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Kids and cancer- deadly combo?

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

I have posted a few times on family issues and am now in a very upsetting situation. I love my kids dearly and would do anything on Earth for them, but I'm at the end of my rope with my daughter right now and don't know what to do anymore.I hope one of you has some advice that I can use to get through current situation; I'll explain-
My 20 year old daughter moved home about 4 months ago after a failed relationship and we gave her all the love and support that we could.Well, she ended up seeing another guy and got PG; ever since then, the hormones have made her an emotional time-bomb; she constantly screams at all of us, will not help with any chores and is taking so much time off work ("she's soo stressed!")that her boss called to tell us that she would be terminated.
I have to say, I lost it! I told her that if she didn't start behaving like an adult, quit screaming at everyone and help out a little more, that she should consider other living arrangements. Her response was to scream even more, and tell me that she is trying her hardest to deal with the stress and living with the rest of us was just making it worse. Excuse me? I am chopped to hell, sick as a dog and she's stressed? Maybe I'm taking this too personally ( I know hormones are whacko during pregnancy; been there), but I am at the end of my rope!
My husband told her to quit yelling at me, and if she couldn't get along with all of us, she should leave. Well, that's what she did. Now, I feel guilty, angry and afraid of what she's going to do next.My husband, son and I have done so much to help her and I don't know why I am feeling so responsible and conflicted.Is the cancer making me feel like I have to fix everything? I try to ignore the little things since DX, but this is not little anymore.
So, if anybody has any advice, I could sure use it. I'm running out of kleenex and a good cry just doesn't seem to be the answer today.
Thanks for listening,
Hol
P.S., Sorry for ranting, just feeling so overwhelmed.

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

we are here. It's what we do. Listen, help if we can.
Thing is...cancer never happens in a vacuum (wish it WOULD happen to our vacuums and leave US alone! LOL). What I mean is, Murphy's Law ("Whatever can go wrong, WILL") seems to be working in overdrive when we are fighting for our lives or caring for a loved one who is.
I know this suggestion does not sound realistic, and we all have to shoot for what is reasonable for us, but I think you might profit from professional help (counseling). I mean just for YOU alone. At least at first. Some of the other family members might choose to join in later, but if not, eh, you MUST do whatever you can to take care of YOU. The stress and guilt you mention is using up a lot of your valuable energy which you need for the repair and healing of your body.
I know you don't need me to tell you that your daughter is an adult and her decisions are hers and no one else can take responsibility for what she does or doesn't do....yadda yadda....I am a mother too. But, the only one you can change is you (credit to Dr. Phil) and there is certainly no shame in getting help with that, especially when we are overwhelmed.
God bless. Please keep us informed as you feel the need.

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Zahalene, Thanks so much for reminding me of what I already knew, but couldn't see for the emotional overload.I guess my daughter just reminded me that I cannot wrap my life up into a neat little package, even if I am terminal. I wanted so much for all of us to work out our problems and be O.K. at the end; this is NOT realistic. We are all human and my family will still have problems even if I'm not here to get them through it. Hopefully, I have given them enough love and support to get through the next few difficult months. Of course, I had to call my social worker to put that in perspective. I was just too emotional to see it logically. You made me stop and think, and the reminder that we all need extra help sometimes was just what I needed to hear today.
So, I will write her a note in the book that I started for her (I have one for all my kids) and let her know that I love her and wish only the best for her and maybe that will help her when she is ready to face things.I know that will make me feel better and right now the rest of my family needs me, so I cannot melt down because one of my kids has gone off the deep end because of hormones and stupid choices.If I didn't have cancer, I would ride this out with patience and things would eventually work out.
Duh!! Emotions seem to be amplified sometimes because of my dx; why do I tend to forget this? And since when did I ever have the power to fix anything without mutual cooperation? Silly, silly me!Thanks, again, for reminding me that I can only change my reaction to a situation and not the situation itself.God bless you and Dr. Phil!!
Much love,
Hollyberry

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

actively campaign for Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Mr. Johnson responded with his customary candor, "How can you throw someone else a life-preserver, when you, yourself, are drowning?" Coping with cancer, and all that it involves physically, emotionally, financially, etc., often feels like drowning and without the emotional and material resources to spare to help those we may love who are, themselves, in need.

Holly, to become as strong as you are, your daughter will have to adapt to shouldering her own burdens and living her own life, as you have. 12-step programs have the saying, "Let go, and let God." "We" can't even control what are own bodies are doing to us, let alone what our family members do to themselves! Sure, your daughter is scared right now, but who isn't? It is no longer your responsibility to deal with her feelings. If a sitting president was unable to help his vice president win his party's nomination, how can you possibly deal with your daughter's situation? You have every right to feel overwhelmed. (Why is there is no such word as "whelmed"?)

Love and Courage!

