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dying mother.. how to prepare

Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2011

My beautiful 47 year old mother was diagnosed with stage 3 liver cancer on my parents' 22nd anniversary in July. We were told with chemoembolization she would have up to 2 years. Last weekend the doctors have told us despite the chemoembolization, the cancer has spread all over her lungs and stomach. They gave her 6 months. My mom took a turn for the worse and has not been able to eat for the past 11 days without vomiting or crying in pain. they said she will not make it to october.

I am only 20 years old and I have a 16 year old brother. I dropped out of college and gave up 2 internships to be with her. My question is however, how do i mentally, physically, and/or financially prepare for my moms death? She does not have a will, life insurance, or anything of that sort. We are currently in hospice care, and she wakes up every hour crying in pain. She now does not know what she is saying and shakes frequently. My dad is so busy preparing for my moms death that he is not there when my mom is awake. So i am her primary caregiver. I have not left her side for 3 weeks, literally.

I need my mom. while my dad is so consumed at work and my brother is consumed at school/soccer, my mom and I were always together. we shopped, cooked, cleaned, and i even worked with her over the summer. i dont know how i will cope with my moms death. and im worried. when i think about living life without my mom, i think its better to just die with her. how do you cope with losing a mom? what will my dad do/be like? my brother? how do i move on?

LeeandShirley's picture
Posts: 122
Joined: Apr 2011

There are no words that I can say to express how much I feel for your pain and for the terror that you are experiencing. I do wish to say that I am sorry for your mother's painful situation at the present time and wish for you the strength to bear what is to come. There is no way to prepare for this. You will more than likely go numbly through it and it may not even seem real. Like this is some kind of a dream. But, it is not a dream. Cancer and it's devastation on the family is very real.
I, too, lost my mother at the young age of 48 years. That was 40 years ago. Let me say, that you can get through this, but it takes determination. Determination to not fall apart completely and determination to go on with your own life, even though you think you won't want to without your mother.
My mother was my best friend, too, and I still miss many of the things we used to do together. I wonder, sometimes, if things might have turned out differently in my life, had she lived. But, our lives are what they are and you need to accept; that with the good sometimes comes the bad. Even the very bad things like cancer and death.
I am sure your mother loves you enough to want you to continue on, to get your education and someday marry and have a family of your own. Life and time continually move forward and you should too. She would not want her death to be the cause of self destruction in you. You can get through this by taking it one day at a time. Love your mom, every second that you have with her now, that's all you can do.

Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

Again, let me say how much we all care for you and grieve with you right now. Facing a trauma like this (at any age) is accomplished one step at a time, and one day at a time - grief is work, but it's godly work. Your dad and brother may be more self-protective right now than you, and after you make it through the shock phase of grief you may be able to help them when they face it. When I visualize widowhood I'm not sure what will motivate me to get out of bed in the morning, but I do not want to live as if cancer (and death) is victorious here. It may take our body, but it doesn't win in the end. Later in your life your love for your mom and your extreme closeness (which I admire greatly) will enable you to teach your children and your brother's children all about her. Terrible as this time may be, it doesn't define her, or you, or the rest of your family. And make sure your hospice understands exactly what your mom is experiencing right now. They have a lot of drugs at their disposal to make her more comfortable than what you've described. Their social worker should be able to help you with some of the mental/physical/financial questions you have, too. My experience with hospice is that they will respond to requests for information or support, but you have to be simple and clear on the phone about your need for someone.

SarahD's picture
Posts: 139
Joined: Jun 2010

I know how you feel I just lost my dad sept 12th to liver cancer. He was only 56 and I am 26. He was never sick and very healthy with no risk factors, He was diagnosed march 2010 and fought it hard with every option available to him unfortunately he did not win the battle. My brother sister and I were the primary caregivers and took care of him while on hospice at home. It is extremly hard and no one will understand the degree of hardship unless they have experienced it themselves. Maybe you could have some help such as aunts or uncles stasy with you around the clock in shifts? that is what we did and it was really helpful! Nothing will prepare you for death my advice is to take is one day at a time, literally. Best of luck you can email me if you want sarah_s@aol.com

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2011

I too lost my dad August 12th to liver cancer. He was only 57 years young.

My dad was a strong man that was fine Christmas 2010, but at the beginning of the new year he started experiencing shoulder pain. After numerous tests he was diagnosed in April with Stage 4 Liver Cancer which spread to the bones. At times he lost nearly a pound a day and went from 205 pounds to 140 pounds in 4 months. He couldn't eat and he couldn't move around much at all and became immobile in July.

My dad was my very best friend. We had many hobbies and did them all together. He taught me everything I know and was always there to mentor and offer advice. I never went 1 day in my 27 years without seeing or talking to him. We had a fantastic relationship.

