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Please help answer my questions

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2002

My mother was first diagnosed in 1998 with breast cancer. I was only 10 or 11, so my initial thoughts were nothing short of death. I had no idea what to do. At that point I just wanted to run. to get away. I wanted to just leave forever. Every night, I could do nothing but cry myself to sleep. As I cried I wondered "why me? Why do I have to go through this incredible epidemic of events." You know you here about it in the media and never really pay any attention until it happens to you. Anyways, after going through the most mentally draining month of my life, I did get a break. Tamoxifen. My mother had already had mastectomy, however as an insurance she had to take Tamoxifen. We were all so grateful she wouldn't need chemotherapy. This was just wonderful. All we could think was "we win, we win." She'll just take the pill, beat the desease and move on!
Well it wasn't that easy, in the fall of last year my mother was diagnosed a second time. This time we weren't as lucky. I was almost 14 and my sister was 15. So we of course had grown a little gaining maturity, but not knowing if your mom will be alive the next day, is an incredible burden for anyone at any age. This time her cancer was evasive, meaning it would spread if not dealt with. So they first went in to try to remove the cancer. X-rays showed failure though. So they tried again. Failure. They then decided to go in a third time would be too risky. Instead they would put her through multiple radiation and chemo treatments. Once again I can't explain the kind of mental strain the whole house had to deal with. However, this time things were different in my mother's attitude.
My mother couldn't go a week without considering giving up. She would always cries or yells about just giving up. She feels she almost has nothing to live for. My whole family tries to support her, but it's just not working! There's often nothing we can do to control depression. She is already on a strong anti-depressant called Zoloft. Not menchen my sister and I are teens wanting a life. I know we need to be there for her and forget about ourselves but it's hard. Most of all I'd like to know what my mother can do to control or even cease her deep depressions.
Thank you soooo much for listening to my tale and please, please reply.

Posts: 47
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi, my heart goes out to you and your family. I was diagnosed with cancer last fall and underwent both chemo and radiation. I am now a survivor. I have a seven year old daugther and I don't think I will ever truly know how it effected her.
I wish I had magic words of wisdom for you and your family but I don't. The treatments are hard. I would maybe call your family Dr. or your mothers oncologist and talk to him/her. The zolft might not be working and perhaps they can suggest different type of anit-depessant. Another thing you can do is let your mother know you love her and want her to fight, you and your sister are her reason for living. Leave her little notes around the house to remind her how much you love her.
Another thing is your mom can get into a support group. I don't know what kind of cancer she has but the American Cancer Society is wonderful. They have an 800 number listed on this web-site that she can call. YOu and your sister can call too.
I know your mother is also very tired and being tired can add to the depression. Ask for help from friends, neighbors for help with meals and house hold duties to ease some of her responsibilites.
As a mother I know there she is also dealing with a lot of guilt for being sick (I did) even though she can't help it. As parents we are thoughts are for our children and when we can't do for them we feel guilty. Try to let her know that you understand that she is sick and needs to take care of herself.
I really, really hope this helps a little. You can e-mail me here if you need to.
Good luck to you and your family.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2002

Thank you so much for responding. I will try to do all of the things you have suggested.

Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2002

I feel your pain. I'm 24 and my father (65) was diagnosed with kidney cancer fall of my junior year in college. Since then he has had 3 operations, one to remove the kidney and two others to remove parts of his lung. He is now on both interlukin and interferon, two "poisons" that work similar to chemotherapy. He is extremely depressed and wants to give up daily. Because of his turmoil and my own uncontrollabe anxiety, I have been prescribed Zoloft (75mg). I hope your mother has been prescribed by a psychiatrist and seeks mental help. My father refuses to read these boards. My mother and I are the ones who do all of the research. Try to make her as comfortable as possible. Let her eat her favorite foods that are also healthy. My father is going to a nutritionist as well. You should be glad to have your sister there to help you. Take turns caring for your mother. Everyone needs a rest. My prayers are with you.

Posts: 10
Joined: May 2002

I don't know how well i can answer your questions. I know trying to give up or yelling about giving up are normal from what i've read. My mother is also on Zoloft. I know sometimes it takes 4-6 weeks for it to work. I can't imagine what you and your family are going through. It is tough at any age to lose your mother. I am 35 and have kids of my own. I lost my father in 1988 from cancer. I am now going through it with my mother. I am her caregiver most of the time. I do have Hospice that comes in to help. The only real advice i can give you is to try and be as supportive as you can and maybe take breaks in between. You will all be in my prayers.

Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2002

I didn't catch your name, Sweetie, but first of all, here's a big )))hug((( for you and your sister.
Your mother sounds terrified. Terrified of leaving you, of not being strong enough for treatments, etc.
Before I say anything else, let me say, your mother's depression IS NOT YOUR FAULT! So I hope you will take the advice I give you in a positive light.
God gave you...YOU...to your mother. He could have given her any other daughter, but He chose you. YOU are just the one she needs right now. Let her know you think she is the greatest mom in all the world. Tell her OFTEN. Tell her how much you appreciate all she has done, and is doing for you.
Let her talk.
And I cannot, CANNOT stress enough spiritual help. For you and your sister, and hopefully, your mom.
Prayer works, and there is nothing like the love of a good church to see you through a crisis like this.
You may think your love is doing no good. She may cry more than ever. But you are doing more good than you'll ever know. Love, Doleta

Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2002

Hello. I have had several family members who had cancer (including my Mom, who is still living). Currently, one of my family members has breast cancer and is undergoing chemo.
So what can you do to help? I ask myself this same question and this is what I have done. First, they say humor is good for health and cancer patients. So you can post cartoons, funny jokes, etc. in various parts of your house. You can pick a theme if you want, or post all different jokes. I would say change the ones you have posted every week or few weeks - otherwise they lose their effectiveness! - There are tons of free jokes on the Internet. Also maybe you can rent videos or take books out of the library for your Mom. She can read them if she wants, if she chooses not to, don't give up, maybe she will read the next round of jokes or books.

You can find support groups on the Internet for your Mom and suggest that she try one. You could try taking her to a yoga class - they say this is good for stress, good for cancer patients. You can take her to the bookstore and buy her a drink there while she looks through books in the coffee area. You can make a basket for her and put things in it that will maybe help her - relaxation tape, a book, etc, and put it by her bed with a note that says "for when you can't sleep!"
All of these things are just suggestions, and maybe you will think of your own ideas. I don't think there is just one thing that will "cure" her depression - I think it is a day - by - day process. Also realize that you can help her, but she is the one who is actually going to have to do some work and get motivated. You can't change her, she has to want to change/improve herself.
Lastly, make sure you do something fun for yourself. Don't forget about yourself!!! If you want to be able to take care of her, you are not going to be able to do that unless you first take care of yourself!
Ok, good luck, please feel free to write to me whenever you need to.
You are doing such a good job for your Mom already!

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2002

I totally understand what you are going through, I'm 21 and my mom and I have gone through cancer and chemotherapy and all you can wonder is when will this end, especially as a young person who knows theres stuff as "kids" you should be doing but your not really kids anymore. We just finsihed chemo like 3 months ago and though it is undescribably tough, you get through it and you grow up. I cried as well every night hoping Id have her for a little longer and also I went wondered when I could worry about myself again, but I think with time you just kind of adapt to your life now. I came to the point where I was like she is all I have and no party or whatever is worth not being here when her life is threatened.
My mom is super depressed too and on celexa but nothing seems to work when something like this has happened, you just have to have faith and know that you are a good kid for taking care of her and one day it will all come together.
Good luck and take care

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2002

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer exactly a year ago when I was 20. It is only her and I so I totally dedicated all my time to taking care of her. I only recently started taking more classes and going out again, but I still feel guilty about it b/c she is really lonely and always thinking of giving up. She is on celexa and that doesnt really work but it is really tough having to be a kid handling the cancer itself and their own will not to live absolutley crushes you.
You already sound incredibly strong and it seems like this whole experience has matured you very quickly as it did for me. JUst hang in there...which is easier said than done but take it a day at a time, and if you visualize the future or the worst that could happen you will totally drain yourself.
How is your mom doing now? and how are you and your sister? The most important thing is to try as hard as you can to be there for her. And every once in a while it's ok to feel like you need to be a kid and hang out and do stuff...becasue it is. If you ever need to talk you can email me I would be glad to talk to you,
I hope youre doing ok,

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