Struggling with a parent’s diagnosis

alliemwithrow Member Posts: 1 Member

Hello everyone! Never in a million years did I think I’d find myself here. My mom was recently diagnosed with NHL. Chemo is getting ready to begin. My mom lives alone and I’m out of state. She has my sibling and friends local. I am about a 6 hour drive from my mom. I have a home, a husband, pets, and a job. Unfortunately life is not stopping with all of this. Things have been moving quickly for her and chemo starts early next week. I drove down for her initial diagnosis but had to return to work. I am finding myself feeling like an absolute jerk and world’s worst daughter for not being there for her first chemo due to me working. I am able to be there shortly after to help with her symptoms. But going forward, I just can’t afford to miss a week of work every 2 weeks. I’d lose my job.

Does anyone have any advice or experience with this? What am I supposed to do?


  • ShadyGuy
    ShadyGuy Member Posts: 845 Member
    edited February 15 #2

    My opinion only. No reason to be there as long as she has someone to take her to and from the treatments. You do not mention what type of lymphoma she has or what kind of chemo regimen she is on or her age. The different therapies vary in their severity. I have been thru it twice and though not fun by any stretch of the imagination most people do ok and sometimes having someone "hovering over" them just makes things worse. Most patients develop a relationship with their care team and do not feel alone. The first treatments are usually scary but I felt relieved after it seeing that it was very doable. My advice is hang low, don't be grim (it shows and hurts the patient) and if you must miss work to go make it during doses 5 and 6 as the damage is cumulative and she will need more help. I had someone take me for my initial treatment and then drove myself to and from the next 5. After the treatments I would go to the cafeteria and have pie and coffee ( if I felt like eating ) and wait to make sure I felt safe driving the 5 miles home. Neither of my children came in from out of state to the treatments but stayed in touch by phones. Sometimes when you feel bad it is good to be left alone. A lot of the cancer struggle is emotional so keep her busy. She will have good days and bad days. Stress strength and courage not self pity. And DO NOT feel guilty. Everyone is different so as with life in general, there are no guarantees. If she has one of the indolent forms of NHL she will likely be around 10 years from now barring death from some other cause. Hoping this makes sense. Best of luck.

  • ShadyGuy
    ShadyGuy Member Posts: 845 Member

    “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

    ― John Wayne

  • VCooper
    VCooper Member Posts: 3 Member

    Hi, I’m a 78 year old woman recovering from 6 treatments of the R-EPOCH regimen for NH Follicular Indolent Lymphoma Stage II. My last treatment was on December 3, and I feel as though I haven’t improved much since my treatment. My worst symptoms were (and still are) weakness and fatigue. “ShadyGuy “ is right about the last two treatments because the chemo effects are cumulative, so your mom will feel worse at the end of treatment. I don’t know what her treatment is, but I had mine in the hospital, four days in the hospital every 2 weeks for 6 treatments. It was a 96 hour continuous drip by IV. Your mom may need someone to drive her to and from her last few treatments. It all depends on what her condition is after treatment. I felt pretty good through the first couple days of treatment, but I was very weak after the last two treatments and was not able to drive. I hope your mom does well and her treatment is successful.

  • ShadyGuy
    ShadyGuy Member Posts: 845 Member

    My brother-in-law never missed a day of work during his chemo. We are all different so the element of the unknown is a factor.

  • GmaVee
    GmaVee Member Posts: 17 Member

    I agree with the other comments. First, give yourself a break. A lot of it depends on the chemo that she will be taking. Some is harder than others. I'm undergoing chemo right now and only the first time did I ask my husband to stay with me and that was mostly because I didn't know what to expect. There was only once I asked him to drive home and that was just because I was tired because it's hard to sleep in the hospital. I never expected my daughters, who are local, to come sit at the hospital with me but then I was only in the hospital for two nights at a time. The steroids that I would get right before chemo kind of gave me a little boost. I actually felt more tired about a week after chemo. Can you arrange your schedule so you can go visit with your mom on the weekend and maybe make some meals for her, do some grocery shopping and house cleaning? There are other ways you can help other that sitting with her during chemo. Good luck to you and your mom.

  • PKRW6019
    PKRW6019 Member Posts: 7 Member

    Hi! I was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma in 2019. In November, my lymphoma transformed to an aggressive Follicular Lymphoma and I started treatments. Like your mom, I have two daughters local and one who lives 4 hours away. And I have one really wonderful friend who is my chemo buddy.

    You should not feel guilty about not being there. There are many ways to support your mom by phone or FaceTime. This is not an easy journey, it is scary, a fear of the unknown. Call your mom regularly, check on her before and after treatments. Listen to her, let her tell you if she is feeling bad or even scared. Just be open to what she is saying and be supportive. You can't fix this, but you can give her a safe place to talk. Carve out a trip and maybe give her an option to when you come...maybe a weekend during treatments or after.

    I hope this helps. It is just my opinion, what I have needed and what has helped me. Good luck!