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What seems to be a life full of cancer

What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Candice on Jun 11, 2019 3:08 pm

It seems my entire life has been affected by cancer since I was 12 years old.  I remember the day they told me my grandma had cancer.  I couldn't't't and didn't't't want to believe it because she was my best friend.  I would go visit her and spend as much time as I could and I had to find out all the information I could because I didn't't't understand how the  couldn't't't make my grandma better.  We found out about her cancer in October and by the following January she was gone.  I remember rushing home on my lunch to call my mom to see how grandma was because something told me too.  Of course mom told me everything was the same but the truth was grandma had just passed.  I was writing a french test when I was called to the office and saw my mom and I knew.  I thought my world was over.  
From October 1989 to present cancer has crept into my life time and time again.  I have lost a  2 grandpas, a great grandma and family friends and eventually my uncle.  My mom's big brother.  I was heartbroken when I found out he had cancer he was only in his late forties.  I would visit him at home and even in the hospital and I remember sitting outside with him in the beautiful sunshine.  It seem he was home long before cancer took him too.  I remember the call we got in the middle of the night, I answered it was my mom's baby brother when my mom picked up the phone I didn't't't hang up, I can still her my moms sobbing and disbelief at the news.  I just dropped to the floor and cried.   
Of course we try and pick up the pieces and live our lives but you never forget your loved ones that you have lost.  It seemed every year there was a death if not 2.  
In 2000 I met my husband and I just fell  in love with him and his family.  We had a son in April 2004 a happy start to the except cancer had other plans.  My mother in law got cancer and it spread like wildfire.  My husband and I were told in August and she was gone by November.  I had just left the hospice to go home to my son and I held him and said gramma will see you in your dreams when the phone rang and it was my husband saying my mother in law had passed.  I almost dropped my son even though we knew it was coming it was still gut wrenching to get the call.  I left my son with my mom and headed back to the hospice to be with my husband.  His mom was his world as he was an only child.  Again we try and move on and pick up the pieces especially now that I am a mom.  Again we lost people we loved to cancer but may 2010 is when my world was turned upside down.
My mom, my hero , my inspiration was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The first words out of my mouth were how are we going to beat this because you are not alone..  My mom had her left breast removed along with many many lymph nodes, the doctors said they got it all.  That was the best news ever! Mom couldn't't start treatment right away as she had a really bad infection but she did eventually have radiation.  Mom also found out that she carries the BRCA gene so she opted to have her other breast removed and a full hysterectomy.  My sister and I were also tested for the gene. I do not carry the gene but my little sister does and she has to under go exams every 6 months.  She just recently had her breasts removed and she isn't even 40.  I feel guilt about it as I am the big sister and feel the need to have to protect but I can't protect her from this.  Mom was doing well she was told she was in remission that was music to our ears.  
Yet again cancer said I am back.  Mom was diagnosed metastatic breast cancer.  She has it in her chest wall, lungs, liver and bones.  It has been a roller coaster of emotions.  They started her on a trail and it was going great until the trail stopped working and the tumors were getting bigger so now we are back to square 1.  Now they said we will give chem a try and things were going great.  Mom had a hard time losing her hair all over but she knew it was worth it.  Well We just found out that chemo has stopped working and the tumor in her chest has grown over 3 cm.  Now back to the beginning again.  My mom is what they call a "LIFER" she will need treatment to try and slow the growth down or even stop the growth but the cancer will never go.  I am so afraid now that we (she) has to start over again that we are running out of options.  I will continue to do what I can to support my mom but I just want her to be ok.  I don't want to see her in pain, and trying to fake a smile for us.  I just want my MOM!  I know it may seem selfish but I can't help it.  
My mom is a SUPER HERO  she battles this with the utmost grace and always tries to keep a smile on her face.  She is a fighter and I now she will continue to fight with everything she has in her, but it breaks my heart.    I feel so lost on how to help her or my dad.  My mom is the love of his life and he is wrecked but he hasn't left her side.  

I am just so lost!

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Brighty on Jun 11, 2019 3:39 pm

Candice‍  I just read your story  and it broke my heart.    You have been through  so much losing so many family  members  to this horrific disease.     I'm glad you came on the site to share your story and connect  with others for support.   I'm going to connect  with with a very special  lady on the site who lives with metastisic breast  cancer.     You will truly be inspired  by @Elizabeth06‍    . I hope you will connect  with her and when you hear her story you will be inspired
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Runner Girl on Jun 11, 2019 4:35 pm

Candice‍ ,

Reading your story also broke my heart and brought me to tears.  I'm so sorry cancer has had such an awful impact on your family and those you love.  

I can somewhat relate, I have lost my sister and brother in separate car accidents, my dad to lung cancer, my mom to untreated diverticulitis, all of my grand parents, several aunts and uncles.  My reality is that I have my youngest brother left and that's it, and he lives a good distance away.  Sadly so many have passed.  I am here because I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

Your mom is a Super Hero.  Thank you for sharing her with us.  I hope the doctors can come up with something to keep her cancer at bay.

