Hi there! I am Karen Charlesworth, the Colondar's Ms. July, 2006. I read your message and am so happy you posted it! It takes courage to want to seek help and look for ways to make changes. Your mom should be proud of you to identify problems and seek some answers! Good job!!!
I had stage 3 colon cancer. For me, it was not the chemo nor the hospitalizations; the worst ordeal of the whole process was the depression. I felt I was not the kind of mother I wanted to be while undergoing chemo and such. Like your mom, I was the energetic, do everything kind of mom. I loved life and most certainly, being with my children.
I have good news for you! There are ways to get beyond this and be even stronger; for you, your family and your mom. It takes courage and strength and is totally achievable. These are things that brought me to where I am today: happy! You guys have some tough issues and to make things better, you need some plans which require some effort. Are you ready to get stronger? : )
1. Talk. Communicate. Support. These things are all components of a well-run support group. I know. I founded and facilitated 3 depression support groups in my area. I ran them successfully for 15 years. I feel the reason they were successful is because they were goal oriented. People did not come to the group to sit and lament. Their participation required action on their part. VERY difficult to do when you are depressed - depression depletes energy. Fight back! Here are some suggestions: Get one of those yellow Lance Armstrong bracelets and hand to your mom and any other family member who wants to make things better in your family. Tell them they can wear the bracelets if they are willing to work hard to overcome the issues that are affecting your family. By wearing the bracelet, it shows that you folks identify that there is a problem (first and foremost to fixing a problem is to identify it!) and that you all are committed to working with each other to correct it. Perhaps call a family meeting and present this suggestion?
2. You guys can call me. Seriously. I have just returned from Utah to care for my parents and am back in town where my daughters live (PA). I have the time right now. Take it. Be strong and make that call. I am a professional, sincere person committed to helping others. 717-233-3908. Leave a message if I am not there. I always return calls. Email me:
. I always respond. If need be, dare your mom to call another mom who had colon cancer and depression. (Uh, that would be me!) Ask her to do it for you as you want her to feel better and so do you. The hardest part of going to a support group is seeing other people or acknowledging you have a problem and are going to talk with others about it. Hey, what do you all have to lose? : )
3. Exercise. Yeah, right! Getting up off a couch or a bed and exercising when you are desperately ill is very difficult. Going back to that issue regarding depression: Fight back! You will find that when you exercise (all of you...!) you will GET more energy. Seriously! I'm not a total health freak, I just like to do what I need to to make myself feel better. I hated depression! It made me angry that it compromised my energy! GRRRR! Start off with 10 minutes a day. If you went together, wearing your bracelets and going for a walk, it is something tangible you can do to fight what you folks are going through. It is a plan. Hey, don't forget that dancing is an exercise..I did that with one of the support groups I had at the local YWCA...we had a ball! Play music that your mom likes...dance with her! Yeah!
4. Try to eat right. Oh no! Not that! Hey, even I eat junk food. There's plenty of that to be had.
Now, is my life a complete success? I would say no..there are still some challenges out there for me. One being the fact that one of my daughters is still angry with me over the depression and will not communicate with me currently. She will come around in time, I know that. My eldest daughter said she would get 'scoped when she is 30, as recommended by her family physician. Better than nothing!
So...I hope to hear from you and or/ your mom. I am here for you folks. Be strong and make a plan to challenge issues. Get busy!