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My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

emily1993
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2013

I just finished my sophomore year of college and a week after I came home from school for the beginning of summer, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She is currently elligible for surgery in August. My question is, I have three younger sisters, ages 18, 16, and 12. The 18-year-old is supposed to start college out of state in the fall. I go to an out of state school as well. I have been helping my parents out a lot by making meals for the family each night and doing extra chores since I haven't been in school or working. My sisters finish school this week. My plan was to leave for summer school at my college in a week. However, I overheard my mom and dad talking saying how much of a help I've been already and how great it would be if I stayed here this summer while my mom starts chemo. Her surgery is supposed to happen in August if all goes well. I would return home from summer school on August 9.

I really want to do what is best for my family, and I was thinking that they might need my help more in the fall. I could take a semester off and possibly work a little/take a community college class or two/work on a novel I've had ideas for for a while now, along with helping out my mom of course (keep her company when my dad is at work and sisters are at school, cleaning, driving my sisters, and cooking).

I took the first semester of organic chemistry in the spring and I would like to take the second semester while it is fresh in my mind this summer (for 8 weeks). I like school a lot but I can't stand the thought of being so far away during such a hard time. My parents are telling me I need to make my own decision about summer since going back to school for summer isn't manditory, but here is my struggle-- this situation is so fresh and will take a lot of adjusting. My 16-year-old sister is my best friend in the world, and is being strong for my mom but also taking the news very hard. Would it be better to stay home to support my family in the beginning (right now) during her 8 weeks of chemo? Or would it be better to take time off in the fall when she has her surgery and will be continuing chemo and my sisters will be in school? Or... should I just plan on taking a lot of time off (summer and then possibly fall) to help the fam? Or, would it be best to stay in the summer and go back to school in the fall? I just have a feeling that fall semester would be so hard for me no matter what and my grades may be affected. I would rather take that chem class while it is fresh in my mind. I am thinking my best decision is to take off for a semester in fall, but after hearing my parents say they would love it if I were here this summer it just makes me feel so guilty to leave.

Oneshot's picture
Oneshot
Posts: 70
Joined: Jul 2009

Emmily1993,

First this is a decision ONLY YOU can make.  

Having said that.  I want you to think about a few things.

1) This is your mother. She has a life threarening desease. If this desease takes her from you . You get no extra time with her to do anything!

2) College might be a little hard to get back into if, you put it off for a bit.  But you can most always go back to college.

3) You already heard or over heard what your parents were discussing. So you know their thoughts already.

4) You have to live with your choice. The rest of your life!

 

  Reading your post. It sounds like you pretty much already made your choice. And any way you look at it, it's tough! 

Again!  This is just food for thought.

 

 Please don't think that, I'm trying to be harsh with you. But, this is what life is all about. Making tough choices and having to live with them!

I don't have any clue what your relationship is or was like with your parents. So I'm not here to judge you in any way. Your choice is , just that, your choice.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers,

Oneshot

 

 

 

emily1993
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2013

Thank you for your input. My parents are now saying they want me to go back for summer school so I don't forget my studies but they also want me to stay for the help and support. I just feel like I would be deserting them though-- I get to leave and take a break while they are still stuck in this situation. I just think that if I stay this summer I will be burnt out in the fall which won't be good for anyone, and if I go back to school, take a "break" from this situation, and return when the serious stuff happens, I will be better equipped to handle it.

MaggieCat
Posts: 54
Joined: Dec 2011

www.whatnext.com/users/Hilary

Hello Emily - My niece Hilary has been supporting my brother (her father) through his fight with pancreatic cancer. She has "blog" if you will on the AMC survivor website, What Next.  Please take a look at Hilary's thoughts during this journey.  The site is interactive, so please ask questions!  Everyone is different yes...though some of the challenges with Chemo, Whipple, etc...are very similar.

Maggie

MaggieCat
Posts: 54
Joined: Dec 2011

Emily....  Forwarded Hilary your comment and query... She's here for you as needed.  I was a Chem major back in the day... and SOOOOO understand how you feel..."to strike while the first semester info is fresh...."  To me the challenge of a full semester Chem class in a summer session is this - focus, focus, focus.... (I did my third semester Org Chem during a summer session....wow...)... Don't know your major.... just have to appreciate the challenge.... also consider talking with your university advisor as you work through this.... Maggie

emily1993
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2013

WOW! that blog is very uplifting. thank you very much for sharing. 

MaggieCat
Posts: 54
Joined: Dec 2011

Emily... you can call on us as needed.... you are NOT alone... Maggie

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