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Anyone in my situation? (I'm <30 y.o.; mom is stage IV, has 6-12 months)

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2004

It's been a long, long process--my mom was first diagnosed almost 15 years ago with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and was told that everything was gone. Then 10 years later they discovered that it had returned and metastitized. At that time they gave her a prognosis of 6 months, but here she is 2 and a half years later. She is on the verge of choosing hospice, though she may continue to try chemo for a while. My question is, I am struggling so much at this point in terms of how to "say goodbye"--people often say to me, you must have so many things you want to ask her, or you must have so many things left that you want to tell her about. But I kind of feel like she is not really my mom anymore, and she doesn't seem much in the mood to be telling stories and reminiscing. I feel like there's something wrong with me because I don't feel compelled to rush in with questions and answers, etc. Has anyone had this experience? Has anyone found fruitful and beneficial ways of opening up these topics? What were the person's responses? (It feels kind of weird now, but maybe it'll make more sense when it really becomes clear that she only has a very short time...maybe it'll seem more desperate) I'm just so afraid of having regrets later.

Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2004

Dear mrm
I don't think you'll have any regrets later as long as you're true to your heart now. She is still your mom and always will be, although not as you knew her before. Maybe if you don't put so much pressure on yourself to say and do the 'right' thing, but just try to relax and appreciate spending time with her would be more peaceful for the both of you. I don't think words are always necessary. I'm sure she knows that you love her, and you know that she loves you. She doesn't feel very good, and it must be so hard for her to feel helpless to ease your fears and pain. Trust in yourself to know how to spend this precious time with her. When my mom passed (as the result of a stroke, not cancer), in those last days & hours, instead of saying 'good-bye', I just said 'thank-you, mom' for all she's done, all she's been, and that I love her. She wasn't able to respond, but I knew she heard me. It is never easy to lose someone you love. The men in my family seemed to have a quieter way of dealing...so I'm sure you are very normal in what you're experiencing. Just be yourself. I wish you both peace.

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2004

I experienced a very similar situation with my mom 6 years ago. Hers was also gone for about 15 years and came back. It was devastating. My best advice to you after living without my mom now since 1998, is spend every moment with her that you possibly can. Tell her you love her a lot. Help her stay comfortable if she is in pain (mine was in constant pain for a long time). Once she is gone she is gone forever, and you would give ANYTHING for one more moment with her. Someone who had lost their mom gave me this advice. It helped me a lot. Even when I was too tired or so sad from dealing with the fact that I was going to lose her, I saw her as much as I could, and treasured every moment with her. My heart is still broken over losing her, but I can say I have no regrets, and I am glad I spent that time with her. Of course I miss her even more now that I was just diagnosed with the same disease...Good luck, and I will say a prayer for you and your mom.

Posts: 18
Joined: Apr 2004

Dear mrm,
Yes, I find myself having similar feelings that you are. My Dad (though he isn't really my dad, just a very close family friend), he is 68, had rectal cancer 2 years ago. It has returned to his bones and now his brain. Today he finished 1 of 3 weeks of radiation to his brain, though I don't know what good it will do since it is still in his shoulder bone. He wants chemo, he is meeting with his doc this morning to decide on when that will begin. We also are struggling with the hospice thing. The hard part is right now he is getting around on his own, thanks to steriods, but for how long, I don't know. I feel like we are sitting around waiting for him to get worse, I hate that and feel so guilty. I don't want him to get worse, but I know it will. Your thoughts on how to say goodbye. You will know when it is time. I don't feel that need to have to reminice about old times, we just take it day by day. I also get those feelings that something is wrong with me, and also am at that point where he is not the same person anymore, as you said you also don't feel like she is your mom anymore, not the one you know anyway. I think these are normal feelings to have. Don't worry, nothing is wrong with you. This is so hard and there is no right way to do any of this, we just take it as it comes. God Bless You and your mother. I'm glad we have this board to sort of lean on each other during this time. If you are on the verge of losing it though, get some help. I also struggle with not wanting to call hospice, because I don't want to admit that it is at that point yet, and I don't think it is for us, but I will make the call when I think it's time. It's not an easy decision. Again, prayers to you both.

Lee Ann

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