canadiandaughter wrote:So sorry you have had to find your way to this board, but that being said, you have come to the right place! There is a wealth of information and support to be found here. I hope your moms visit with the oncologist went ok on Thursday. From my experience with my dad, we felt like we were in a whirl wind the first few weeks, but once we had a plan of attack in place and started out on that plan, we felt a lot better, even with his stage 4 diagnosis. I do not have small children, but I have a full time job and I live 3 hours away from my parents home, so I can relate to the stress of care giving. I went to all dads appointments and did a lot of reading on this board so that I was as well informed as I could be. Is there any way that your mom would be able to help you with the finances being she is staying with you? That might help take some of the stress off of you.
WriterGirl1969 wrote:Hi Katie.
So sorry that you had to find us, but so glad that you did. As Canadiandaughter said, wealth of information to be found here.
First of all, as someone who has had cancer, I can say that I would much rather have it than have to be the one trying to take care of someone with cancer. It's no easy thing. So do cut yourself some slack. It's okay to be overwhelmed and to feel scared and even angry. All of that is very normal. Not only is your mom sick, but this has happened and turned your life upside-down too. Your mom is very lucky to have you.
So now on to the more functional stuff. If you want to continue to have your mom stay with you, but know that you need to minimize your time out of work for obvious reasons, then what you can do is try to help your mom find some alternate support for things like transportation to appointments, etc. In most oncology centers, there are social service counselors available for patients and their families to discuss things like this. You need to make sure that your own situation is stable. Having it not be will only make it that much harder for you to be there for your mom, both emotionally and physically. If you know she's being taken care of and you can still work and keep your normal schedule, you will feel stronger and better able to function. The hard truth here is that this is going to be a long journey, so the better you can set things up now, the better you will feel as you go. Don't be afraid to take care of you. You have to. And letting your mom know that you are helping her to plan and to organize, but that you are still keeping it together will help her feel more stable too.
Does she need someone to go to appointments with her? Do you belong to a church or have any family friends who can fill that role? Is there a "survivor mentor" program at the oncology center that can hook your family up with people who have gone through the same thing that you can talk to and get advice from? These are the lines of thinking you can be doing so that you are helping, yet not putting the burden only on yourself. For me, it would have been much harder going to appointments with a loved one along. I felt much better being independent. Everyone is different. Don't be afraid to ask your mom what would make her feel the best. And don't be afraid to ask for help! Even if it means letting your own doctor know what you're going through and getting some anti-depressants if needed. It's better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.
With regard to your mom's inability to eat, hopefully at the appointment on Friday they were able to discuss some of that. If not, another way you can help your mom is to write down everything you think she should mention at her appointments so that she can bring a list with her, or have whoever accompanies her write down the answers for her. Sometimes being overwhelmed with questions and information makes it hard to remember to talk about everything, or to remember later what the doctor said. Having someone living with her noting any issues or questions will help the doctors to treat her as well as possible.
The only other thing is exactly what you're doing, which is being on this group. It's a great first step. Get information. Regain some of the power that cancer has stolen from you both. Get the names of good doctors and treatment centers.
I know you said she came back to the states for good care. Can I ask what area you are in and where she is going? Is it a major center like Sloan Kettering (NY) or Dana Farber (MA)?
Keep us posted, and best of luck to you both. We're here for you.
Hugs and Prayers,
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