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Parent with Advanced Cancer & COVID-19
I don’t know how to formulate this post without sounding entirely selfish. I’m the daughter of a mother with advanced cancer. The only times we interact is when I can catch her while she is awake by texting or calling and those conversations are typically cut short due to the extreme exhaustion and pain she is experiencing. I’ve been trying to give her the space and freedom to reach out when she can and not make her feel pressured to make plans for what used to be our regular social distance backyard visits, but I feel like if I don’t reach out or ask to see her.. we won’t see or speak to each other. I do not place the blame on her whatsoever. I’m just not sure what the right move is. Give her space to rest or try to see and speak to her as much as I can as time is precious and limited? COVID definitely stole what will most likely be the last year I get to spend with her out of her 2 year diagnosis.
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6457 Posts
There's nothing remotely selfish about what you just posted here thegivingtree‍ . And trust me she appreciates all the efforts you are making with those calls and texts . You could maybe ask her what time of the day she is feeling best and just do short visits so she won't get too exhausted. In the meantime, continue the contact and keeping in touch.

Absolutely not selfish at all. It is so difficult to see our loved ones sick and not able to participate in the day to day as they used to . As to your question, I think the best approach is to go to the source and ask her what she wants and how she wants to communicate. You know her best other than her. Keep in mind though that whatever she says, may be different on a different day. I have been both the cancer patient and the caregiver/family member and it is challenging for both.

How has it been since you posted here?

Thinking of you both

363 Posts
You don't sound selfish at all. She's always going be your mom.
Maybe ask her what her preference is.
I know as a patient, especially when I was very weak in hospital I took no calls.
I found talking exhausting and hurt. I could text more easily.
Texting too allows for when she's sleeping. Allows her time for her response.
Pain is also that something that can change us and possibly something she wants to spare you from. Her pain.
Maybe give her a wide window of time to have your backyard visit. Also depending on some meds, time may have to be a consideration.
You sound like a very loving daughter. I am sending you both best thoughts.
995 Posts
Hello thegivingtree‍ Thank you for sharing your story with us. I cant imagine what the visiting restrictions or other problems might feel like. I remember feeling so grateful to be able to look after my wife when she was so sick, at home, and so we did not have the concerns you have. I can certainly say that as our loved ones progress through the disease process, the energy level and communication are two things that do change, as they get sicker. I applaud your devotion and love and concern for your Mom and would agree with others above that you should carry on with whatever ways of contact are open to you, and then at least you can say you did your best there. When people are struggling with cancer, its hard at times for them to communicate due to pain, nausea, fatigue, etc. With my wife, it was nausea that kept interfering with her activities of daily living. Its not selfish at all to want to keep the communication going. Maybe your Mom is just too sick to reply in a timely manner now? I found that just telling my wife that I understand when she can not answer me or reply right away. She seemed very happy for that kind of assurance. I hope you can give that assurance to your Mom, and don't be afraid to seek counselling or other support for yourself. Sometimes thats the best thing one can do. It really helped me a lot a few times. Please keep us posted how things are going.
I am feeling very similar emotions, especially with respect to feeling selfish. My long time friend has recently been diagnosed with metastasized cancer, most likely primary lung, with mets in his hips and liver. He lives out of the country and is getting excellent medical care. His immediate family and friends are there for him.

I am new here. His diagnosis came completely out of the blue 3 weeks ago and he is seeing the lung oncologist today.
We used to chat and FaceTime everyday, having renewed our friendship during COVID, and became close friends again. Lately he's been pretty quiet. I know he is very worried about prognosis, even though he doesn't say it. I miss our chats, I miss him, but I don't want to overstep or 'bug' too much. I don't know his family or other friends, so I can't reach out to them. We're old friends from university and live 4000 kms apart. I thrive on information, so not knowing what's going on with his health makes me crazy.
So I text him, tell him I'm thinking about him, tell him I'm here if he wants to chat.

I know that a cancer diagnosis and the start of treatment can make some people put up walls. It feels awful being on the outside right now, hence the selfish part. His family, neighbours, and local friends can see him and talk with him and that's awesome as he's surrounded with support.
I feel helpless, and selfish that I want some contact. I cry a lot. My problem obviously.
Seeking some support from those who've been there.

90 Posts
you are a wonderful daughter, COVID is affecting our lives in so many ways!
I would say just visit with her as you are able to, and at some point ask her what she wants? she is probably too exhausted with everything else to make the plans, but I'm sure she LOVES the connection with you. if it's too much, she can tell you.

Emotional Friend
wow! how amazing to connect with someone like that! isn't technology amazing??
I am the type that 'needs to know' all the details - but some folks just don't share that stuff.
sounds like the texting to let him know you are there is really the only thing you can do right now.
if you have his address a regular old snail mail communication would be lovely---there is really nothing like receiving mail in this electronic age!

best to you all--
your support for your loved ones is a beautiful gift you are giving


#support #COVIDCancer
Emotional Friend

Having good friends who stand by your side is a true gift. I'm sure your texts mean so much.

I thought you might find this info helpful: How you can help someone with cancer - Canadian Cancer Society.

I love the idea of sending something in the mail that was mentioned above too.

We are here to support you through this,
Thank you so much for your response. I really like your idea of sending something thru the mail. I miss that myself, sometimes just too much text and email.

I am going to do that.

best to all
Emotional Friend

Not sure if you have stumbled across this little gem yet. I'm the kind of guy that likes to understand wht is happening and I have recommended it to a few people over the years that I have been dealing with lung cancer.


Thanks so much Angus. I've read this guide and am learning the lingo. I also popped over to the lung cancer forum. It is so uplifting to read posts from folks, like you, who are on this journey and have made it through their first year, and more. I think I'll be hanging out there as my friend may be starting with Immunotherapy.

Read your Spring Check-In too - great job!

Thanks again. I feel like I am making new friends here 😊
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