New Caregiver to Mother In Law with Breast Cancer

SonSon Member Posts: 174
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I have read quite a few posts and find it hopeful and encouraging.
I am caring for my mother-in-law who has metastatic breast cancer. She was told that she had cancer in the beginning but told after her left mastectomy that they got all the cancer. They told her that the treatments (radiation and chemotherapy) was treatments for the bones with calcium and lasers that should have been given right away by the doctor who performed the mastectomy. This is all stories to conceal the fact that she has cancer and is being treated for it. My husband said this is being done to keep her hopeful.
She is 76 (just celebrated her birthday on June 13) and is so frail, thin and weak.
She had her surgery and initial treatment in Egypt where she has her home.
My husband brought her here to be with her and continue treatment. However, he travels for business and is away most of the time. I hope I can find some help and encouragement here. I have not gotten to hear from the oncologist here, yet, what she thinks is best for her. We are proceeding to some more radiation treatments, but I think this is my husband's wish.
She is so miserable - it seems unfair to push her through more treatment if it is not helpful. If the doctor has directed radiation for treatment of pain it seems that there would be less distressing methods of palliative care.
And it is really bothering me that she is not participating in the knowledge of her illness and treatment. I am working hard on just getting my husband to accept the reality of her condition - sometimes he says he knows she is in poor condition, but then other times it seems that he expects so much.
I know I have served up a mixed salad, here, but there are so many thoughts and feelings I have about this and I just don't know what the right questions are.
I just hope I can make her time lovely and comfortable.


  • Akiss4me
    Akiss4me Member Posts: 2,188
    Bless you....
    ....for wanting to make her time lovely and comfortable. You certainly are in a tough situation since that is your husband's Mother. I was in a similar situation years ago with my Mother-In-Law. My husband and I butted heads on how much to inform her of the truth.

    Besides the fact that she is his Mother, my husband also had medical power of attorney for her when she became too weakened. I would not have wanted to be in his shoes because I watched how much anquish it caused him never knowing if he made the right decisions.

    Although I could not understand his reasons all the time, I respected his wishes when it came to how much to tell his Mother as I know he would do the same if the situation was reversed. I figured although I knew her for over 30 years, he knew her all his life and knew her best, therefore I will honor his wishes even though they conflict with my beliefs. Besides, he only wanted what he thought was in her best interest.

    She did not particapate either so I know how you feel.. It is very frustrating from a women's point of view. But I had to agree with my husband that his mother was too frail to make a sound decision. But sometimes I wonder if he didn't go to far wanting her to hang on because he couldn't let go. In the end, he ultimately said his goodbyes and let her go when he remembered she had told him she never wanted to live on a respirator. I was by his side with him when she died.

    The bottom line was :
    A) My husband had first priority when it came to making decisions for HIS Mother
    B) I Should respect my husband's wishes WHATEVER they may be
    C) The respect my husband had for ME when it was all over, for honoring his wishes when it came to his Mother, was well worth it in the end

    It is a fine line because you are family. I hope you can find some peace and comfort with this. Please visit us and keep us informed. There is also another Discusion Board on this site for caregivers that you may find helpful as well. Best of luck to you. :) Pammy
  • dyaneb123
    dyaneb123 Member Posts: 950
    Hi SonSon
    Just be sure to

    Hi SonSon
    Just be sure to sit in on the next meeting with the Oncologist and listen to what he is actually telling her. Oncologists are usually pretty straight forward with the facts. And I am sure he would meet with you privately and explain her real condition if he has agreed with your husband to protect her from the truth.