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Coping with reality...My mom is dying 
Started by ntytaneck
14 Dec 2012, 5:49 AM
Hi all, I'm Nicole. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in September. When she was diagnosed, she was told that she could choose no treatment with a prognosis of 2-4 months or choose chemotherapy with a prognosis of 8-10 months. We were told that there is no chance of her cancer going into remission as she has small cell lung cancer, which is very agressive and has a very low survival rate. So, the treatment would be to help her feel better and not get better. She opted for the treatment after some convincing from my sister, Dad and I.
She has had 3 rounds of chemo, but has had a lot of complications. She spent 3 weeks in hospital when she was first diagnosed and has been in the hospital for the last 2 weeks. At this point, she needs to decide whether she wants to continue treatment at all. I think she has had enough and really doesn't want to continue on.
I feel like I am just now really realizing what is happening. Seeing her deteriorate has been nothing short of heart breaking. She is only 61, an amazing mother and phenomenal person. To think about living the rest of my life without her is simply unimaginable. I honestly don't know how I am going to deal with her death when the time comes. It has all felt so surreal up until now but seeing her in the hospital over the past couple of weeks, I had a realization today that we might not have much longer with her. I'm 30 years old and never imagined that my mom would never hold be a grandmother or enjoy her new house that she dreamed of having for so many years. Selfishly, I want her to live as long as possible. The most important thing is that she doesn't suffer and I respect whatever she chooses in terms of continuing treatment or not.
Thanks for listening...just typing this out has helped me feel better :)
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
14 Dec 2012, 2:30 PM
Hi Nicole,

Welcome to Virtual Hospice. I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom. She and you are both so young. You have found a community who will support you through the difficult journey ahead. 

First I want to let you know that you are not alone. Trueheart's mother decided to not proceed with treatment for brain cancer in September. She has been jounalling and sharing her and her mother's experience with the community here:
And Pudding, like you is facing the reality of losing a parent much too young. She, too, has found just writing her thoughts helps her to cope. You can share with her here:
Your mother will appreciate your supporting her decisions. It is not an easy one to make, but knowing that you love her and support her decisions will help.

Do you live in the same town as your parents?
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Reply by Liticia
16 Dec 2012, 11:58 AM
Hi Nicole,

My husband was diagnosed with lung cancer stage 4 last november and past away in june this year.  You know that there is no cure for her so my husband was told same thing for the number of months.  He didn t want to do any chimio because he knew of all the suffering  so I respected that.  We want to keep them so badly with us don t want to loose them but at one point we have to let go and I am writting this to you and still crying it is tough but the suffering for them will get worse.

Respect wath she wants do special things with her tell her how much you love her.

I am not a specialist but know wath you are going threw.  Thinking of you

Take care! 
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Reply by Plum1
17 Dec 2012, 1:29 AM

Dear Nicole,

As mentioned to you by the moderator of this site, you have entered a community who will care for you and walk with you through these very difficult and painful times. How beautiful that the first person to respond to you, Liticia, is another person who has recently lost a loved one to the same illness. Sharing with others you can trust, and being supported by someone who really knows what you are feeling, are gifts to be treasured. And I am sure you are already experiencing this.

Though I cannot offer personal experience of this form of cancer, I have accompanied persons who are dying, as well as their families. Please know that I can empathize with your desperate sense of loss, unfairness, and helplessness. Your love for your mother is very strong, so strong that you are ready to let go so that she does not need to suffer further. Your family is facing such difficult decisions, decisions none of us ever would wish to face. It is only the strength of love which can allow you to take one moment at a time.

Liticia, I am deeply touched by your urging Nicole  to focus on her relationship with her mother, to tell her that she loves her. With little time remaining, it is the quality of the time together which is the priority. As sad and as painful as this time may be, I am sure that it will hold many precious gifts for all.


Nicole, does your family consist of you, your sister and your father? How are you able to support each other? Is there a larger support network around you? Your reaching out to this online network suggests that you recognize your need for others to be with you. That is wonderful! Yes, it is critical to have others with whom you can be vulnerable, sharing whatever feelings come up within you. Know that you can be fully open and transparent here.


I am wondering whether you are experiencing the hospital staff as supportive as you need. Are they sharing adequate information with your family? Are they open to your questions? to your feelings?

