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Frustrated and Angry

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2012

My mom has Stage 4 colorectal cancer. She is only 52. It metastasized to her lungs. She has chemo every 3 weeks. My sister and I have been trading off taking her to her chemo appointments so I take her every 6 weeks.

Lately, my sister and I have not been getting along with my mom. She has made some really bad decisions (getting back together with a verbally/emotionally abusive boyfriend; deciding to trek across the country on a motorcycle while she is sick...) that we just don't agree with.

She rarely sees my children (her grandchildren) because she is always off with her boyfriend or friends trying to "just have a little fun". She is always trying to "guilt-trip" us. Everytime I disagree with her, she throws in my face that she is "dying". She tells me I don't support her.

I am the oldest of 3. I have always been the responsible one, the level-headed one, the strong one. When the doctor gives her bad news and she gets upset, I try to ease her worry. When she fights with my sister, I am the "go-between", trying to talk them both down from the ledge. When my baby brother has to be told news, I am the one to explain it to him. In addition to taking her to chemo. So saying I don't support her is a low-blow.

Today, the doctor told her she's hit a plateau and she needs to change her chemo. He told her the new chemo will likely cause her to lose her hair and could cause vomiting and diarrhea. She told the doctor that she won't change chemo until after she gets back from her vacations - in 2 months! She doesn't want people to see her without hair, she says. So of course, I tell her that I think it's a mistake to postpone changing the chemo, that we can get a wig and that I think she is giving up the fight (I was frustrated).

Here's the thing - I've been saving all of my time off from work to use on chemo days. That means I haven't done much with my kids over the summer. She promised them that since she is off of work and feels normal when it's not a chemo week, she would do things with them. That hasn't happened. She hasn't even gone to see them except maybe once.

I know she is sick & scared. But shouldn't that make her want to see her grandbabies and her children as much as she can before she leaves this world? No, instead she is spending as much time as possible with a man that has NEVER taken her to a SINGLE doctor's appointment or to chemo. He says awful things to her like "you can't even cook your man dinner" the day after she has chemo.

I need to know if I'm being selfish. I feel like I'm doing so much to help her as best I can and I just keep getting slapped in the face. I don't know what to do. I'm really starting to resent her. I have this urge to wipe my hands clean and I know that is really, really awful. And I love her. But I just don't know what to do - it's affecting me, my kids, my husband... I'm arguing with them or coming home & wanting to be alone. It exhausts me and saddens me and angers me.

I know this is ranting, but I have no where else to go. I am hoping someone out there has felt this & has some advice.

Posts: 40
Joined: May 2010

Even though we care about our loved ones we have no control of how they choose to deal with the disease they have to do that themselves. If you have always been able to talk to your mom then you should tell her exactly what you are feeling. Remind her that she was going to do things with her grandkids and that they are still waiting for her to come around. I also think that you should use some of your time to spend time with your children. Maybe you could split your time 50/50 so you can still take her to chemo some days but do things with your family as well. Let the boyfriend or a friend take her when you can't.

I know how hard it is to give up control to someone else. I'm the oldest of 2 daughters and have had to learn to let other people help my mom get to appointments/treatments/etc. It's hard to do but maybe your mom will be a little more relaxed if she doesn't think you are hovering over her too much. Believe me when I say I know it's easier said than done. Whenever there is a health crisis in our family I am the one that everyone relies on. My parents are divorced and they've both had serious health problems for the last 4 years and since neither one has remarried they have no one other than their family to rely on.

I know several people that have had cancer and have had no hair. It's a lot easier to deal with no hair than it is so let the disease get out of control and feel the pain it can cause. Maybe your mom will realize that. I pray for you and her that she does whatever is best for her to have as long and healthy of a life as possible.

Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

Twiggy, as hard as it may be to hear, I think your mom is old enough to make her own decisions. I'm betting that one of two things is true: the behavior you mom is exhibiting is typical for her and you just thought cancer would change her perspective or cancer has made your mom's outlook on life a little more intense than it was previously.