Runner Girl - Gayle

Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Elizabeth06 on Jun 11, 2019 4:51 pm

Hi Candice‍ ,
im so sorry to hear about your moms diagnosis.  I know it’s heartbreaking to hear those words.  It was heartbreaking for me when I had to tell my kids that same news.
when was your mom diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer?  What type of breast cancer does she have?
i was diagnosed with MBC in April , 2013.  I had no previous breast cancer history, so, all in at stage four.  I have been on four different lines of treatment, so, like your mom, experienced treatment that provided stability for a period of time, then the drugs stop working, there is progression of the cancer and we move on to another type of drug.  I, too, refer to myself as a LIFER. It is a roller coaster and I cherish those chunks of time when things are stable.
i have Mets to my abdominal organs, liver, bones, skin.  
Despite the extensive metastatic disease, I continue to have good quality of life.  My husband and I travel regularly, in between ct scans, and we try to have as close to normal a life as we can.
i, too, worry about running out of options.  I know that day will come, but, I choose to focus on living.  
Have you spoken to a counsellor or therapist?  I know most of the cancer centres offer services to caregivers as well as patients.  I think it’s important to be able to “park” the anxiety we feel about the disease, to be able to find joy now.
this is a great place to vent or look for information.  There is a section in the forums for caregivers, and living with advanced cancer, under groups, that might provide insight.
keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.
thanks, Brighty‍ for the tag!

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jun 12, 2019 8:20 am

Hi, Candice‍ , I, too read carefully every word of your post, and my heart goes out to you. I lost one grandma when I was 7, to suidice, and the other in a car accident when I was 28. It truly doesn’t matter how they go or how old you are, losing a grandma is a terrible thing.

I’m also sorry to hear about all the other losses you’ve had due to cancer, and about your sister and your mom. It is a lot to bear. I hope you will make many memories with them for as long as you have them with you. I know you’re concerned about your dad, too, and I’m sure you’re there for him so he can take breaks and do some self-care of his own.

I like Elizabeth06‍ ‘S idea of “parking the anxiety” - even if it’s just long enough to enjoy a “normal” Sunday brunch, or a family movie night.

Thanks for sharing your story. As you can see, there are a lot of people here who are listening, so come back and have a chat whenever you need.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Kims1961 on Jun 12, 2019 10:18 am

Candice‍  I don't have words to express how touched I am by your post.  Your story and honesty is powerful. Your mom's strength and love for her family shines throughout your post.

I'm so glad you posted and hope some of the others comments and suggestions will be helpful.  As a mom with breast cancer, my first worry was, if i died would my family be ok?  It was so important to me that everyone was going to be "ok"  I recognized  that they would be sad, but had i said all the things I wanted to say, what did i want my legacy to be?  Sometimes the difficult part being part of such a loving family - is that you can see how it affects everyone - yourself, your dad etc.  This is hard but such a loving thing to do for your mom. 

Elizabeth06‍ gave some great advice. Having the chance to speak to a counsellor maybe helpful - if not now, down the road. You might also want to share how you're feeling with your mom. She is probably worried about her family so having some of the "difficult" conversations can sometimes be really helpful for everybody.  It's ok to tell her you are sad, scared or worried.  You might want to put your thoughts down in a letter to her - if talking is difficult. 

You are not being selfish - your feelings are just that - your feelings.  All very real . It's not being selfish to feel what you are feeling - it can sometimes be healing to talk about them out loud.  Are there some things you and your mom do together? Maybe you can ask here if there is something you can do together that she feels well enough to do? Treatment takes alot out of us but there is still "magic" in being with your family.  Maybe your dad can tell a little break, while you and your mom share some time together?

I"m so glad you posted.  You are not alone - others will read your post and be helped - it can just feel good to have someone else validate your feelings.

Please let us know how you're doing. 


Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Candice on Jun 12, 2019 10:49 am

Thank You Ladies,

Coming on here and putting my feelings down has helped.  It is funny that I finally did because I tell my mom and dad when they feel they can't get out what they are feeling to write it down.  I am great at helping others through the emotions but when it comes to my own I forget to take care of me.  It is a great idea to talk to my mom as hard as it maybe.  I know she has hinted at some conversations she would like to have but I think she has a hard time saying stuff around my dad because he is having a very hard time with everything.  Some alone time with mom maybe just what I and her need.  I also think some time with dad alone could help him, so he doesn't feel alone in this either.  I am glad to have this forum to come out and just let my feelings go.  Some days are easier than others.  My mom amazes me every day.  How she will fight through the pain and the endless appointments and still smile at the end of it all.  I tell her she doesn't have to be strong every day that if she needs to cry to cry if she wants to yell and scream to do so and if she wants I will be there to scream or cry with her.  She starts radiation for the tumor on chest wall this Friday and she found out that it is a lot bigger than they thought.  She doesn't' say it bu you can hear it in her voice how much that scares her.  She will also be going for a brain scan to make sure the cancer hasn't moved to there as well.  The thought of that scares the hell out of me.  So now we sit and wait for more tests and sit and wait for the results.  I think that maybe the hardest part is the waiting.  