Rick

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

You always amaze me; you have such wonderful advice and I can feel the concern you have for everyone in your responses.Not to mention the great anecdotes to go along with your wisdom. If you ever choose to put your advice and wisdom in a book, I can see a Pulitzer in your future!
God has gotten me through so far and when He's busy with others, he's given me you! Thanks so much. You're a balm to the soul.
Found my courage- thanks !!
Hol

hunpot's picture
hunpot
Posts: 90
Joined: Nov 2008

Holly,
being a young adolescent myself living with mom thinking i was right all the time i will give you a little insight, We learn from our mistakes and grow from them no matter what age but especially being young and PG.
I think you did the right thing by telling her to go elsewhere if she wouldnt grow up and chill out. It feels like you did the worst imaginable but in the end will make your daughter respect you even more may take her a few years but she will.
I was PG at age 18 lived with my mom and then when i had the baby she kicked me out she even called the cops on me cus i wouldnt leave. I thought i new it all back then was all about me. I hated her and didnt speak to her for a long time but as time went on I learned to believe she did what was best for me at the time and made me grow up and be responsible.

In the end 18 yrs later me and mom were the closest and we were best friends. When she got sick and i had to care for her and watch her die just made those times seem so pittiless. We as parents think we owe our children the world but as long as they have your love(and she knows you love her) she will realize some day especially when she has her own child you did what you had to do for yourself and others. You being sick needs to focus on yourself and getting better, its a struggle and fight with cancer so dont be ashamed at your daughters attitude and problems it could be hormones for now but she will realize soon, dont worry about her she will be fine and she will grow from this experience its all about yourself and staying strong so you dont get sick again.

Another short story is my brother inlaw age 26 lived with his parents and got his say (20th girlfriend he moved around alot) PG; parents were furious absolutley furious that he had no brains to take precautions this time and kicked him out of house when they found out so he went and lived with friends this day and friends that day he had nowhere to go girlfriends parents wouldn let him live there either(what a mistake he made) well she is now 8 months pregnant they have their own place and he hated his parents would ask us why mom and dad did this to him but he realizes now they made him grow up and be a man and take responsibilty for his actions and his new baby, hes not on best of terms with them but he does now why they did this and talks to them now.

So keep smiling she will come around it may take time and seem so long but just let her be, she will talk to friends and fmaily and maybe they will shead insight to her and make her realize and she will come back and apologize, for now have a good year and try to take care of YOU
tracy

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Tracy, thank you so much for your personal insight. It made me feel better to know she won't hate me forever. This is such a difficult time for all of us and I just didn't want my whole family to be up-in-arms over the current situation.
I'm so relieved to hear that you and Mom worked it out and you became so close; that soothes my very raw nerves . You're an angel to share such a personal and probably painful memory just to help me.
Thank you so very much,
Hol

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Holly, I saw this heading and had to have a look at the postings because I have a similar problem with my daughter, not my son, but my daughter. They are 3 years apart in age, my daughter 20 and my son 23. My daughter and I moved away after my divorce and we were doing fine then she hit her teens and things went south fast between us. It's a really long story but her friends convinced her it was nuts to tell me EVERYTHING as I had tried to get her to do, talk to me about anything and everything, and that coupled with the fact I was sick and unable to do as much as I would like to have done with her plus who knows how many other factors caused incredible conflict and stress between us. She shut right down, wouldn't talk to me about anything then one night I get a call there was an accident and she had fallen and hit her head and was unconscious and I should come right away. Apparently when I asked what happened they said they couldn't be sure because she was making no sense because SHE WAS SO DRUNK !!!!!! WHAT???????????? I had no clue she was drinking at all - vodka apparently, you can't detect it as well and I didn't. I felt so stupid. Anywho from there she was okay that night but it was clear there was a bigger problem between us than I thought, I moved her away from this bad group of friends and got her into a good youth group but unfortunately it was an evangelical group that was quite extreme (her choice of evangelical not mine) and long story short I feel as if she threw me away and started to spend most of her time with her boyfriends family who were in the church. I have no idea what she told them about me but they didn't include me in anything they asked her to. She is quite an actress (acted as a child) so I can only imagin what she made up. Fast forward to 2 years later and she was doing nothing to help me and I didn't know it but my heart was failing so you can imagin how I was feeling physically. One Thanksgiving I managed to make a whole Thanksgiving dinner for just her and I and was putting it on the table and out she came from her bedroom, all dressed to go out, and I said 'hey where are you going dinner is on the table', to which she said 'she is going out with her boyfriends family and just left me there. To say my heart broke is putting it lightly. I had to be rushed to hospital about 2 months later and they had to do an emergency pacemaker surgery - that's how bad my heart was the last few years when she had been at her worst. It was so hard on me and doubtlessly on her too. Because she wasn't listening to me at all, taking orders from this other family as well, I had no choice but to reduce the stress and tell her that if she wanted to make her own rules she needed to have her own place. I tried to get her into residence at the University since he would be going there that year but she ignored me and found a room in one of the Pentecostal families homes where they had boarders. She was almost 18 when this happened. It just broke my heart but I would do no good to my daughter or son dead so I had to reduce the stress and it seemed freedom is what she wanted. I moved back to another province at that point knowing she was well taken care of, my ex was notified and jumped in with support but did ask her to come live with him but she refused. Since then she has come to visit once, still with the boyfriend and his family, and is treating his Mother like hers, it just is so hurtful I can't tell you but from your experiences I am sure you know what that's like. When she visits she has apologized to me twice for what she was like, she is maturing. Still she says things that put her boyfriends Mother where I should be and I die inside each time she does that.

