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Caregiver for my mom - stage iv colon cancer

Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2011

I am currently the primary caregiver for my mom, who is dealing with a recurrence of colon cancer. She is in no way dependant on me, quite the opposite. She is still very independent except when she has just had a treatment. She is currently getting chemo treatments every other week and does not feel good right after her treatment. I go to every doctor's appointment and there is always someone with her when she has her treatments. The problem I'm having is that she does not want to ask and is reluctant to accept help. I call her every day and she says everthing is fine even when it is not. How do I and other family members help her without her feeling we are overreacting? We don't know how she is handling this but what her to know that we are always there for her.

Barbara53's picture
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

Welcome, but sorry you're here. My mother is late stage ovarian, but it wasn't so long ago she was having chemo for a recurrence. Through it all, one thing I've learned is the importance of keeping our shared goals out there in the open. When I took care of her post-chemo, the goal was chemo recovery with no complications. Then the goal became preserving independence. Now it's changed to keeping Mom safe and comfortable at home. When she apologizes for being so much trouble, I remind her that we have a job here, and we'll face it together.

I call my mom every day when I'm not there, but she keeps a lot of secrets! Only caregivers will appreciate this story. Each time mom had chemo, she would have a day or two of semi-incontinence. Without ever discussing it, I'd get a box of Depends and as soon as it came into the house, it was like a giant mouse found the cheese and hid it away. Recently I bought a new box and the same thing happened. It's a shared secret, like a little play. I guess some things can be discussed, but others can't!

emtwoods's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 2003

My husband was recently diagnoised with Stage 4 Colon Cancer and is the backbone of our family. Asking for help or even letting others so things for him is so hard. He is the strong one and is always there to help him out and he just doesn't know how to deal with people doing for him. Sometimes it even makes him angry and I know he is angry at the disease not those who are helping but not everyone gets that.


Barbara53's picture
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

One thing to point out, each time it happens, is what a wonderful blessing you create for others when you allow them to help. After 2.5 years of cancer-fighting, mom finally sees this clearly, and she's kind of liking it. But I don't know how many times I've needed to point out how happy this person or that felt because they had been able to do something for Mom. It took her forever to get it. I, on the other hand, have heard her friends start sniffling when I called to ask them for favors because they were so elated to be able to do something helpful.

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