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My dying mother.

Ell_Marie
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2010

I am currently watching my mother die. I am 22 years old and just graduated from college 4 days ago.

I have so many different emotions that its very difficult to sort through them all. This all happened so fast. In February, my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma when she went in to have a benign lump removed in her lung. She had a small melanoma spot on her right arm more than 3 years ago, which was removed fine without any trouble. (I have learned throughout this that <5% of melanoma can enter the blood and lay dormant in there for up to 15 years - this is clearly what happened to my mom, only it appeared much sooner). She entered into a trial in March with a very successful and well-respected melanoma specialist, and underwent 4 weeks of extremely powerful treatment (Interfeuron), but just three weeks ago, we learned from the scans that the cancer had only spread. Now it wasn't just in her pleura, but her lung, stomach, and parts of her liver. The doctors told us it was terminal, and she had anywhere from 6 months to a year to live.

Just yesterday, the doctor came over and we have decided to put her on hospice. She likely has a month.

I am in shock and so much pain to see how fast this has all happened. The cancer has physically eaten my mother away and I barely recognize her. On top of everything, my mom (a very young and hitherto healthy woman) was diagnosed with early onset alzheimer's before any of this cancer appeared -- and the disease and all the medicine has just enhanced that condition tenfold. I not only have to deal with a physically ill mother, but a mother whose mind is gone too. It's like the Notebook, only worse because there is the pain and the suffering that she is dealing with. She can barely speak and is often delusional, but there are those special moments when she will look at me, take her hand to my face, and whisper "I love you". That is all I really have right now. I have no idea how much longer she will be around, but I can't imagine she'll live to make July.

I am lucky to have a strong father and two incredibly close sisters to experience this with and to help me cope, as well as a loving boyfriend....but sometimes none of it is enough. I am not terribly religious, but I have turned to books like Conversations with God to try to make sense of how something so terrible and ugly could happen to someone so beautiful and strong.

I am without question closest to my mother, and always have been. I looked almost identical to her at my age. I can even begin to imagine life without her in our closeknit family. All she wanted was to be a grandmother, and now she'll never get to do that or even see me marry.

To all of you who have gone through this process already, I have respect and empathy for you and I feel close to you in a way despite having no real idea of who you are.

Any words of encouragement or advice during this difficult time would mean the world.

anthonya
Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2010

in the most difficult time in your life.

I just lost my mom to cancer on May 21. The pain is indescribable. I too was closest to my mom. Facing the thought of not ever being able to speak to her again is unbearable at this point.

Mothers are a unique people. Their love for their children is totally unconditional. They want their children, in situations like this, to be able to move forward with life and live it to its fullest potential. When my mother sensed the time was near, she told me that I needed to find in life what was going to give me the greatest fulfillment. She was more worried about her children than herself in the end.

I'm certain in your mother's heart it is the same way.

Stay close to your family. They are your greatest source of strength.

deno
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010

Dear Marie,

Your story is similar to mine. I am 24 years old and I was my mom's caregiver. She passed away 2 days ago.

In July, 2009 my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 RCC (Kidney Cancer Chromophobe) with a size of an average baby. Shortly after the surgery metastasis appeared in lymph nodes and bones. My mom was also under interleukin, interneuron therapy 3 days per week for 8 months. And until today I am still not convinced that the Immunotherapy is the best solution for advanced stage cancer patients.

Since the bone metastasis detection, my mom was in constant pain for such a long time. After 5th of May, my mom's condition started to get worse, as her thong and mouth got itchy and breathing got harder. In the last 2 weeks her condition got extremely bad and apparently the cancer spread to the brain, as my mom was showing no emotions at all. She was so much in pain that I sometimes asked God to take her because the pain wouldn't go away. During giving her massage I was telling her that if she can't stand the pain, she is free to go, and that I will take care of my dad and brother. Then I was telling her that if I only could trade my life for her, I would do that with no doubt. But despite all my words, she showed no reaction, and I know that if she was normal, she would have cried a lot.

Fact is that you have to prepare yourself for what comes. I know you are aware of this but although I had so much time to prepare myself for her leaving there are simply some things that you can never prepare yourself of. The moment she dies, her look, the funeral.

My consolation is that for all this time I was her caregiver. I did absolutely everything I could. I didn't sleep for weeks. And despite the fact that she didn't show any reaction, any sign, I did that with a lot of love and I am sure she knows it and she rests in peace right now.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1627
Joined: Aug 2009

I am so sorry you all are facing such hard times. I have no words that can help except to tell you that, like many others here, I care. I know that you are in pain, and as a mother, I wish I had the magic words. Please take care of yourselves. Fay

kyanne
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

My mother was diagnosed with uterine/cervical cancer in January, and died on May 22nd. I know a lot of what you are going through. For a long time, me and mom hadn't been close, but over the last year we had re-bonded. The best thing I can tell you is spend as much time you can with her. Whether she reacts or not, she knows you're there. Tell her you love her. Mom's are caretakers. They won't leave until they are sure everything is taken care of.

