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Mom has given up
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My mother was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She has hidden the lump in her breast from all of us for many years and also did nothing about it. So many years that it has opened up. She is 85. She is still very physically able and it is important that she is active for her continued quality of life. But, she just stays on the couch. She doesn't want the family to push her to move. It is difficult to understand how she can just give up. My father is 88 and also very physically capable. But her giving up will also affect his health. He doesn't cook much. She won't. The more she doesn't move, the more she can't move, the more her mental health is affected. She has stated that she wants her independence and if something happens to dad, she wants to stay alone in their home. But she isn't working towards that goal. It is difficult for the family to give her what she wants -- to be left alone about it. I am determined to do so, but I'm struggling.
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6211 Posts
Maris‍ I'm so sorry....your mom could be severely depressed and in denial. Is there any chance she she would agree to talkj with a therapist? Would you and your dad consider taking to someone? Oncology social worker is a fabulous resource. I'm not sure the reason for her keeping it secret...could be a many number of reasons....trying to protect the family... not wanting to be a burden...denial,depression but sure sounds like she could use an objective shoulder to lean on. I hope you can get in touch with the social worker in oncology who will have some suggestions as to what you are able to do to help her and your dad
324 Posts
Maris‍ , I was 59 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have two grown children and a mom who is now 90.

When I was first diagnosed, I told my husband that I did not want to tell the kids or my mom. I think there were a couple of reasons for this. One, I was dealing with the diagnosis myself and trying to wrap my ahead around it. I wasn’t in a place to deal with how my family may react. Two, as a mom, you always want to protect your children from the icky stuff, regardless of their age. I also wanted to protect my mom. I didn’t want them reeling like I was so it was important to me to have a plan that I could share with them.

It may be helpful for both your parents to talk to the social worker at your mom’s cancer centre. They can help them both with the emotional side and the logistical side of dealing with your mom’s diagnosis.

It may be helpful to have a conversation with your parents about what they want and how they feel they can achieve their goals. Then ask what you can do to help support them to meet their goals. Their goals may be different than yours so you need to be prepared for that.

Your parents are lucky to have you in their corner.

There is a Caring for Someone with Cancer forum available that you may find helpful and get some good information and support. It can be found at the link below:


Know we are here to support you.
2 Posts
That is interesting that you want to protect your children. To me it feels like I'm not a good enough daughter to share with. I would much rather know everything and be able to deal with it, then not know. It really makes me feel like I'm not a good daughter. I know that isn't the case, but that doesn't stop the feelings.

For anyone wanting to protect their adult children, think about that as well. Because if you die of cancer and they find out that you had it for years, that is a very awful feeling that will be very difficult to deal with.
1356 Posts
Maris‍ Im sorry for what your family is going through, it’s so tough to see someone you love dealing with a serious condition.

It sounds like your parents are independent people who want to deal with things themselves, and I wonder if the approach you need enables that to happen. They will have some practical issues to deal with and maybe they don’t want their children to help, but perhaps they would allow someone else? That’s where I think the social workers can help. They are available for you as well as your parents and they are a great resource who could reach out to your parents and offer assistance and advice. The experts are well-used to dealing with these issues, and have many things in their toolkit for helping.

How do you get Mom to move from the couch - that’s a really hard thing. She’s had a shock, although if she knew the lump was there she may have had her suspicions so it could be she’s dealing with all kinds of feelings including guilt and despair.

If she is seeing an oncologist for treatment, she will be being assessed for things like depression, and they will be probing her with questions about what she is eating and monitoring her weight, and they have access to dieticians to advise too.

And there are palliative care teams who could address so much of this, if your Mom expressed interest in their help. They deal with the physical, emotional and mental sides of dealing with cancer for the patient and their family at any stage of their care. You can find out more at https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/palliative-care.html and https://www.virtualhospice.ca/en_US/Main+Site+Navigation/Home.aspx

You’ve come to the right place for support and help - we are here for you. Essjay xx
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