Mother and daughter relationships are complex and often difficult at the best of times but when divorce and illness or just one enters the picture then it can get incredibly rocky it seems. I spoke with counsellors when we were having all the trouble, she refused to go with me at the time so I went alone, and the counsellors said that she may be latching on to a healthier Mother figure, not that she doesn't love me but because she is afraid of being left if we don't make it. Wow, that was hard to hear for alot of reasons as you can well imagin. The counsellor also said that since her brain is literally not matured yet she is incapable of lots of the emotions we as adults expect from loved ones, caring and nurturing and understanding - it's pretty much a selfish age even yet. Still, even knowing all of that, it was hard being treated so poorly by my own daughter and I wonder at that rationale that the counsellor had because you see some kids her age with sick parents and they can't do enough so I'm not sure of the reasoning at all for the disconnect that seems to happen sometimes between Mother and daughter.

She is emailing me now and again and sending Xmas gifts/birthday etc. but it sure isn't as close as it was and I wonder with this new Mother she has found, if it ever will be. To me this is worse than cancer, I had the bone marrow transplant for my family and now this has happened. I guess all I can say Holly is give it time, as someone else here has said. I have noticed a difference in her attitude as she matures but I hurt for her if something should happen to me before she really truly sees what REALLY occurred with us and won't be able to tell me. I want to get this solved between her and me NOW but time passes slowly sometimes regardless of ticking personal clocks.

I feel for what you went through Holly and this is interesting to see this topic when I truly felt it was only happening to me and maybe it was all my fault. Very interesting. Take care Holly and hopefully 2009 will find even a greater reconcilliation between the two of you and hopefully for me and my daughter. Hugs, Blueroses.

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Thanks for sharing,Blue. You and your daughter sound about as close as me and mine; I just wonder why, when things go really wrong with mine (read- she really screws up), I'm the one she turns to but, when a new guy comes along, it's so long mama! I don't know if trying to instill a little respect for your parents, she may have been reading tigerbeat or listening to her Ipod? Just kidding... I agree that mother-daughter relationships are hard. They almost seem poisonous from the ages of 13 to 26. What to do? I had to back off, talk to my social worker and just write her a note in the book I keep for her letting her know that I love her and forgive her, but I don't know if she will be back to read it or not.That was not easy!
I hope your daughter realizes what a wonderful mom she has and that she can come to appreciate all that you went through to be there for her.My sister did almost exactly the same thing to my mom that your daughter did to you; she joined an evangelical church that was very judgmental and felt that anyone who didn't belong to their church was going to Hell. That really devastated my mom and it took many years for them to have a decent relationship. I personally don't believe that you have to know any magic words to have a relationship with God and I, therefore, don't have much more than a cordial relationship with my sister. Keep waiting for her to grow out of it; you never know.
If nothing else, Blue, we have each other for support, and I am grateful for that. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Much love,
Hol

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Wow is that right about your sister doing the same thing to your Mom? Amazing. I remember one time when I realized what was happening with that church and my daughter I pointed out to her some point that had a negative feel about the church. She got this weird scarey look on her face and said 'those are the Devil's words'. I nearly fell over. I said 'are you calling me the Devil' and she said 'no, it's just that they say (the church that is) that people who speak out against the church are voicing the Devils words. I said 'of course they say that, so no one can challenge their doctrines'. From that day on I knew our relationship was in trouble. I don't see us becoming closer for a long long time and like I said before I just, for her sake, hope she snaps out of it before it's too late and she can no longer talk to me about it - when I pass on I mean. I don't want that regret for her of course. She is cordial with me and me with her and she knows that she can always come to me, the door is always open, but these people are keeping her away - I know it. From time to time I send her and my son stories by email of when they were very little, cute little fun memories that they might have forgotten because they were so young, being divorced now I doubt my ex will tell them any lovely Mummy stories down the road so I want them to have the memories. It really is very difficult to have her at such a distance but you are right the relationship does feel almost 'poisonous' and she is only just turned 20 so a long way to go. I got her to the place in Canada where she can study her field of interest in University and raised her for the last several years alone and it just hurts to see her giving all her time and energies to strangers and her father who wasn't around to get through the rough times with her. Now he shows her off, the end results of a great career in front of her as she wraps up her university years - just like him coming in when all the hard work is done. Grrrr.

Hopefully this reply finds you feeling better and I like that idea of writing a book for your kids, I might think about starting one similar. Thanks for the idea. Take care.

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