Thanks again for listening to me and lending a helping hand.


Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Candice on Jun 17, 2019 12:59 pm

Yesterday I had the hardest discussion I have ever had with my mom.  I was visiting my dad for father's and since my sister was there as well my mom thought it would be a perfect time to have the "talk".  My mom discussed with my sister and I what her wishes are for when she goes.  I know it has to be done but it was so hard to look at her and the words come from her mouth.  How do you prepare for that?  How do deal?  Of course I told my mom what ever her wishes are that of course we will follow them for her.  I want her to feel she still has some control in what is going on in her life and that she should have what she wants.  She always gives to all.  I still can't believe she feels that we may have come to that point.   😭

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Elizabeth06 on Jun 17, 2019 1:22 pm

Hi Candice‍ ,
im sure it is difficult to have end of life discussions, but, as you said , it needs to be done.
I made those plans and had that talk about three years ago, with my family.  It was weighing heavy on me and going thru that process allowed me to have peace of mind.  It doesn’t mean I am not focused on continuing with life. 
Im sure she is grateful to have been able to finish that task.
another meaningful discussion...

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jun 18, 2019 9:29 am

Candice‍ , I’m sorry you found the conversation with your Mom to be so difficult — you are probably still of an age where our own or our parent’s mortality has yet to be called to the forefront, and for many, it can be an unwelcome wake-up call.

My parents were always pragmatic when it came to that — my Mom and Dad had their headstone on their plot at least 7 years before mom even passed away! But that was my Mom, always the organizer. I have to say that her attitude toward the “dying part of living” really helped me get through the loss of her astonishingly well, especially with acceptance.

I **love** what Elizabeth06‍ Said about it

going thru that process allowed me to have peace of mind.  It doesn’t mean I am not focused on continuing with life. 

Does it help you to know that your mom could have been doing this to help herself prepare? As you yourself pointed out, your mom could have been doing this so that she feels she still has control over her situation. That’s pretty insightful on your part!

Kims1961‍ Has been doing some work with the importance of addressing our wishes with loved ones and putting our plans in place. It has helped me get my own affairs in order, and she might have some insights that will help you manage the feelings you’re having.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Kims1961 on Jun 19, 2019 10:23 am

Candice‍ Wow!  What a gift you gave your mom.  Hard for sure but so, so important.Thank you Cynthia Mac‍  for the tag.  

Before i was diagnosed with cancer i was interested in death and dying - mainly because it seems we just don't talk about it.  Like it's a taboo subject.  When i was diagnosed with breast cancer , people didn't want me to talk about my wishes - more " You're going to live forever" -   Well...100% of us are going to die and talking about it doesn't hurry that up.  It's not :  You only live once - you live everyday but you only die once.

I found being able to express my wishes comforting - hard but comforting.  I am an organizer so when i was diagnosed, I wanted all of my affairs in order - it helped to give me control of a disease that doesn't give us much. Now - i hope i go onto live a long life, but if i don't i know that "things" will be taken care of.

There are some excellent resources out there .  Some Ted Talks and Youtube videos.  I"ll list a few here but feel free to also send me a message about any other questions you have. Also know you are not alone in how you are feeling - they have actually created a day:  Advanced Care Planning Day to help us all get ready.  Check out their website:


A really good book and Ted Talk:


Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller . "Talking About Death Won't Kill You"
Talking About Death Won't Kill You: The Essential Guide To End-of-life Conversations by Dr. Kathy Kortes-miller

CBC:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/death-expo-2019-fredericton-1.5100535

Canadian Virtual Hospice has some great resources as well:


Sorry for the long post and hopefully didn't overwhelm you with info!  It's a topic i am passionate about and again, thank you and your sister for giving this gift to your mom.

Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Winterkill on Jun 25, 2019 2:19 am

I am truly astounded by your strength and grace with all you have faced.  A lot of death you've had in your life but s lot of love too it sounds like.  All my prayers for continuing strength. 💕

Re: What seems to be a life full of cancer

Posted by Smashley on Aug 21, 2019 8:08 am

Hi Candice‍ 

My heart breaks for you. I don’t think there is anything I could possibly say that would heal your heart through what life has thrown your way. I do want to tell you that what you are going through is not in vain, I believe others will read what you’ve written and realize how blessed they are in their own lives. I believe that no matter what a person goes through, there is always someone dealing with much worse. I think you helped many in just writing your truth. Myself included and so I thank you. I know this is not very helpful to your situation but sometimes knowing you are helping others is a comfort. God bless you.