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Old 10-30-2011, 08:10 AM   #1
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jdruby HB User
Help with a difficult family member!

My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer about 3 months ago. She is in total denial about it, and thinks that talking about it in any way is negative thinking. So her "I'm fine. I'm going to be fine" mantra means positive thinking for her. Since the day of her diagnosis, she has not driven, and she pretty much spends her days in bed. Two weeks ago, she was taken via ambulance to the local hospital with a severe bowel obstruction, and has since had a transverse loop colostomy. She was discharged to a rehab center 3 days ago.

She is refusing to get out of bed. She is refusing to participate in her stoma care. She threw up when the nurse make her look at her stoma. Now she claims that she's too tired to manage anything, so she's letting the staff at the rehab hospital do it for her. She thinks that she is going home in a few days - that she doesn't need to be at the rehab facility.

I live 800 miles away, and while she has a few friends, a devoted cousin, and a super busy daughter-in-law who try their best to care for her, I'm concerned about her prognosis and the thought of her returning home by herself. She's fairly isolated, living in a very rural community 45 minutes from the hospital. I know that she's depressed, but I don't know what to do. She's avoided chemo like the plague (but keeps telling us that she's going to go). While I love my mother, she's driving me crazy with her unwillingness to even pretend to participate in her treatment. Help! Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks in advance! And, I have learned so much from your posts. You're my heroes!

 
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:30 PM   #2
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Re: Help with a difficult family member!

i'm sorry. This is a difficult disease. I'm going to ask a question and I mean no disrespect to you, your family or any readers. Does you mom believe that her Faith and Prayers are going to 'make everything fine?' There is an important difference being being 'cured' and 'healed'. Cured is medical, science, etc. Healed is more of the spirit, feelings, faith. A person can be considered terminal by the medical community and still feel healed (at peace and ready to face what comes next). Could it be that you mom actually has accepted her diagnosis and just needs help coming to terms with it?

it sounds like she would benefit from talking to a professional, a support group and / or her clergy (if applicable). This can be a dehumanizing disease. Perhaps she needs help transitioning from the caretaker (mother) to the care-needer (patient).

RE: her stoma. I hated mine. it made me feel like an alien creature. it felt dirty, smelly, and yucky. Yes, it is part of the 'human process' and was necessary. But that did not mean i had to like it! Give her time to get used to it. Also check into all the colostomy bag options. The ones they provide at med facilities are usually the most clumsy, least expensive ones available. Once i got the disposable bags with the adhesive ring, i was much happier.

Lastly, don't drive your self insane. Just keep telling her you love her and always will. Good luck and keep us updated.

 
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