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College Student with a mother with cancer

oregonstudent
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2013

I'm 18 and my mom has had breast cancer since I was in 5th grade. It's been pretty controlled until over this past winter break, we found out that it has spread . Things aren't looking very good especially when I get the sense my mom is hiding things from me to protect me. She always talks as if she doesn't have much time. And the worst part is, I'm away from home because I'm in college. I'm a freshman and it gets so lonely here because nobody seems to understand what it feels like to be hurt. It's so lonely and I think I'm depressed. I feel like I should transfer to a college back home because its the right thing to do yet I can't find myself to actually DO IT. I feel horrible but I really think I have a lot of academic opportunities here. Yet I feel really bad because my mom started up chemo again but for the first time, I'm not here for her. I was ALWAYS there for her. I would skip school to be there for her, I would wake up several times a night for her, I would drive her anywhere, I would help her when she would vomit, I would take her to appointments, get her medicine, etc..in my family I was really the only one there for her. My siblings were in college and my father (being the only one working) worked all day. And now I feel like the worst child in the world because I abandoned my mother. And I haven't told a single soul what im going through because they cant possibly even fathom the idea of what I'm going through. I just feel so bad and Im so confused because a part of me wants to get my college experience but at the same time, I should be home. Im torn and I'm so alone. I feel so bad for my mom who has to go through all this pain by herself.

Lisa6
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2013

You are carrying so much on your shoulders and I can understand how torn you must be.  As a mother myself, I would encourage my child to stay in college and focus on getting an education.  I am sure your mother does not feel like you have abandoned her and I don't think you should feel that way either.  You need to make friends at college and get involved with groups and clubs there.  Don't seclude yourself. I am sure the friends that you make would understand if you talked to them about how you feel.  Your mom would feel awful if you came home from college to take care of her, I just know she would.  Where are your siblings now and your father?  You were there for her when you could be during high school and you can still call her every day, send her cards, etc.  I am so sorry you are going through this, and I think all of your feelings are completely normal.  Hang in there.  I will pray for you and your mom.

oregonstudent
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2013

Lisa6,

I really appreciate the reply. My siblings are busy with their jobs and are often away as my father is too. He works a lot being the only one bringing in an income. It feels really good for someone to listen to me. It means a lot. And your prayers are more than kind :)

Patrick72
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2013

OS, you are going through an awful lot there. I understand a bit of what you are going through. When I was in college back in the 90s, my mom had a cancer relapse. It sucks to be away from family when it feels like you could help out more where they are. It was in my last year at school right before finals, so I ended up being completely distracted from my school work. While I do not know what college you are at, there is a good possibility that they have a counseling program for students. It might be helpful to you to go there and talk to someone. I know that it would have helped me if I had thought about it at the time.

I'll say prayers for you and your mother and your family if that is ok.

 

All my best,

 

Patrick

oregonstudent
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2013

Dear Patrick,

Thank you for your input. It means a lot. I think I will go seek some counseling because it will do more good than harm! Thanks for your advice and your prayers are too kind. Thank you :)

 

 

amccaul2
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2013

I completely understand your troubles. I am a recent college grad and just found out last week that my father has cancer. I live in Georgia while he is in Texas and it is so hard to not forget all responsibilities and jump on a plane to get to him. It's tough when no one around you knows what is going on in your head too. My father has said the sdame thing to me, stay at work, I will let you know when I need you.

All I can say is that the best thing for me has been not to panic and to stay in constant contact with my father and family to be kept in the know with everything that has been going on and to keep faith that everything will work out as it should.

I hope everything works out for you and your family and I will keep you in my prayers.

 

Amiee

 

Patrie
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2013

I feel the same way you do.  You see, my father has colorectal cancer.  He was diagnosed just this March and what's sad is that I can't do anything to take care of him because he's in the US and I and the rest of my family are here in the Philippines.  I also think that my colleagues at work do not seem to understand why I have been suddenly withdrawn and irritable.  I work as a college English instructor and I think it helps if you write about your feelings. I write in my diary, I update my blog too.  But what's more important is really being able to find people who can and WILL understand what you're going through, so I hope that all of us in this network will be fighting our battles together.  From a teacher's point-of-view, I think they're right, continue with your studies, your mom would not like to see you be miserable.  Let's take each day at a time, and always hope and pray that everything will be soon fine.

Bill Baker
Posts: 23
Joined: Oct 2011

I too was in college as my father went through cancer.  He died a week after finals.  All I can tell you is  that self care is crucial.  This is an emotional/spiritual marathon in which you don't know where the finish line or rest stops are located.    She knows you love her.  That is all and the best anyone can ask.  Then next best thing for a mother is to know her child will be "okay".  Self care (including finishing schooling) is not selfish, it is healing. For all.  I am now battling cancer issues at the same age my father was.  I have a daughter the age my younger brother was at the time of my father's death.  I am open with her about these issues.  Be well Oregonstudent.   Your potential in school and through what you're experiencing at home will touch many.  Heal, love, mourn losses, grieve when necessary and enjoy life.  

kj13's picture
kj13
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2013

I (kind of) know what you're going through. My mom was diagnosed w/colon cancer in June 2009. We thought all was well, so in spring 2010, I applied to grad school out of state and got in. I went to school 12 hours away. Three weeks after school started, we found out we were in for Round 2. I thought many of the same things you are. I wasn't sure if I should quit school altogether, take a leave from school (a definite possibility for you!!!), transfer to a school closer to home (also a possibility for you!) or just plow on through. I also wondered how "honest" my mother was being with me, and I still wonder how much information she's (not) giving me. I was her primary caretaker before I left for school and knew what to do in pretty much every situation.

I ended up staying in school and she got through things pretty well and went into remission in spring 2011. Fast forward to March 30, 2012, and we get the news that we're in for Round 3. She's been in treatment ever since with no end in sight.

Talk to your family, your academic advisor, professors and, if you're open to it, the student counseling center. You have a lot on your plate!!!!! It's ok to say that you need a break, to not know what to do (there's no guidebook for this afterall), to be mad, angry, confused and generally feel whatever you feel. You'll have good days (GREAT days actually!) and really, really bad wish-I-was-a-turtle-so-I-can-tuck-my-head-into-my-shell kind of days. That's ok too!

 

Keep your head up and just put one foot in front of the other. Trust that you'll make the decision that's best for you and your family.

 

GOOD LUCK!

j587
Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2013

Hey, I totally get what you are going through...I lost my mom to cancer at 20 when I was in college and had to care for her in high school. I still am in college now. It's tough feeling "different,"when everyone else around you in college is all about partying and having a good time and you are stuck caring for your parent or have lost your parents and are going through a lot. Message me on here if you want to talk more and become friends or support each other in this.

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