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balance support & life

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2007

Hello all,
I have read numerous chats and have not found one that helps with balancing supporting your loved one with cancer at the same time keeping up with your life. My mother-in-law (whom I am very close with) was diagnosed with a very rare form of nerve cancer back in July. They did surgery and removed the tumor and we were all very optimistic. It turned out they "missed" most of it and had to do the surgery again. This time they took out the tumor and a lot of her organs. Again we were very optimistic. She was having a rough recovery with some severe pain in her leg. She went back to the hospital and the tumor was back and it was worse. They have basically given her to May. She is in so much pain because the tumor is pressing against her nerves. They are currently trying to get it under control.

My husband is very close to his mom and went up to Ohio immediately. We live in Florida. This has been a whirlwind of emotion and I am struggling balancing supporting my husband and his family but at the same time keeping our life afloat in Florida.

It is very difficult living here and dealing with this in Ohio. He has to leave for weeks at a time if he goes up there, but he just started a new job. I know he wants to and deserves to spend as much time with his mom before she passes but I don't know if we can afford for him to lose his job and take weeks off on end without pay. Do I just let it go and deal with the finances myself, whatever happens happens or do i try to explain to him that our life will go on after this and abandoning it totally is unfair to him and me? I feel like that is so selfish and really unimportant in the scheme of things. He is hurting so bad and I know will feel guilty anytime he leaves her. It is such a bad situation and I'm at a loss.

Please any advice on dealing with cancer from afar will be greatly appreciated.

janinemah's picture
Posts: 53
Joined: Feb 2006

Bless your heart, My mom past away in June from brain cancer. she fought it for 17 months it was very hard on everyone. My mom worked for my husband and myself, so I had to do my work and hers so we could keep paying her, on top of that one of my sisters works for us also. so when mom was really sick we both missed work. we have a dental lab...well, lucky for us and mom she had 8 kids. A sister from tenn had just gottan married a year or so before and was not yet settled, so she and her husband moved in with mom. but it proved very hard on them, (brain cancer effect the mental and physical) so they moved back to tenn. and we toughed it out for 4 months until my brother decided to help out and moved his family down from alaska.. they took care of mom's daily needs and I took care of her Dr's appointments and bills...It really took most of us to care for her. It was very hard!...
I wish I could give you advise, but all I can say is hang in there, theres no easy way.

Many prayers,

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2007

Thank you for your prayers. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. Though you don't think you given me the advice I need, I appreciate your story. It seems that everyone who can has to pitch in. Nobody can do this on their own.
Thank you again,

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2007

Hi Melissa,

I don't know if this is of any help or not. But I am a cancar patient (stage 4 breast). While it's hard to for the caregiver (in this case you and the family) it's just as hard on the patient. I'm 38 (was 36 when I got the dx) I was raising a young child on my own and ended up moving in with my parents for their help and support. It's not easy on either side of the cancer coin. All I can say is hang in there and be there when and where you can.

Prayers and cyber hugs to you and yours,


davidsonxx's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

First I would suggest you have an open and frank discussion with him about the whole situation. It is very easy to get so focused on the loved one that everything else gets ignored. It is possible he hasn't really thought about the impact to your finances. Before you talk with your husband REALLY think about what you are comfortable with handling. If you are OK with the financial fallout from his spending time with his mother let him know that. If you have limits on what you are comfortable with then tell him that also. If he has not had a discussion with his boss about the impact to his job I would suggest he do that. It may be that he is at risk of losing his job but at least you will have a better idea of the limits and what the real impact is likely to be. His greatest desire right now is to be able to spend time with his mother. If you can make that work without too big a financial hit please try. I was in a similar situation with my sister. She was in Missouri and I was in Louisiana. It is a hard situation to be in and I couldn't spend as much time with her as a wanted due to the financial impact. Do I wish it had been different? Most definitely, however life often has unpleasant realities that we have to deal with. Just be very gentle when you talk to your husband and don't pressure him into a decision. This type of situation can often cause long lasting resentment and anger for both spouses. Be sure to give BOTH OF YOU some slack because you are both going through a difficult time. Good luck, I will keep your family in my prayers.

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2007

I am also dealing with a similar situation. My dad is suffering from cancer and there isn't much they can do. I'm really close to my dad and want to be there for him as much as possible. My husband is in the military currently deployed & I have 2 kids in school. I am fortunate enough not to have to work but I'm also a full time student. I've had to take the kids out of school on more than one occasion thinking he wouldn't make it another day & he's still hanging in there.
It can be a real difficult situation especially having to go out of town to be with a loved one who is suffering & trying to maintain some sanity for the rest of the family. It's been an emotional rollercoaster for us lately. I would discuss the financial situation but keep in mind you can't buy back time.

manna1qd's picture
Posts: 48
Joined: Dec 2007

It is a very trying time when a family member is ill. Worse when it is long distance. It drains the resources. When my father was ill, I was working fulltime in another state (fortunately just an hour and a half away) and my first child was eight months old. My father in-law died six months before my father. That year was the year from hell. Our angel from heaven was born to us just before it started to get hot! It really helps to have relationships that renew you: kids, friends, whomever. I visited every weekend and was able to get there on the day my father died. I had some issues with my husband wanting to be with his family and not being with me and my infant. I needed to share my feelings tenderly but honestly and in a timely way so resentment didn't build up. I needed him to know that I needed him too, still. One thing I have learned is that the time my husband spend with each ther is precious and none of us know how much time we have. I don't know how much burden your husband carries and if he does it alone or not. I know some families have moved the ill family member closer to the support available. All of the resources available need to be explored so your mother-in-law gets what she needs and your husband is still available to you and his responsibilities. If you can support him by going with him, consider that. He may not be able to figure out by himself how to take care of her and spend time with her while being able to meet his obligations in florida. No matter how you work it, it's still hard on you and your husband. Hope you are encouraged by the rest of us. Hugs!

kasey52's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2007

My heart breaks for what you and your husband are both going through. I don't know if it will be of any help to you or not but I am starting a caregivers chat room on here. It might help you with some of the things you are facing. Our first chat will be on Thursday, March 6, 7pm EST.

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