I am really glad that I found this site...can you sense my relief? I can already visualize myself all over the place here, family issues, teens, baby health, old age, caregiver advice. But, first off, I need to start here, in this forum.
My mother, aged 61, was been diagnosed with Breast Cancer in November 2008. It came as a complete shock to our family. What is even more difficult, is she is stage 4, the cancer has metastasized to her liver, lungs, skin, abdomen, and most likely bones. I say most like bones, because she has not had the particular scan to diagnose bones mets. My mother chose very early on, not to treat this disease. Who knows how long she has had breast cancer, but her journey is coming to an end.
Over the past 4 months, I have basically moved in with her, and have become her only support and solitary care giver. I have a family of my own, which makes it very hard, but we are coping as well as can be expected. I have been home only 3 times since my mother's diagnoses. My mother lives in another province.
She has undergone some palliative treatments, radiation to her pelvic area due to a blockage in her renal system, along with nyphrostomy tubes in both her kidneys to help with drainage. These have helped with her quality of life enormously, and have brought on great relief to her. But now, there is no more treatment. We are at home still, and she is taking pain medication to keep her comfortable. She has physically changed over a short period of time. She has lost a lot of weight, and it takes all her strength to get up, she is in bed for at least 90% of the time. She has withdrawn from family and friends long ago, and it is a difficult time for us.
I am hoping that this forum will give me a chance to write about my feelings, fears, and our journey together. I was posting in another forum dedicated to women battling breast cancer, which was a saviour to me. Those women are amazing, and really helped me out when I had questions about pain and radiation etc etc, but my situation has changed, and I feel as though I cannot connect with them at a level of understanding. They are still fighting, and my mother's has ended.
This is all I can muster right now.
Take care, and thank you for reading.
You must be very happy and relieved that your mother's pain has ended. I'm very happy for you that your family will be getting their mother/wife back again. Did your mother ever tell you why she chose not to have her disease treated? Just curious since Canada has such excellent medical facilities available at no cost to the patient.
Why do I feel so alone in this world?
Life seems to go on as usual. It seems that it is just my mother and I. She is scared, I know she is. We don't talk about her feelings, not yet anyway. Maybe we never will.
She is having a hard time sleeping these last few nights. I usually just sit in the chair in her room, and we just chat into the night, about anything but dying. We don't need that, we both know its coming. The other night, I crawled into her bed, and we just layed there in silence, which was nice. She was a little out of it, half asleep and drowsy from her pain killers and sleeping pills, but I knew she was fighting off her sleep.
I try to keep my sisters updated on my mothers health, but they are so far away and involved in their own lives, that I don't think they get it! My younger sister, who is 36, is ready to have a baby any day now, gosh I pray she has that little guy soon so that she can make the trip out here. My older sister lives across the big pond in the UK, and is not planning on coming. I don't understand, but hey, everyone has their own reasons. My oldest sister is my half sister, and has not been very close to my mother, and we are bound by blood only, but love each other dearly. I must admit, that I feel the closest to my sister in the UK, even though she is so far away. We write letters to each other almost monthly, and by writing we write about everything! But I haven't received a letter from her since I started caring for my mother, other than a beautiful Christmas card and book. I just wrote her a letter the other day, I just poured my sole into it, and let her know that our dear mothers days on this good earth is nearing its end.
My father (my parents divorced about 20years ago) has tried to understand, but I really don't know. He called me yesterday to ask how mom was, and if I thought she would be ok this week. I said, "I have no idea, God only knows." He is on his way to the Bahamas. Good for him, I thought, I am freaking here, by myself, and you are heading off on a vacation. Thanks. Oh geez, that sounds a little selfish on my part.
I have struggled with that question for months. My mother has refused any type of treatment to fight this disease (other than radiation). We have talked about this, and I respect her decision, but I struggled with it. My emotions and heartache went up and down and around. Her sister (my aunt) fought her cancer right to the very end, as well as her niece (my cousin), and my mother watched them fight hard, getting sick from chemo and everything else. My mother did not want to go though that, she says why make yourself sicker when you are going to die anyways. Who knows how long she had breast cancer. Her doctors say she had it for a long time, even though she says she only knew for a few months. I can only imagine what she was going through for so long. She only went to the ER when things got really bad, with a painful bladder infection, which turned out to be mets.
I scoured the internet for information, and researched possible treatments for her, in hopes that she would try to fight it, but she was insistent on No Chemo. I know now that the oncologist would try very aggressive treatment at this point, but we know that the cancer is so advanced, that it may not work, and she has only so much energy. The chemo. would be too much for her to take, and she just wants to enjoy what is left.
I Know that stage 4 breast cancer cannot be cured, but treatments are available to extend life, but too what degree. It really depends on the individual, and how one responds to treatment. I know, that if and when I ever am diagnosed, I will fight with every possible thing the medical world can throw at me. But I am me, and I have my reasons. I guess my mother has her own reasons too, and I can only respect them.