Is it normal to feel this way?

Why Member Posts: 1
edited September 2013 in Caregivers #1


 I am in my early 40s, single with no kids, had a wonderful but very stressful job and decided it was time to give it up and do something new. The job had taken its toll on me emotionally and physically so I knew I needed time to heal.   I paid all of my bills and put money back so I could travel and rest for a few months before looking for a new job.  It was exciting to think that I could go anywhere because I have no ties holding me down.  I had already booked and paid in full for a cruise when we found out my Mom has stage 3 ovarian cancer.  I thought I had at least 15 to 20 more years that I could spend with her so I was completely blindsided.  I immediately canceled my cruise and will be moving back to my home state to help care for my Mom this weekend.  My Mom is my best friend so I am not sure how to navigate this terrain.  I have gone through a whole gamut of emotions.  From anger because I feel like my life is over to guilt for feeling this way to sadness.  I keep telling myself “this is not about me” but I can’t help but wallow in my own sorrow a bit.   We have experienced a lot of sickness in our family so I know that I will cherish this time with her.  I feel so selfish for having these feelings.  Is this normal?   



  • grandmafay
    grandmafay Member Posts: 1,633 Member
    No Normal

    There isn't really a normal when it comes to feelings. They are your feelings and you are entitled to have them. Guilt is one feeling that accomplishes nothing, though. Often, we just have to acknowledge our feelings and move on. You are grieving the loss of your plans. That a loved one has cancer of any stage is scary. It's a wake up call that reminds us that humans are mortal and that we really aren't in charge of the future. Cut yourself some slack. You are taking all the right steps to be there for your mom. That's what really counts. Fay

  • JennySC
    JennySC Member Posts: 29
    Cancer is not normal

    Hi, Why,

    Sorry about your mom's cancer. Your reaction to the cancer sounded normal to me. My husband and I were very shocked by his DX. I felt guilty that I used to have so many overtimes and didn't cook meals on time, that might have something to do with his cancer. Now, my mind is more focused on the daily care rountine, and we try to be happy each day, at least we try.


    My husband has stomach cancer stage IV. Even the numbers don't look good. We haven't given up and pray for miracles. Also, many people of stage IV become cancer free after they get the effective treatment.

    Life is not easy for both cancer patients and caregivers. If you become your mother's sole caregiver, as I am to my husband, our life is not normal. It could be stressful sometimes.

  • LindaK.
    LindaK. Member Posts: 506 Member

    I guess you could look at it as good timing.  Imagine if you had the stress of that job AND had to care for your mother.  Everything happens for a reason, so maybe now is the time for you to care for your mother.  Just think of all the years she cared for you.  My mother has Alzheimers and most of the time she is sweet, but when she gets nasty, I think back to all the hours and years she changed diapers, fed us, bathed us, etc.  If you feel resentful, find a way to not let it show to your mother.  She doesn't want to be going through this either.  Take it 1 day at a time.  My husband was diagnosed in December, 2012.  He has had surgery, 3 hospitalizations and 12 chemo treatments.  We got through it, just put one step in front of the other.  You will be surprised at yourself, I know I was.  You will find patience, stamina and even happy moments in your role as a caregiver.  One day you will look back and be happy you did what you are doing.

    Good luck to you and your mother.  I have found this board very valuable in our cancer journey.

  • Natalie_Meyer
    Natalie_Meyer Member Posts: 2
    I think it normal

    My mom was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer stage 1 and fought it for two years before passing.  At first the diagnosis was goo however we were eventually given 3 - 6 months at that time I moved her in with me.  In order to move her in with me I had to buy a new house.  My husband had been in the market but didn't think that we would be buying a house in such a short time period (it took us only a month to close and move in) we also thought that we would be trying for another child when we did purchase a house.  My mother and I had a rough relationship and there are still many questions that wil never be answered.  I wanted to give you some background before I tell you that I can related.  There were times when she live with me that I was mad or sad that my family couldn't continue on with our lives.  I felt like we were stuck and everything now revolved around my mom.  I always felt so guilty after feeling that way and I still do.   Now that it is all over I am so thankful I got the time with her that I did and I am angry that I didn't move her in sooner.  It was the most trying and emotional experience of my life but worth it.  The best advice I can give you is to know that your emotions will pass and change a million times throughout this whole experience.  Your emotions are what they are and sometimes they won't make sense what matters is what you do with your emotions and how you handle the situatio.

  • lillefty
    lillefty Member Posts: 22
    Don't judge yourself

    Hearing that your mom has been diagnosed with not just cancer but an advanced stage of cancer is overwhelming. I think that most people in that situation will have emotions that run the gamut - anger, resentment, frustration, sadness, numbness, and back again. I certainly went through a why me phase - I really think this is actually natural. 

    I just returned to my own life in Washington DC after having spent most of this year in Chicago helping my mom as she went through treatment for cancer and helping take care of my dad who had an illness that caused paralysis and left him quadrapeligic in the beginning of 2009. My mom was diagnosed with stage IVb clear cell uterine cancer (very aggressive and very rare subtype of uterine cancer) in April of this year. This was after she had surgery in March and was diagnosed with the cancer as a result of tests run after the surgery. I can happily report that she recently completed her treatment and received the news just yesterday that she has now has evidence of cancer. We are all very happy now. 

    But I can tell you I went through a lot of the same emotions you are - I felt trapped into helping them and angry and resentful that I had to give up my life and then at the same time extremely guilty about having those feelings. I think this too is probably natural. But I also could not conceive of not helping them - I have a very close relationship with my mom and dad and could not live with myself if I didn't do everything to help them that I could. 

    I hope this helps and let me know if there is any other help I can provide.