Posted by Carefreewritingsonthewall on Jan 8, 2019 2:44 pm
At first, I felt so grateful. Her pain was over and this fight was over. Seeing her struggle to breathe, walk, eat, or sleep was over. I managed to write and say the eulogy at her funeral. We managed to celebrate Christmas with relatively few tears. We’ve had a counsellor come to the house to speak with us a few times. It’s helped, but I’ve found talking about it hurts too much.
Somehow I didn’t realize it had been one month. My Dad asked me if we could say a prayer. My Mom was cremated and she asked not be buried or kept anywhere until my parents could be buried together. We have created a space for her in tribute in the house. Having her close has helped, but that day, I struggled to realize it had already been 30 days. Since then, I’ve found it really hard. As I start planning to go back to work, I’ve found it really hard to prioritize what I want and need.
Today I’m really struggling. I have a trio of papers due on January 15th, two short ones and one research paper. For the last three days I’ve sat down at my computer every day and I haven’t been able to focus. One of the papers is on an article I started reading and annotating at one of my Mom’s appointments. It’s been hard to revisit it because it brings me back to that day.
I also have a conference in Europe in early February that I’ll be attending. When I mentioned that I hoped to travel a bit, my Dad asked if we could travel together. It turned into a huge debacle though. Neither of us could decide on where we wanted to go. Gradually the trip became something else entirely. He pushed back on the timing, saying it was too late into February to go. So then we would leave the last week of January. Then it was the middle of January. Then it wasn’t a trip to Europe anymore because, according to him, it’s not worth it to go when it’s cold.
I was having a really hard time with it. My mom’s sister helped me focus and tell him that I couldn’t do it. But I got sucked in to the idea of a trip to an all inclusive. So now we’re going to the Dominican for a week on the 16th – the day after these papers are due.
I was originally going to go back to my apartment and school to finish these assignments, but my Dad convinced me not to – that the expense of going back and forth was silly. So here I am trying to finish these papers in my childhood bedroom. I have a wonderful set up, but I just can’t. I find myself obsessing about stupid things, like the fact that I have no bathing suits or spring clothes at my parents’ house. My Dad offered me my Mom’s wardrobe, but I can’t do it. So I spent two afternoons looking online for clearance items. I’ve had a hard time letting go little things – like misplacing a receipt or a bill. I know this is just my anxiety working through my grief. I recognize the signs. But I just can’t get ahead of it lately.
So here I am today, having a tough day. But I’m working through it, slowly but surely. I know it will be important to assert myself and find my own routine again.
I wanted to thank everyone for reading my novel length posts for the last year, and for being so thoughtful. It has been hard to look back on what I wrote, and to revisit what I was feeling. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so patient, and for your amazing replies. They’ve helped so much.
Posted by Brighty on Jan 8, 2019 4:04 pm
Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Jan 8, 2019 7:16 pm
Thank you so much for trusting us with your mom's diagnosis and passing. I am so very sorry for your loss. While you have no doubt helped others through your posts, I wanted to direct you to a discussion that you may find helpful yourself
We have a group called Coping with Grief where you will find others that have experienced the death of a loved one. Some of what you have written resonated with me when I lost my dad to cancer many years ago. And for me, I wanted to avoid the process of grief and just get to the part where I had good memories. But the truth is you have to go through it and now even this many years later I still find myself in tears on occasion.
I hope you are able to get through all your papers in due time and are able to enjoy your time away with your dad.
Keeping you in my thoughts
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 9, 2019 8:01 am
It’s not surprising that you had to be reminded about the time that has passed. A lot happens in those 30 days,a lot happened in the 30 days before that, and you have a lot going on. I encourage you to be kind to yourself through the grieving process. If you’re having a bad day, acknowledge that, and allow yourself some time to reflect and honour her memory. Chances are, the next day will be at least a little better.
When you look at that paper that takes you back to the day of her appointment, acknowledge that, as well as how much has happened since then, and remember how proud your Mom would be to know that you finished that paper.
Posted by Munkins on Jan 24, 2019 2:39 pm
I am having a hard time dealing with the fact that both on my parents have lung cancer. Mom told us in November about her's & Dad told us on Jan. 10th. I have been trying to find any group or support that fits my situation and it is really hard as both me & my sister are trying to deal with this. Like, how is their treatment going to effect them, are they going to get to a point where we need to step in to help & how or what does that look like. We re both worried in the back of our minds that they are going to die from this. I have depression and anxiety disorder and trying my hardest to handle this, so far it's winning. So that's my life in a nut shell.
Posted by Aly on Jan 24, 2019 3:04 pm
Welcome to Cancer Connection! I wish we were meeting under better circumstances; however I am glad you found the website.
My name is Aly, I am a mentor here on the website. About a year and a half ago, I was in a similar position as yourself and I can understand how difficult it is to see someone so dear to you go through cancer.
The questions you have written out are normal worries for this type of situation. Unfortunately, as I am not a doctor I am unable to tell you exactly how your parents treatment will affect them. Every person responds differently to treatment, however; I recommend directing this sort of question to your parents’ oncologist(s).
At this point there is no telling if you or your sister will need to step in to help, there may be a time down the road where you may need or want to. Since the diagnoses happened so recently I would definitely speak with their oncologist to get a better idea. Are you aware of what stage and/or treatment plan has been given to your parents?
