Too far away to feel useful

Freyou Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
My mom just announced to me she will be battling breast cancer. She has known for sometime that she would be walking this road but didn't wnat to tell me about it due to moving and medical problems with my oldest daughter. She lives in Louisiana and we now live in Virginia after a move from Washington state.

She told me that she will be getting a port and soon starting chemotherapy. they are trying to shrink the lump. I heard something about a bone scan, and lymphnodes but I was shocked and the brain didn't process.

I just want to know what questions I need to ask her. What kind of information should I know. And then what does it mean. I don't know how much I can do from where I am? I am just in the eye of a storm and want to know how to help her.


  • cindycflynn
    cindycflynn Member Posts: 1,132 Member
    I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis. You have come to a very good place for support and information. There are a lot of survivors here who've been through similar experience to what your mom is and will be going though, and there are also several caregivers and family members who will be able to relate to what you're going through.

    To get up to speed on all of the terminology involved in breast cancer (because, as I learned after my diagnosis, there are many different types) a very comprehensive book is The Breast Book by Dr. Susan Love. Another, shorter, one that I have is Breast Cancer Survival by Dr. John Link.

    The American Cancer Society website also has a lot of good information you can access probably even more quickly. If you want to know more about her diagnosis, you can ask your mom what grade the tumor is (if that's been determined yet - it may not be), what size it is, and what the treatment plan is so far. Lower grade tumors are less advanced. The highest grade is grade 4, but even if that's your mom's diagnosis don't let it scare you too much. There are many survivors on these boards with grade 4 who were diagnosed over 10 years ago. Be careful about searching the internet. Make sure if you do that you're getting information from reputable sites like the ACS. Otherwise, you can get scared and misinformed pretty easily.

    The most important thing you can ask your mom is "How can I help?" Of course, you may well have already asked that, and she may not have been able to tell you what you can do. I'm sure just listening to her and being there for her emotionally even when you can't be there physically will mean a great deal to her.

    Please keep coming back and let us know how you and your mom are doing.

  • jbug
    jbug Member Posts: 285
    I'm sorry your mother has
    I'm sorry your mother has breast cancer. Being far away is so difficult when our loved ones are going thru trials. This is a great site for love and support as well as information. The ACS site has loads of info from broad stuff to very specific (chemo and rads). You may want to point your mom here too.

    Cindy has given you the best resources and cautions already...sometimes too much information from the wrong sources can be really frightening...and wrong. Verify before you add to your worries.

    Your mom is lucky to have such a caring daughter, already reaching for information in order to help her out.

  • peacefulheart
    peacefulheart Member Posts: 34

    You can be there for your Mom no matter how many miles apart you live. I was diagnosed this past summer and my 84 year old mom cannot travel. But she has been here for me through countless cards, prayers and phone calls. I have been up to visit her twice since my diagnosis, only a couple of days at a time, but they have put her at much ease. Although our situations are reversed, the miles between you do not dimminish the love you feel. Before I was diagnosed, I had volunteered for a hospice for nearly 9 years. Although your mom is not dying, I learned that reviewing the most fun and memorable expierences you've shared, give great strength and comfort to ones in need. Do the best at what you can do. And it will do the same for you. No situation in the life of cancer is perfect.

    Blessings, Cathy
  • aztec45
    aztec45 Member Posts: 757
    I am sorry to hear about your mom. That must painful for you and worsened by the distance between you. On this website, there is information regarding care givers. You might find it helpful. Don't let the distance throw you. There are many ways to be there for her, letters, cards, calls, internet, etc.

    Just let her know you love and you support her.

  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    Give her a piece of normal....
    keep in touch, but don't always talk about best present I was given by a friend was her telling of the adventures in a trip she had just returned cancer talk at all...

    Hugs, Kathi
  • dyaneb123
    dyaneb123 Member Posts: 950
    KathiM said:

    Give her a piece of normal....
    keep in touch, but don't always talk about best present I was given by a friend was her telling of the adventures in a trip she had just returned cancer talk at all...

    Hugs, Kathi

    My daughter is in Chicago and
    My daughter is in Chicago and I'm in Tennessee. She came in for my surgeries last March, but not for the chemo last summer, or radiation last fall.It just wasn't necessary for her to disrupt her life for something that was totally manageable...and I am single and live alone..My friends or siblings came during my first couple of chemos to see how I handled them,but really short of having some welcome support and companionship, there was nothing for them to do for me, and radiation was really no problem for me at all.I drove myself to all my chemos and radiation treatments, the point being that you probably don't need to be there physically to take care of her. I went to Chicago for Thanksgiving, and to Idaho for Christmas....back to work full time last life goes on...just be there emotionally, visit when you can, have her visit when she can, and while you need to acknowledge what she is going through, educate yourself about the disease, and express your desire to help....don't treat her like she is an invalid. You'll want to know what kind of breast cancer it is, what stage it is, what the prognosis is after treatment, and what the recommended treatment plan is. Then you can plan with your mom how you can best help.Best of luck to you and your Mom.
  • canoegirl
    canoegirl Member Posts: 169
    You're always just a phone call away
    My daughter is away at college and she calls me once or twice a week, asks how I'm doing, and tells me what's going on in her life. It's good just to hear from her and here that her life is going well. My sister is also 6 hours away and just sent me a little "care package" with a hat she knit and a book. It's just nice to know they are there for me, even thought they can't physically be here. The best thing my sister did was let me call at anytime and "vent", cry, scream, or whatever I needed at the time. She also educated herself and really listened to what I had to say unlike another relative that wouldn't ask me anything and then tell me (based on 3rd hand info) that I could wait "months for surgery because breast cancer is such a slow growing, non aggressive thing and mine is so early" I know stage III is "early", but I really didn't want to but off treatment for 3-4 months. Don't be afraid to ask your mom what her doctors say and what that means.

    Good luck to you and your mom, it's not easy living far away when you want to be there for them.
  • Lynda53
    Lynda53 Member Posts: 210
    Freyou,so sorry about your Mom's diagnosis
    Mine is the same, I am sick my Mom is not close enough. I call her daily, try to be upbeat. Keep her informed on most all of this bout with the beast.
    She sends me cards and notes and wishes of love and healing, it is the best!
    The hardest of all this for me, was to have to tell her my diagnosis. I delayed and delayed as I was so worried about her worrying about me!
    Give your Mom your love and encouragement, call, send notes, try to be there in spirit for her ups and downs.