Either way, I have to tell you that you've got to stop thinking she is being selfish. She is just living her life the way she chooses. And you are aren't selfish, either.

You want to keep your mom with you to share life, grandchildren, advice, time. Who could blame you - but that may not be the way your story goes, Twiggy.

You fretting over her behavior is not going to change her and it is going to hurt you.

Spend time in your own home, with your children and your husband. Pick up commitments you have dropped and now miss having.

Your mom will need you when she needs you and not before.

Live your life, Twiggy. Your mom is most assuredly going to live hers as long as she can.


Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2012

I'm a friend of a beautiful 46yr old woman who was recently diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. She's very active and has a great husb and 3 handsome boys. My hope is that I'm able to support her through treatment and surgery. I think my biggest fear is that she'll push me away when things get too difficult. I would like to be able to say and do the right things to help her win this fight. I work in the medical field and know how hard this is going to be for her but I also know she has what it takes to survive!!!
Can anyone help me with suggestions....

BenLenBo's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: Feb 2012

She will appreciate short visits, little trips, or just your sitting by her side. It doen't
take much, they just like that you are there for them.
Bring her to appointments or pop in to visit during a treatment- sitting in the chair is time consuming and lonely.
Transportation - to and from store, clinic, hospital etc.
Child care - get the boys out of the house for awhile.
Watch a chick - flick or comedy.
Pot of soup or meal prepared for the family.
Hugs, lots of hugs!!!!!

Prayers for strength and courage, as this cancer is being fought. Keep a positive
attitude, and live each day to the fullest.


Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

Thank you for posting this. I have felt so alone for over a year now helping my husband battle pancreatic cancer. I love him so much but he has always been a very selfish man. He has done mean and cruel things to me throughout our marriage and I have supported him through one battle after another, alcoholism, various illnesses due to his neglect of his health for years, heavy smoking years of drinking before he got sober and horrendously poor diet. He has been his own worst enemy throughout his life but...I love the bugger, what can I say. He has issues, he wasn't born the complete fool he grew into, I think he just became a victim of circumstance in his life way back from his childhood. We all have our baggage and we all carry it better than others. He didn't carry his well and he hurt a lot of people in his life. Ultimately he is still the same person, just with a horrendous disease and he still has his ability to be so totally mean and selfish and of course, life was all about him before this, well it most certainly is now. It is so difficult sometimes as he can be so dismissive of how this is killing me to watch him disappear before my eyes. There are times I just want to run away and pretend it is not happening. But I don't, I stay. I have days where I have called him, as sick as he is, on his appalling lack of regard for anyone but himself, that just because he has cancer it doesn't give him a special dispensation in life to just be cruel and neglectful of other peoples feelings. Then I feel bad and rip myself apart for not being nicer to him because he is so ill. There is no hand book to this. No one has prepared me to deal with this, I don't know...do you turn a blind eye and just let everything slide and turn yourself into a martyr to the cause to where you completely loose your dignity. I do not think so. I thought this was going to possibly be a Hallmark movie moment where suddenly this man who has been so thoughtless at times and acted appallingly at times throughout our life together would suddenly be struck down by this and realise finally what he has, turn his life around and become a different person. Unfortunately, I am realising that not every person has a life changing experience when struck down by this terrible illness, some just become a little more selfish, hide behind it as a means to get away with being selfish, ignoring others that are trying to help. The only way I can resolve it is I live one day at a time, I try to not allow it to consume me anymore like I have for much of the year it has been happening and I walk away at times and take care of myself and forget about it all for a while and be selfish myself. I love him as you clearly love your Mum and no matter how much my Husband hurts me at times with his selfishness I think of how heartbreaking it is going to be if or when he succumbs to this and I walk right back in, put a smile on and forgive him one more time as my conscience wont let me abandon him at this time of need. It is so tough, you cannot stop being human because this is happening to someone, it goes on for so long that life HAS to keep going on. I cannot give you any pearls of wisdom but it has helped me a lot to know that my Husband isn't the only person that is behaving like a very sick petulant child at times. i wish your Mum well, and you also. God bless

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