When my mom passed, I was sitting on the bed with her holding her hand. There is no other place in the world I wanted to be. The days after blurred together...the visitation, funeral, and then I locked myself in my apartment. I cried for days. I miss her so much, I want to pick up the phone to call her, and I know in my heart she's not there to answer. But...she's there. She'll always be there.

Just know that we area all stronger than what we think we are, and you CAN get through this. It'll be hard, it's still hard for me, but I'm still here.

Toni

nempark
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2010

You mentioned that you are not religious, but I commend you for knowing that God do exists. God our creator of the Universe is not the one that is the ruler of this system, its Satan so all that we are going through is because of the devil. Continue praying to God to give you the strength and and the wisdom in order for you to make right decisions and to be able to cope at this trying time. We here all know what you are going through, but I can tell you as an avid Bible reader that Mom when she passes will no nothing she will be just resting as though in a deep sleep. The Bible also promises at Revelation 21:3,4 that there will come a time when there will be no more pain, or sorrow and no more death. Believe me I have lost a number of siblings and Mom and Dad and at the time I never though that I could live without them, the this Great God did not create us to live in constant mourning He does want us to mourn but he is a God of comfort and will help us to endure and you will be surprised how much humans can endure. So be comforted my love, and help the rest of the family be strong, right now mom is in a state that even her is not feeling sad, its the care givers that feel the most. Believe me my love, you will manage. and remember it is the cycle of live at some point or the other we have to face it. Life goes on. Take care of yourself and be brave. May God bless you and may he give your mom peace. Thank God she managed to tell you how much she loves you. I send you peace and comfort. Keep in touch. June

AKAngel's picture
AKAngel
Posts: 74
Joined: Mar 2010

I can empathize strongly with what you're going through right now. Your mother can't be very old, and that is sometimes the hardest thing to understand. How can she die when you still need her? But, just remember, she will still be at your dress-picking out, your bridal shower, your bedside as you cry and miss her the day before your wedding, and there next to you on that special day. As well as every other event that happens to you. They never really leave us, those special people that are close to our hearts. I have mostly posted under the Caregivers board, so if you want, you can read some of what I've been through, but....
My dad and I are taking care of my mom,61, right now. We put her back on hospice when we noticed she was really starting to get worse faster than before. She went on on June 6 and by June 9 we were told by our hospice nurse that she would maybe have 4-5 days left...we are on day 4 now, and I mostly just want her to not have to struggle for every breath and just be at peace. Now, I'm a decade older than you, but still have those same little regrets like she won't see me get married, etc. but then I have to remind myself, just as I've reminded you, that I love her and she loved me, and will never really leave me for the rest of my life. God may take her soul, but you will always have a piece of her spirit.
Prayers to you and your family...........

Ell_Marie
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2010

Wow, all of these incredibly thoughtful and sincere posts are more than I expected. Though I obviously do not know any of you personally, your words are both calming and comforting, and I thank you so much for taking the time to write them. The situation here at home is more or less the same, with the one bright spot being that ever since my mother went off the chemo she's been having more of the snippets where she is (and acts like) herself. I have been able to say goodnight and 'I love you' to her every night, have sat by her and watched tv every day, and have gotten up early every morning to share coffee with her (something we always used to do; we still make the coffee now and she seldom drinks it, but I think it's the idea of it that counts for her...and for me).

anthonya, deno, kyanne, and AKAngel: I am so sorry you have had to experience this, too. You all share a great perspective and acute wisdom that can only really be spoken by those who have gained it through experience. I pray for you and your families, and I thank you for reaching out to me and mine. The power of understanding and talking to others who actually know what this feels like is larger than I could have ever known. Though she won't physically be there in years to come, I know my mother is never gone -- and that she will live on through me and my two sisters. Not a day will pass when I don't think of her, and I know she will be looking down on me forever until I join her. I was lucky enough to have had 22 years with her, and she raised me to be everything I am today, and for that I am forever indebted to her (and respectfully to God as well, for granting me this time and experience).

to grandmafay and nempark: thank you for your support and acknowledgement. i can tell by your empathy that you are both special people and I hope only the best for both of you.

my dad's big thing is that the Lord would never give us, or put us through, something we can't physically handle. He knows what He is doing even if it feels like that can't possibly be the case. I think all of us, with the help of loved ones and caring ones and sometimes the strength of those beyond ourselves, can and will get through heartbreaking obstacles like this -- and will only be stronger for it. Religion, if nothing else, provides a wonderful and divine sense of perspective on life...particularly during patches like these where a search for meaning and purpose is inevitable.

Peace, love, and strength to all you.
Thank you.

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