This year has been the most difficult year of my entire life. From the initial shock of the horrible word (cancer), to the downhill spiral of his body, to watching him slip away. I never realized the death process until I witnessed it: Dad didn't eat the last two weeks, didn't drink much at all the final days, and began to completely talk out of his head the last 5-7 days - some times he would even speak to the dead. Words cannot describe how difficult it was to watch this. My dad passed with me, my mom, and my brother at his side. We were under hospice care during his final days and he passed peacefully.

The best way to describe the first couple days after his death was complete numbness. I didn't know how to feel, it almost felt like a bad dream that I was going to wake up from. After the funeral things really started to set in, I felt completely empty and alone. Its been 7 weeks now and the hurt is still strong. I am lucky to have a good family around me and I have good co-workers.

My best advice is to cherish your memories and live minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. Life continues to go on and time does go by. I am going to try to live the life that would make my dad proud and live by the examples he taught me. I'm sure your mother would want you to do the same.

Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2011

on september 27th, at 10:20 P.M my mom passed away surrounded by her family. thank you everybody for the advice and support. words cant even describe the pain in my heart, and i am trying to take things one day at a time.

ericamyers31's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2011

OMG... ur story sounds just like mine... the day you made your fits post on 9-24-2011 I list my Mother, bestfriend, & hero.I Am in pure misery, I cant seem to move past this. My parents was togather 38 years . I have an older sister who wasn't even there when my mom left us, have a younger brother who was there when she passed. However, I gave up a great job to be my moms primary care giver nd I am so glad I had all that time with her.. my mom was awake &aware up until she took her last breath in my arms.. I would love to know how you are doing, I'm a total mess. My mom had Bile Duct Cancer which we lived 3-hours away @ the University of Maryland hospital in Baltimore MD for 5 1/2 weeks for mom to have her treatments, we stayed at a place called Hope House which are so remarkable, only ppl with cancer stays there.. never can say enough about them.. even after all that my moms cancer shrunk so much it broke off n spread to her stomach liner, liver 3-places.. her Dr told us he would
do chemotherapy and give her abot 2-years.. well het dam Dr went out of the country for 8-weeks and 2 days . I called 2-3 times a week slung anyone to give us a referral to a chemo Dr in our area, well in august my moms kidneys shut down and while she was in hospital they final gave her the referral.. kidneys come back goes home Nd is just sick so 2 weeks latter mom has chest pain we rush her to hospital she has a bloodclots in her lungs both. do a very risky drug called TPA ( told us she would likely die. cause it makes you bleed out & my mom has outside billiary drains in both sides) but she made it, sent her back down the rode to university . then they come in tell us it took to long to get her on chemo its spread everywhere.. I lost it, so say we need to take mom home where she can be with family & love ones. hospic come in she was home 21 days and died.I am so mad hurt and are reliving thus nightmare everyday. I cry 24-7 I dont know how to accept this. are wondering how you are coping. I will take any advice cause I dream it then wake up and live it.. if I didn't have 2 sons i would of done joined my mom.. please help!!!!

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2011

I don't know if you have received any answers since you posted in September, but I so feel your pain. I am the one with primary liver cancer and I have a 20 year old daughter who is struggling with my disease, wanting to drop out from college which she says she cannot manage while I am sick. I am not anywhere near as ill as your mother, and I am fighting for my life with medical treatments. I so regret for you that you will endure this loss of such a wonderful woman and relationship at such an early age.

I can only think of providing you with some emotional support and messages that I give to my daughter and hope she will carry with her. These will not help your financial situation, I know. But maybe they will help you emotionally and, therefore, physically. Your mother will NEVER leave you. Although she may not be with you physically, you have had such a bond that she will remain by your side at all times. Let her walk and talk with you at every opportunity. You will know what she thinks and feels, and she will know the same of you. She will want you to grieve, but also to heal and live. She knows you will never forget her, and that you will take all that you learned in your relationship into your relationships, your work, your play and so much more. You will make her proud by living, and living well. She will be watching and she will live on in you.

Does this help at all? Maybe you can help me understand my daughter more and be of even more support to her.

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

I'm going through something very similar. My mom was diagnosed when I was 18 with stage for brain cancer. That was a year and a half ago - January 2011. I had just finished my first semester at college. I was going to school far away from home so I withdrew from that college and moved back home. I took classes at a community college before transferring to a local college that fall.

Now I'm 20 and I'm in the same boat. My mom's losing her battling and she's starting to mentally prepare for death. It's scaring me so much. I'm terrified to think about how I'll feel after she's gone. I was wondering how it's been for you? What can I expect? I want to be prepared.

Anyway, I have a blog if you are interested. It's called Coming Home To Cancer: https://www.cominghometocancer.blogspot.com

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2015

Have any of you tried to start a group, it's been a while since this post was refreshed but I find that our stories are all alike.

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