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Can’t face or cope with Mother’s terminal illness

12 Sep 2019 09:13

My mum is 79 and had her first heart op when she was 21, she was given a terminal diagnosis at that time and despite that and numerous other deadlines and additional health issues and tragedies she has always pulled through. We’ve always joked that she is the proverbial squeaking gate, a little battered and wonky but continues to function. My Dad who is 81 has just had surgery to remove duodenal cancer, a 12 month delay for his operation due to scheduling issues with the 2 surgeons we were assured had caused no issues, the cancer had been 100% removed and he would make a full recovery. 

A few weeks ago my Mum found a lump on her breast, immediate scans and tests followed and she was diagnosed with breast cancer, we were told that it hadn’t spread and she would be given medication to perhaps shrink it as surgery due to her other health issues would be a last resort. We were left hopeful that the cancer wouldn’t cause any additional health issues in the short term and it would be closely monitored. At the same time her voice went hoarse and she had a camera down her throat to look at her larynx, which they found is damaged due to long term drug use for her heart. So, safe in the knowledge that my parents were fit and as well as could be expected myself and my partner went on holiday (the first for years and booked 12 months ago) As per usual I telephoned and spoke to my parents every couple of days whilst we were away. 

I arrived home yesterday morning and my world feels like it has been ripped apart, my Mum tells me that while the camera was down her throat the Doctor saw a mass that is lung cancer and that it is terminal, although I watched her have the procedure the Doctor said nothing to either of us at the time and while I have been on holiday she has had a biopsy and  diagnosis and we are only awaiting the Doctors best guess on how long she has left, 3 months has been mentioned but more test results are due. The hospital also contacted my Dad and stated that they are very sorry about the delay for his op, but now they need to perform additional surgery in the form of a pancreaticduodenectomy because of the type of cancer he has/had. 

I can’t stop crying.

I have always been the strong one in our family, the practical one who sorts and fixes things. I feel beyond useless, and so guilty for going on holiday, leaving my parents and sister to deal with all this. They wanted me to have a lovely holiday and so they decided not to tell me until I returned home.

My partner is trying to be supportive but he said ‘don’t cry, they’ve not gone yet’ I feel so alone and isolated, I need to pull myself together so I can be here for both my parents, I am being selfish, I know. I need to be the strong one but I can’t stop crying, please tell me this will stop so I can function and be the supportive, caring, strong daughter I need to be.

My parents are my world and have always been there for me, I need to be there for them.

Can’t face or cope with Mother’s terminal illness

12 Sep 2019 21:46 in response to Karen6104

I’m so sorry to read this, I don’t have any very good advice except for that it is absolutely natural and fine to cry and you don’t have to be the strong one all the time. I’m like you, in our family I’m the ‘capable’ ‘strong’ one, but my sister has cancer that cannot be treated and I don’t feel capable at all now. I just want to cry all the time! You are not selfish at all, just human. You’re sad for your parents and yourself and that’s completely natural. I know what you mean, you want to do everything you can to help but feel useless. I’m just hoping that being there for my sister and loving her is enough as I can’t do a thing about the cancer. Love and strength to you, and you’re not alone. 

Can’t face or cope with Mother’s terminal illness

13 Sep 2019 02:37 in response to Karen6104

Karen can I firstly say I’m so sorry to hear this. Today I have  found out that my Mum has stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to her liver. She is 63.

I literally can’t sleep. My Mum is my world and there is no treatment. Tomorrow she is going to have to sign the non resuscitation form, my Dad, Husband and I are deverstated. 

We knew she potentially had cancer, but also there were so many other things it could have been first. Today the doctor talked to her about it in her ward just as my Dad arrived thinking we already knew. This has come as a massive shock to us as yesterday they were giving antibiotics to treat a possible infection. Now she has advanced stage 4 cancer it just doesn’t make sense.

She is coming home tomorrow, I’m planning on moving back in to help with her care. Just can’t believe this is happening.

My thoughts are with you ❤️

Can’t face or cope with Mother’s terminal illness

13 Sep 2019 06:16 in response to happydaize

Happydaize, thank you so much for your kind words and the comfort they offer,  I’m so sorry to hear about your sister but she is lucky that she has such a lovely caring sister in you. Love is all we can give, helping our loved ones and being there for them is all we can do.

 I too cannot sleep and just want to cry, I’m trying not to be upset whilst I’m with my parents as they have enough to deal with but I did find myself sobbing at the shops earlier though. The grief and anxiety seem to come in waves, I’m going to try and give myself some time when I will let myself cry alone each day and hope that works. 

Love and strength to you also x

Can’t face or cope with Mother’s terminal illness

13 Sep 2019 06:57 in response to codey39

Codey, thank you for your kind words, everyone in this forum is so lovely.

I’m so sorry to hear about your Mum and the horrible way you found out about her illness. My heart goes out to you. 

I’m in the same place as you in that how can this be happening? Everything was okay and treatable, we were full of hope and future planning, and then this! It does not compute. Crying and not sleeping.  

My Mum has signed a DNR notice already and we are looking at the logistics of the whole thing. She wants to die at home, my Dad needs this operation soon, which entails having his duodenum, spleen, part of his pancreas and half of his stomach removed, 10 days in hospital and a long recovery period, assuming he doesn’t need radio or chemo etc. My parents will both need 24 hour care although my Dad is refusing his op at this time because he wants to be able to help look after Mum. Myself and my partner will probably both move to their home for however long we are needed as we live an hour away and if I just moved back I’d never see him.  

This is so hard, as Happydaize says all we can do is be there and love our Family x

Cancer sucks big time