Sep 07, 2012 - 4:53 am
My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer two years and a few months ago. At diagnosis, she was expected to live a few weeks. Somehow she has managed to fight through and make it this far and has completely shocked everyone.
Back when she was diagnosed, we were all devastated. Mom was always so healthy. She ate right, took care of herself, did everything RIGHT. How could this happen? And she was so young (only 54 at diagnosis).
So we rallied around her and prayed for a miracle, and over the past two years, I have come to realize that our miracle is the gift of time with her. There won't be a cure. There won't be remission. We won't have any more time with her where this isn't part of her daily struggle. I think she accepts that at this point, and I think I've come to accept it for the most part too even though I hate it.
I feel so guilty that this isn't enough. I mean she has fought so hard for this, and we have been truly blessed with two years that we "shouldn't" have had with her to deal with the whole process, the eventual loss, to just spend time, make memories and be with her. Yet, I can't help but just be so damn mad...IT'S NOT FAIR!
I want my mom back. She has gone from the independent woman who can do anything on her own to a woman whose life revolves around chemo appointments, remembering to change pain patches, fighting with the insurance company, bouncing in and out of the hospital and just being sick all the time. She can't drive. If she does go out, she can't stay out long b/c the heat, the cold, the exertion kills her. I cannot stand seeing her in so much pain all the time. She is so weak and frail nowadays, but she keeps trucking along.
Very selfishly, I want my life back. I live about 12hrs away with two small children of my own, and we make frequent trips out to stay with her for weeks at a time. I cherish that time that my kids and I get to spend with her...every day of it, but it is our whole life. Our plans for more kids are on hold because I don't feel like I can be tied down and unable to go to her if she needs me, and I'm not getting any younger either.
In the last 6mos or so, I've finally reached a point that I'm not sure what to hope for any more. Early on, I was praying for the miracle cure, but that isn't going to happen. Then I was praying for more time, and we've had that, which has been wonderful. Now though, the uncertainty of each day and the agony of watching her cope with everything has me to the point that I almost want it to be over...for her, for everyone. I feel so terrible for feeling that way after all she has been through and how hard she has fought to stay alive this long.
Is it normal to reach this point? I feel so guilty, and I don't feel like this is something that I could ever say to anyone in "real life." It doesn't help that we're reaching the point of going off chemo again, which means that her tumors will explode again, and she's facing another possible hospitalization for a horrible reaction to her chemo drug, which is the only one that has ever actually made the tumors smaller (as opposed to slowing their growth slightly). Her hospital stays are usually anywhere from a couple of weeks to 30+ days.