My Mom has been battling breast cancer for 22 years. When she was first diagnosed, I was 23 years old. Back then, we thought that that was the end. Now, 22 years later, I am 45 and have, through the years, grown closer and closer to my Mom. We shop together, just hang together. My husband and my Mom get along terrifically. My two daughters are so close to her. She had mets to the lung 7 years ago. It has been a bit of a struggle, with small recurrences here and there. We have always been able to clear up the mets with a change in her medication (hormonal agents). Now, she started having trouble getting her food down - it is getting stuck. It seems there is pressure from an external source - namely - the fluid in her lung. Althought they can't see it for sure, the doctors are reasonably sure there is also a tumor in her lung again. This means that we have basically run the gamut of hormonals and now face radiation and chemo. I am the oldest of 6 children and have always taken charge. My brothers and sisters look to me for guidance and especially because I am a nurse. I just need to vent because I love taking care of my Mom (when I was little, my Mom used to get migraines. I would put cold cloths on her head. That is what made me want to become a nurse!) I am just so afraid of losing her. I have to be strong, because once I start crying, I am afraid that I can't be strong for all of us. I am afraid I will lose my "edge" and not be such a good advocate for my Mom. I am afraid that then I won't be able to make sound judgements with my head and not my heart. I feel that this is the beginning of the end and I need to stay strong. I am so afraid of living without her. She has always been there for me and I have always been there for her. I don't know yet if this can be dealt with. She is going for a bronchoscopy on Monday. But in the mean time, the waiting is hell and I am so scared. Please pray for my Best Friend! Thanks. Judy
I know how you feel. I felt the same as you about my Mom. She also had BC 15 yrs ago. We always thought it would spread but it didn't. Instead, when she was 69 she started having strokes, which is so debiltating, she suffered for 3 years, with blindness, confusion, dementia, and finally physical deterioration, until she went into a coma and died a week later. It was so painful, I have no family now. You must be strong no matter how hard this process will take. This could be the start of the end like you say, she has been so lucky that it took so long to spread. There are still miracles, you will know when it is time to let go and let nature and GOD do what is inevitable in life. This road you are about to travel will be painful, please don't be like I was, I suffered from depression, I couldn't eat and anxiety was 10 fold. She has only been gone for 7 months, I miss her so. I guess I have to say just give her all the love and support that you are capable of, let her know how much you love her. That was hard for me since my sister took my Mom 1000 miles away, and since she had dementia she was confused, her mind went, and everything my sister said she believed and went along with. My sister even alienated my Mom from her 2 best friends. Guess she thought their 60 yr frienship was worth nothing! This will be hard, but this is what life is about, and hopefully you will have your family for support that is something you really need, don't take it on all by yourself please!!! I'll hope and pray for a miracle, your Mom sounds like a great Mom, you wouldn't be so close to her if she wasn't. I know how you feel. I'll pray and hope for your strength to be there when you need it. Take care Wendy
Thanks Wendy for your support. I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. That must have been terrible for you. We had a big rift in my family for a few years (me against them - I am the oldest of 6), but my Mom was always in the middle - not invloved, but not taking sides - kind of neutral. Now all of that is over and I have my family back and we all love eachother so much. They are there to help whenever needed. I have to try not to take over because we all want to help. But I am closest with our Mom - we just click. My husband is a great support for me and is there with hugs when I need them. I hope that one day, you and your sister can be close.
My Mom's bronchoscopy showed no tumors, but we still have to wait fro the biopsies and then go from there to find out the cause of the pressure on her esophagus. I know we are not out of the woods, but at least one thing turned out good. The power of prayer is tremendous. I pray that you will find peace and that you and your sister can be together again. Hugs, Judy
Well, the news now is not good. The biopsies from the bronchoscopy show adenocarcinoma from the breast. There is also a mass that the doctors are not being clear on within the lining of the lung and this is what is putting the pressure on my Mom's esophagus. She has had two radiation treatments so far and her oncologist is due back from vacation on Monday. We will see what is what then hopefully. We are getting mixed answers to our questions, my Mom's pulmonologist did not tell us about this mass. The radiology oncologist is the one who dropped the bomb on her about this and apparently, they can only radiate part of the mass. We don't know if this "mass" is the scar tissue that she had biopsied a few months ago or something entirely different. We don't know, if this is the scar tissue which is a thickening of the lining of the lung, if the scar tissue has increased in size or if the thickening has gotten thicker. Even with a pulmonologist in the family, we are having a hard time getting specific answers, even though we have told all of her doctors that we want to know EVERYTHING, no matter how bad it is. This is so frustrating! We don't know for sure if this is "the beginning of the end" or if this is something that can be treated. I am seriously thinking of pulling her out of the local community hospital that she goes to and switching her to doctors that work out of the Medical Center that I work for, even though it is farther away for my Mom and siblings. My siblings are all so wonderful - we are all sharing the load equally. My Mom is at my one sister's now - she was discharged from the hospital yesterday. Then she will spend a few days with my other sister before coming back to me. My brother and his wife are doing a lot of the running around (they can't take her to their house because they have a cat that she is highly allergic to - don't need to add an allergic reaction to the mix). We will all take a day to drive her to her radiation treatments. Thank God we are all in this together. I do have a terrific family and my Mom is the "Matriarch". We are so close to her, she is so great - doesn't interfere, minds her own business (except, of course, when absolutely necessary, she will pull me aside and let me know if she thinks I am being to strict or lenient with my teenager - which she does in a really nice way). I know that I am painting the picture of a "Father Knows Best" family, but we have had our share of problems that we have managed to work through, because we really do all love eachother - which is a tribute to my Mom. That is why this is so hard on me. I don't know how I will carry on without her. I know that I have to and that I will find a way (intellectually), but my heart is so heavy at the thought of losing her and not having her to call when I need to talk or share some great news. We love to go shopping together and just hang out, even if we are not talking, just being near eachother is nice. We discuss this all the time, so I know she feels the same way. I am sorry for rambling, but you all have been so great at listening to me and offering your support and prayers. I keep all of you in my prayers for the illness that you suffer and for the angels you are. Judy