Concerning your anxiety and depression, are you currently seeing a doctor, counsellor, or taking medication? Make sure to take care of your health as well during this time!
Do you mind if I ask where you are located or which major city you are closest to? I may be able to recommend some services for you in your area. If you are uncomfortable with that, I recommend calling the Cancer Information Service line at 1(888)939-3333
If you ever need to vent to someone, I am here don’t hesitate to message me.
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 25, 2019 6:37 am
Being a caregiver requires a bit of “knowing when.” It’s a balancing act, at times. I am my Dad’s caregiver. We lost my Mom just two months before he was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2017. When Mom passed, I knew instantly that Dad was going to rely on me for certain things - organizing household services, balancing chequebooks, etc. - but I wasn’t expecting that healthcare needs would happen as soon as they did. The “new reality” really threw me for a loop, as it has done to you.
My best advice is to stay in touch with your parents, and have deep, meaningful conversations with them, if that is at all possible. Parents have a way of keeping things from their kids so as not to worry them, and I expect they’re particularly like this with you. But, knowledge is power, as they say, and meaningful conversations with your parents now can be of benefit to all of you. If you can stay in touch with their oncology teams, that’s good, too, because they’ll have a slightly different perspective than your Mom or Dad will.
These conversations will help you and your sister to know when your parents might need you - For example, I made sure I stayed with Dad for a couple days after his surgery, and I usually stayed overnight when he had his chemo treatments. But, he was living alone, and is nearly 80. By the end of his chemo, I was taking him home and staying an hour or so, and if he was alright, I headed home, secure in the knowledge that he’d be ok and that the homecare nurse would be along the next day.
How close are you to your parents? (Geographically and emotionally.)
We can try and reassure you, but we don’t know enough about your parents’ individual circumstances to know what to say. As Aly says, we’re just a message away, though, and we’ll do our best.
Posted by ashcon on Jan 25, 2019 8:59 am
Allow me to add to the good advice from Aly and Cynthia MacMac.
If there is a Gildas Club (or something similar) close to you, I highly recommend you tap into that resource.
My sister took advantage of the support she received there after our mother's diagnosis of Stage IV esophageal cancer, followed by my diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer 7 months later. She told me that she found tremendous value in the shared stories of fear and hope, helplessness and determination.
The most valuable thing was realizing that she was not alone in this
(Something you will also discover on this site.)
Secondly: CynthiaMac is right on by saying parents tend to keep things from their kids for fear of not wanting to frighten them.
I was guilty of that 100% and my daughters are grown adults at 23 and 26
Thankfully they were caring enough to sit me down and tell me that they did not want me to hide or sugarcoat anything.
That even if things took a turn for the worse we would deal with it. Together.
(I am 'clear' of cancer at this time.)
I cried alot when they said these things and am so very grateful for their courage and honesty.
Don't underestimate how much your parents would appreciate you becoming engaged and involved in their care right now.
Start by talking to their doctors and doing some research on their type of cancer - reputable sites only!
It's all about moving forward with what needs to be done for them and for you and your sister.
Good luck and keep us posted on what you find to be helpful. Others may benefit from what you can share.
Posted by Munkins on Jan 28, 2019 10:02 pm
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 29, 2019 9:15 am
To a point, your Mom is right - there’s not a lot to do at her chemo treatment, and the staff is very busy. But, they are used to chatting to patients and visitors while they work, and it might give you a bit of peace of mind to see people who deal with this every day, and to see how they interact with their patients. I actually didn’t want to go with my Dad to his treatments - I can’t even watch someone getting a flu shot on TV (I hate that time of year), so for me to walk through a wing where people had ports and needles and tubes took more strength than I figured I had in me. But I digress.
The staff aren’t all simper-y, going “Would you like a blanket?” With the word “dear” implied at the end — it’s far more of a cheery, matter-of-fact tone of voice, like, “Are feeling cold? Can I get you a blanket?” It is truly amazing to watch these people at work. I have SO much respect for them.
Since you are close to your parents, you’ve probably got a good line of communication going, so don’t be afraid to open up to them. Let them know your fears. Tell your Mom, “I’m concerned, and I think that if I knew a little more, it might give me some peace of mind,” if that’s how you feel.
You don’t have to stay the whole time, either — you can pop in to the treatment centre on a lunch hour. The lady at the desk can tell you which “pod” she is in (if it’s set up the same way as our centre here).
Your peer-to-peer volunteers are doing the best they can, I’m sure, and if they ever can’t make the call, you can come here - we’re kind of the same thing, only on-line. I usually come on in the mornings, and sometimes check in later in the day, but if you really need help, you can friend me and send an e-mail — I think I get a separate e-mail that way, and I’m apt to catch it a little sooner.
As well, as a family member, you can go to your local cancer centre, explain your situation and ask for help. Failing all of that, I encourage you to talk to your own doctor - I’m not used to going to my GP for things like that, but I had lost my mom in August (sudden heart failure), and then, when Dad was diagnosed a few months later, I figured it was a good idea to give my doctor a heads’ up, in case I ran into trouble. Funny thing is, I don’t even remember that appointment, so maybe I was a little more rattled than I thought.
I would suggest that you try to reach the Dickson Centre again, and if you need more help, you’re always welcome here.