I really need some help!!!

mommy25 Member Posts: 1

My mother was recently diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer and in addition diagnosed with copd. She is waiting to start her treatments. the Stereotactic Radiation therapy.

I have 4 siblings and I am the youngest. My father passed away from cancer many years ago.

My family dynamics are very difficult. I get along great with my oldest sister. My second oldest sister is very controlling. When mom was first diagnosed she threw her hands up in the air, said she already went through all of this with dad, wasn't taking off any time from work, etc. She does not know how to be kind and gracious with her speech. She always has to be right. My brother has been hurt by this sister and my mother and has chosen to stay away. My third sister is on too many prescription drugs and has every ache and pain that she can have.

My second sister decided she wanted to "help" and has been decluttering mother's home of her stuff. She has spent hours over there going through things with mother. Some things she has just gotten rid of without mom knowing. She decided to take it upon herself to remove the carpeting. Mother has cats and one of them wasn't really using the litter box and this was going on for probably years. This sister took mother with the cat to the humane society last week to get rid of the cat.

Me and my oldest sister have taken mom to every appointment she has. I have been the one who has taken on the learning of the portable oxygen tank, how to hook mom up to it, change it over toi a new tank when it gets low, etc. I've been driving her to her appointments. I also have children still at home and I homeschool them. This has been very time consuming and we are behind in school.

I found out yesterday that mother and my second oldest sister decided to switch to a different portable oxygen tank. I wasn't there when it got dropped off so I really have no idea how to use it. This causes me alot of stress.
We had one malfunction when switching an empty tank to a filled one. Otherwise the portable tanks we have been using have worked great. My mother plays "invalid" though and expects everyone else to take care of this for her and other things, as well.

I'm frustrated. I'm stressed out. One time we were on her way to her appointment (this was in the beginning) and mother refused to take a different tank. We stopped into the local clinic on our way outta town. By the time they had her hooked back up to a working tank her oxygen level was down to 80%- this was is 15 minutes. This gives me a great deal of anxiety as I'm thinking about this new tank system she has now and idk how to use them.

What I've decided to do and need some feedback on is this- mother and my second sister took this upon themselves to decide to do. I wasn't there when the guy showed them how to hook it up and run it. Since mother has made this decision, then shouldn't she be able to take responsibility to hook the thing up and be responsible to get it on herself? She can run a nebulizer machine by herself. Shouldn't she be able to also, do this?

If not and when it's time for me to take her to her next appointment and I cannot figure it out, is this my fault?

Mom isn't an invalid. She is able to take care of herself. She is quite capable of cooking and cleaning and taking care of herself. My second sister hasn't let this happen. She makes her food. She runs all over town to the different restaurants buying supper for mother- aka giving into her whims!

Also, mother has been sitting at home now for 3 weeks waiting for a call- all because she doesn't have an answering machine. If she had an answering machine, she wouldn't be held hostage by a telephone call.

I sure hope to get some support here because I'm falling apart.


  • ioanna
    ioanna Member Posts: 43
    I understand your sister is

    I understand your sister is controlling and this can be very overwhelming - mine is too. Try to calm down and concentrate on the real issue :

    You are all in this together to support your mother. You still have a long way to go and it's not going to be easy. Talk about it with your sisters. Divide responsibilities and share work.

    I am sure your mother can do the cooking and cleaning on her own. I can do. But sometimes my mind stops, my feet hurt and I can't remember what I wanted to do and I cry. It would be great if your mother was allowed to do some housework but not things that need to be done. She won't always be able to do it and this will be frustrating.

    You all want to help. Don't forget this. Talk to each other. Your mother is very ill. You don't know the outcome of this and she's going to be around for much longer...

  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    back off some

    Your mom needs to step up here.  Really.  She is responsible for her own health and needs to act like it.  Everybody gets a period of shock from which they must recover.  It is time.  Not sure how old your mom is but even my 84 year old mother knew how to operate and change out her oxygen tanks and she had stage 4 copd.  It is imperative your mom learn this.  However, you cannot make her.  Have a talk with yourself and assess the ways you are able to help and offer them.

    No mom should want to take over her child's life with her own health needs.  Hoping your mom gets a grip and gets on with living NOT dying.  And yes.  I believe in tough love.

  • Ladylacy
    Ladylacy Member Posts: 773 Member
    Let your Sister

    Let your sister take over as apparently she is.  If she is changing out things and not consulting with you, let her handle everything.  Bet she will change before too long.  My mother lived with me the last two years of her life.  Actually my husband took care of her because I was still working.  Younger sister was fighting breast cancer and just couldn't deal with her.  Older sister wanted to put her in assisted living facilities and so did my other sister.   Mother was going too, but then called me and asked could she come live with me.   My mother wanted to be waited on hand and foot but still did for herself.  When mother moved in with me, she had to leave her home state and siblings and hated it with me because she wanted to be with her siblings and my younger sister and her family.  My other sister took her every other week-end and mother would complain about how mean I was and then when she came back from my sister's she would complain about her.  

    Your mother should be glad that she is doing so well.  There are many on these boards who aren't, my husband included.  He is on in-home hospice and loosing ground daily but still does for himself and rarely asks me to do anything for him and gets upset when I try to.   

    I can tell you as a caregiver, you have to take care of yourself too.  Let your controlling sister take over for now and stop worrying about it.  Sure wish our children would offer to help -- something in 4 years they have never done.  I know they have jobs and families so I don't say much.  Just the offer would be nice.

    Wishing you the best

  • Ouch_Ouch_Ouch
    Ouch_Ouch_Ouch Member Posts: 508 Member
    Caught in the middle again.

    I see that you feel caught in the middle between two tidal forces. I'm sorry and hope that the situation will be smoothed out. 

    The oxygen provider will always send someone back anytime so that you get a lesson, too. Everyone involved in your mother's life should know how to operate her equipment, even Mom! The same applies to her medications, appointments, physical therapy, and any possible future wound care.

    If dividing responsibilities between your siblings doesn't work, how about adopting a rotating schedule? You care for her one week, then the others each take a week.

    Remember that this is all really new for your mother. She may still be in shock, even denial, over it. She must surely be very scared and may feel like she wants her own mommy back to take care of her. Be gentle, but firm. Consistency between sibs will be important, as well as allowing her to make as many of her own decisions as possible.

    Take time to quietly meditate, do yoga, go to the library, get a massage, play with your children, etc, on your own as an outlet to disperse your stress. And never lie to the kids about their grandmother's condition. Make sure they see her as often as possible. It's not just your mother that has cancer, it's your entire family.

    All the best.