to casper and I have no support. I do not think that I can cope with his passing he was my best friend, my lover, and my husband, he was the love of my life and I don’t want to do this without him! What can I do to ease my pain and devastation? My heart goes out to you, Rochelle. You have lost so much in one stroke. Pain and devastation do seem to be the best words to characterize such an experience. I’m deeply saddened by your loss. It is very likely that the world looks very bleak to you at the moment. Many...