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Survivor's Daughter - Introduction

wonderingalice
Posts: 49
Joined: Feb 2010

I'm so glad to have found this board, I feel that it is helping me stay sane through this unbelievably difficult time.

My mother (age 57) was diagnosed with Stage III UPSC (rare and aggressive type of uterine cancer) in July 2008. She had a hysterectomy/oopherectomy, internal/external radiation and a course of chemotherapy, which she finished in March 2009. In December 2009 a recurrence was found - a tumor attached to the upper portion of her bladder. Surgery was scheduled for January 26th but she become emergent with a bowel obstruction and was rushed on a med-flight to the hospital and had surgery January 22nd. They removed the fist-sized tumor and did a 8" bowel resection. A CT scan last week already shows new growth, and the chemo oncologist doesn't want to put her on the chemo that the gyn-onc called "her best chance" because of the other issues.

I don't know what I am looking for here other than some relation to what my mom and our family is going through. I have ups and downs of feeling like she's going to beat it despite all the grim statistics, and imagining the worst. I'm sure that's normal.

It's so difficult to see someone fighting this. My mom has lived a very healthy life - she is physically fit, doesn't smoke or drink. The only cancer in our family is environmental - my maternal grandfather died of metastasized prostrate cancer after retiring from a nuclear weapons plant.

I'm an only child so sometimes it feels like I'm dealing with this alone. Nobody really knows what to do or say.

You're all an inspiration - I am having such a hard time with this and I'm not the one with cancer...it takes such strength and grace to maintain a positive outlook and I have a melancholic personality to begin with.

I love my mom so much...cannot fathom life or who I would be without my favorite person in the world.

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

Sometimes, we of the big "C" become so obsessed with our affliction, that we don't appreciate the suffering of those who love us. Ironically, I am the cancer survivor in the family who outlived all those who were there for me while I was undergoing treatment. I would give anything to have them all back again so that I could tell them how much their support meant for me back then. Your mom will not have my longing or regret because whe can express herself to you now.

Love and Courage!

Rick

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I want to say first how sorry I am that you and your family have to go through all of this. Being a 20 year survivor of cancer and having had 2 small children when diangosed and treated I certainly understand your situation from both sides. I had to deal with medical issues for my Mom too as well at one point.

I also want to say, right off the bat, that you certainly have a gift in writing. I don't know if you use that gift in your daily work environment but you should definitely consider using your writing skills more often if you don't already. Actually maybe you could start by journaling your thoughts on this situation you are in with your Mother's illness and maybe a book for children of cancer patients/survivors or just caregivers in general might be in your future. I strongly believe that there is reason why we go through what we go through and your writing sure stands out to me. Just a thought. Well put posting for sure from what I read.

You are not alone in how you are dealing with this, let me say that first. The diagnosis is a trauma, a shock to your everyday life as you knew it - from all sides in a family. You should not feel guilty feeling the way you do based on the fact that, it's not you with the cancer, because all the feelings of all of the family are valid -each in their own ways. It's not easy on any member of a family.

Because of what I just said, and I know I sound like a broken record to many who know me on these boards, I have to ask the question, have you thought of talking with a good grief counsellor or one who deals with any aspect of the stressors of cancer? This board too will help to support you and give you ideas and stories that will inspire you for sure but in conjunction with this site a good counsellor is valuable for both you and maybe even your Mom but certainly for any other family members who might benefit from it too. Your Cancer Society there might have good contact numbers for you with counsellors or perhaps you know of one through friends and family. These counsellors are trained in helping you through all the steps of grieving the loss of the health of a loved one and make sure you don't get stuck along the way in one or more aspects of grief. I have checked in with counsellors along the way and it has always helped me. Psychologists who specialize in this area of anxiety, grief or even in cancer situations have worked very well for me but there might be other experts in the field as well where you are.

Support is super important in a cancer survivor's life and it sounds like you are giving your Mother that in spades so you are already doing alot for her in that regard. Keep it up but just remember to take care of yourself too because many caregivers and those close to a cancer patient can breakdown if they have not watched out for themselves as well, proper eating and rest and support from counsellors as I have described.

All the best and just keep loving your Mom, that is healing all on it's own. Write often on this blog and we will all support you here as well. Blessings to you and yours, Bluerose

wonderingalice
Posts: 49
Joined: Feb 2010

Bluerose, thank you for your kind words.

It's interesting that you picked up on my writing here, as I feel like these posts are a bit disjointed, but I do write! Mainly poetry, and I also have a blog that is shared only with friends. For that reason I haven't written a lot there about my mom's cancer, because I feel that those people hear enough about it from me on a daily basis.

I do have an appointment with a counselor this very week - I'm apprehensive as I'm a really quiet, private person and just can't imagine opening up to a stranger face to face. (that's why I'm drawn to the safer anonymity of places like this).

Thanks for "listening".

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

I am sorry that you are having to deal with this so early in your life. I am glad that you are getting help. These boards offer a lot of support, but they can't substitute for counseling. I was struck by your last sentence, wondering who you will be without your mom. You will still be you, and you will always be your mother's daughter. I am sure she is very proud of you and appreciates the love and care you are giving her. As we go through life, we attain may labels. Someone's child, someone's spouse, someone's mother, etc. Each of those will always be a part of us and adds to who we are. It sounds like your mother added many wonderful qualities to you and set a good example for you. You are that very special person she loves very much. Love never ends. Hang in there. Fay

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