You mentioned that you do not know how you will be able to cope without your mother who has been such a presence, a mentor, and a strength. When you do actually face that time, we will still be here for you, walking with you through your grief. It appears that this journey has already revealed to you how strong you are in facing the reality of your mother;s dying, in being ready to accept her choice to discontinue chemo, in discovering that your love for her is enabling you to let go. When the time comes, you will no doubt deal with your loss with the same grace. Not easy!! - but possible with the support of those around you, and all that you carry within from your 30 years of life. 

But right now, you can only be where you are in this moment with your mother. I hope and pray that you can enter it with your whole being. Be gentle with yourself. And let love carry you.

Is there anything in particular you would like from us? Know that I hold you in my heart and prayer.

Plum1

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Reply by Plum1
17 Dec 2012, 1:34 AM
Liticia,

I want to respond to you as well as to Nicole. You are clearly grieving the loss of your beloved husband. How courageous of you to enter someone else's pain, and to offer your care.

Would you like to share more about your grief? How are you coping? Could we be of support to you?

Plum1
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Reply by marstin
19 Dec 2012, 5:08 PM
Hi Nicole,

I am so sorry to hear about your mom. My husband passed away from bladder cancer in July at the age of 62 and it was a difficult process.My daughters are only 20 & 22 and it has been hard to watch what they have had to deal with. What I can tell you is that we found that as a family we drew closer together as the disease progressed. We spent much more time together and although at times it wasn't easy due to medication problems, we reminisced alot. I know for my youngest it has been particularly difficult to accept that her dad won't be there to see her succeed in life, or see her get married, or have babies. She is now supporting a friend who's stepdad has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. As difficult as this process is, it does bring out in many, the need to help others through their pain. There is that common bond on this site. Although we cannot lessen your pain, we are all here to help in any way that we possibly can. Please visit often and share your emotions and we will try to help you get through this.
Hugs,
Tracie
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Reply by SeaGlass81
07 Jan 2013, 11:09 PM
Hi Nicole,

My thoughts are with you and your family through this challenging time and I hope that today is a good day for you and your mother. My grandmother was officially diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last week after a rough month of tests and uncertainty. They originally found the cancer in her right hip, and after some scans and biopsies determined that the source was her lungs. My family and I are in a similar situation in that she was given a prognosis of 2-4 months with no treatment, 9-12 with radiation; they did not offer her the option of chemo due to her age and how advanced the cancer has become. She is going to start radiation treatment this week on her hip only as the mass in her lungs is too close to her heart and this is only to make her more comfortable, not to cure her. It's so confusing and scary and I too am faced with the stark realization that I'm going to have to say goodbye to this amazing woman much too soon.

She is 79 years old, the matriarch of our family and one of the most important people in my life; my mother was a young, single mom so my Grandma helped raise me while my mom worked to keep the lights on. She is one of my best friends.

I won't say I know how you're feeling because that's impossible. But I can say that I hear you and what you're going through and have compassion for what is coming up for you since my situation is somewhat similar. At 31 years old, it scares me to imagine my life without my Grandma who has been there, through thick and thin, since the day I was born. What I've been trying to do is focus on what I love about her, how amazing she has been to me and our family and all the things she wants for me: happiness, comfort, love and a full life. I try to think of the time I have left with her and providing her with the strength now that she gave me for 31 years and sometimes it helps me get through the moments when all I want to do is stay in bed and cry. My family has started to come together more than I could have imagined over this and I'm so grateful everyday for their support, too.

I sincerely hope that whatever this journey brings for your mother, you and your family that through it all you can find some peace in knowing that you are all surrounded by love & support.

As Tracie said, please visit often and we're here to help where we can :)

Love & gratitude,
Crystal
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Reply by marstin
08 Jan 2013, 1:19 AM
Hi Crystal,

What kind words you have for Nicole. It is that form of reaching out to others in need that in many ways brings comfort to us when we are dealing with our own pain. In addition to my daughters aged 20 & 22 dealing with their dad passing from Cancer, we also lost my Mom 7 weeks later from the stress of it all. My daughters spent most of their lives with my Mom since the day that they were born and when I hear you speak, I think of them. They also, although grieving for their dad, spent all of their free time with their Grandma at the hospital until she passed. I believe it was such an important thing for them as they too relived old memories with her and laughed and cried and felt the love for this wonderful woman. Our entire family bonded together and it was so special for all of us. All I can say is to treasure each moment so that when all that's left is the memories, you will have them to help you through the grieving process.

Hugs,
Tracie
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