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Do They Know?

GNT1981
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2019

This is something I amd my children have gone on and on about- Did my wife know just how bad things were? No not after diagnosis but before that. My Dad died from pancraetic cancer and my Mom and I always wondered if he knew anything-felt anything-perhaps feared anything before it became known? Is there something inside of them that went "oh my God this is not good-or this is the end"? But for reasons only known to them they forge on each day until the situation becomes known from Dr visit or tests. With my Dad my Mom said not long before diagnosis he jumped off the couch and screamed in pain. That was her first sign something was wrong. For my wife there were signs before diagnosis in June that we simply missed. Her sister had passed in April from pancraetic cancer. In January her job of 13 years sent her a certified letter that die to her back issues and being on disability she was no longer with the company and her medical insurance would stop. She went through so much prior to her diagnosis but we all played it off as depression-stress- the move to a new home we had bought. But something in her changed- she seemed more quiet and introverted. The things she so loved being here-smell of a BBQ - our inground pool (a source of great pride) which was to help her with aquatics and strengthen her bad back. Her sometimes distant look and stare at me- I swear she looked a few times as if "who is that"? Her lack of emotion at her sisters funeral-no tears and all she wanted to do was get back home. I did notice her hair had been falling out and many times would see her pulling on it and pulling out hairs but never thought about it. Hey we are aging right? Her 62-me 64. To me while taken aback at times with her changed behavior- she still exhibited normal emotions and words. It was enough to have us thinking it was a phase and so much hot her at once. That finally when we would get to our retirement home in March all would be well. We had 2 months of mostly well- but again signs missed now after I am able to research so much. I think now about her late nights where I would always go up and she would stay back. many times she was having coughing fits in bed and then would go downstairs so I could sleep. Aww nothing more than a cough it seemed- but was it? Now I look at lung cancer and see what was happening. But at that point we never thought or did she know something was not right? She was a  tough and stubborn woman as was her sisters and would not surprise me of she had some kind of feeling of worry-concern-but she never portrayed it to me? She was using a cane more and I remember being upset with her- get rid of that thing I would say. But now it was obvious why she was using it more and more- she had to have been worried about her balance-though we never saw a fall (perhaps she did?). When we came up here we went to a local mall and she suddenly needed to stop and lean against a wall- seemingly out of breath. It was nothing she would say. She just needed to work up her strength. What was going on inside of her that she had to have felt? But never would she give in-stubbron and tough. In the end we had just figured she would have a bad back and need use of a cane- no issue see hundreds of couples like that. But one thing I should have also realized was that she gave up her driving. We had a car that she wanted and loved for a year but in year 2 when things were happening she suddenly would hand me the keys- "you take it". Again signs missed and it had to do with her vision that was also going- she told us stories of when she would drive to work how people were driving "up her ***" and honking and giving her the finger-the road rage at her. She would pull out and nobody would stop. OR was it her who was having trouble driving and with vision failing especially peripherally on those pull outs? Did they seem further away than they were? Ok no matter I took over the driving when she was on short/long term disability gladly of that is what she wanted.  When we got here she would take showers but used a shower chair so she could sit. Then it became hard for her to get her leg over the bathtub. her movements were becomming staggared and hard. Her walk with the cane became even slower. The all along the head tremors that would crop up-those to me should ahve done it. But she had gone to hospital in January for her back and while having a head tremor I asked the Dr to please take a CT scan of her brain-something was wrong-why is this happening? It was not frequent but was more and more visable. The Dr said the scan came out clear and no issues were noted with her brain (to this day my sons are all over me saying how could that be? Look at what she had? There had to have been something!). So to this day I battle with should I get those results or not and at this point-nothings bringing her back. If we did get back and she was all lit up and they blew/missed it-then what? I told my sons they are Drs they could not have missed. All I do now is think of the times she was alone- in the bathroom or when I was asleep- or at work- when I could not see- did she see somethig? In the mirror? Did she just keeps so much to her self until it became impossible to hide anymore? We will never-ever-know but the thoughts /debates go on even now almost 6 months after she passed away.

k8's picture
k8
Posts: 33
Joined: Oct 2018

Part of them knows but does not want to accept the end. I have been taking care of my mother who is 85 now. A couple of years ago she had cancer in one of her vocal cords, had radiation, then cancer moved to her lung, she had radiation, then cancer moved to her pancreas which she completed chemo which was not to cure but to slow down cancer from growing. Mom does not complain. I don't like her driving anymore because her motor skills have slowed down and I am sure just like your mom that people are just rude because they tend to drive and manuver most slower than our fast paced world. A few ago my girlfiend stopped by my house to say hi and poked in to say hi to my mom. Mom told my girlfriend that she was having side pains for past 2 to 3 weeks. After my friend left I went into mom's bedroom and asked how sharp her pain was and she stated about an 8. My mom has never taken pain medication so I called her oncologist and he ordered her some Percocet, I also took my mother to emergency because I in no way want to her to suffer if this was cancer related. It turned out she only had a UTI which was treatable.

Mom's oncolgist ordered Hospice as he thought we were getting closer to the end. My point in telling you this I have to always ask my mom has she is doing because she does not like to complain. In the past 10 years there have been many trips to the ER. She has always had a cane but refuses to use it. She wanted a walker but has not used that as of yet. I do take notice that it is difficult for her to walk and anytime we go into a store she needs to have grocery cart for support. Still she does not use her walker or cane.

My mom is afraid of dying and she is not ready. I think it is important to speak about death and dying, if your able. It is not an easy subject to bring up especially to a parent.

Life can be very busy when you are working full time and raising a family. I do not spend as much time as I would like to with my mom. My hope is you do not feel guilty. 

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