The C Word

My mom has bladder cancer. One of the easiest cancers to fight and “overcome.” Hers is stage 4. She is dying. She will soon be gone. 

Quick backstory on my mom: my parents divorced when I was 10. They shared custody of us, but my mom was the one who moved out and lived her life. I have never been close to her and there is a lot of anger. I’m trying to move past that so that I can show her compassion in her last days. I love her. But it’s hard. 

Right now we are facing putting her into a nursing home. It isn’t what she wants, so I feel bad for even entertaining the idea. She is on hospice care right now and lives with a roommate, plus my aunt and I trade off on caring for her. She has taken a huge turn for the worse and the amount of cares she needs are rising. She is incontinent and has a urostomy bag, so there is always a mess to clean up. She is still aware, but confused at the same time. 

I feel selfish. I am not a good decision maker. My brother says he doesn’t want to force it on her. I see it as I am the primary caregiver, the primary decision maker, and while it’s all fine and dandy for him because he has a job so he can’t be the main caregiver… it’s hard on those of us who are responsible for the day to day care. I homeschool. I have a family. I live over an hour away. But I’m not allowed to feel that way. Because I “don’t have a job” so I should just stand up and do it. 

And then I feel selfish for even thinking that. I feel like I am all alone in this. None of my other siblings do anything with her care. My one brother gets the details about it, but isn’t a caregiver. The other 2 hear about it from us, but that’s about it. 

I don’t know what to do. I feel bad for her. I feel bad that she knows her kids are angry with her. I feel bad that sometimes I wish this wasn’t my problem. I feel bad that she is so young (58). I feel bad that my kids won’t know her very well.

I just wish it wasn’t happening. 

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7 thoughts on “The C Word

  1. The title of your post caught my eye.
    I’m so sorry to hear this. 😦
    My Dad died of cancer, so I know a little bit of how you feel and what you are going through. 😦
    It’s tough, but I think even tougher if the relationship was not a good one. I felt a battle within in when my mom died two years ago, because I never felt close to her or understood by her or like she was really a mother to me.
    I am a Xangan. And am here now on WP.
    If you need a listening hear, please e-mail me.
    HUGS
    adamswoman@yahoo.com

    1. Thank you for the kind reply! It’s nice finding xangans on here. I hope we can find the same community we had there! There are so many hurts between my mom and I, that it’s hard to all of a sudden be her caregiver. I love her and don’t want her to be alone, but it’s hard to pretend that she isn’t a stranger to me. I don’t know her. She doesn’t know me. And with those feelings of “this is interfering with my life” comes the guilt. I’m sorry about your dad. Cancer is hard, and touches so many of us.

  2. 😦 I can definitely understand how you feel. Honestly, wanting to help a parent, and I mean go out of your way, intense help, as this requires, is a selfless act that takes A LOT to be able to do and live with, without feeling resentment, for anyone – adult, man, woman, single, working – never mind the history in your situation.
    I know how hard this must be in all these different directions. It might not make a huge difference but i would demand a family meeting – like it or not, express your feelings and concerns. While you do want to help it is NOT ok to be SOLELY on your back. Make your peace, decide what you CAN do and will commit to doing. If your brother doesn’t want to force nursing home on her, then he should be able to put some effort towards it not happened.
    I know this is all “ideal” and likely not the way it will go, but it is most important that you speak your feelings. A group effort would be so much more beneficial for her, and considerate towards all involved. You can only do so much.

  3. So sorry to hear about this. It is a tough position to be in. My dad has Pancreatic Cancer, and will (hopefully not so) soon be gone. Ironically, right before they realized he had Pancreatic Cancer, he had also had bladder cancer. (My dad and cancer go way back…) Luckily, for that, they caught it soon enough, and his doctor even joked, like you said, not to worry, because that’s the “easy” cancer – the Pancreatic Cancer, we weren’t so lucky. Right now, he’s doing fairly well, taking it day by day, but we all know the dreaded day will come when he isn’t doing so well.

    This actually sounds a lot like the situation we went through with my grandmother, though. She was living with my Aunt about 2 hours from where my parents live (and where I lived at the time). Once she started losing it, my Aunt wanted nothing to do with her, and wanted to put her in a nursing home. We wanted to bring her closer to us, because we knew we’d visit her more, and she’d be happier (there is a really nice retirement village/ nursing home in my hometown where she had been for recovery after surgery), but my Aunt insisted on a place near her – but still hardly ever went to visit.

    All I can say about wishing it wasn’t happening is to just enjoy the time you do have. Do your best to make smart decisions and remember you can’t keep everyone happy, and if you’re the one in charge, sometimes you have a right to be selfish. Make sure your kids get to spend time with her, even if it’s difficult. My dad will most likely never meet my kids. My niece is 3 and my sister is pregnant, but they probably won’t remember him. If I remember, your kids are a little older – so let them enjoy the time they do have with her.

    And if you need anything, even just someone to listen, I’m here.

    1. Her doctors made the same joke, that it was the “easy” cancer. We thought that her surgery would be enough, that’s what she was told. Her cancer was barely stage II when they found it. Then this. I am so sorry about your dad. I’m extremely close to mine, and I know that his death will be the hardest one I go through, unless I (God forbid) lose one of my children. I can’t imagine what a battle your dad has had to fight.

      1. Thanks. It’s interesting actually, we’ve been through this many times before – my dad has had 7 different cancer diagnoses. Everything from Melanoma – removing a patch of skin and biopsy-ing it to make sure, to Leukemia twice over with 2 bone marrow transplants 10 years apart. We’ve been told he wouldn’t make it before, and he always has. He’s always gotten better. The cancer always went into remission. I’ve accepted the facts, but part of can’t help but feel like the same will just happen again, and he’ll be fine. We just take it one day at a time and be thankful that they caught is as early as they did, because normally with Pancreatic Cancer, by the time you know you have it, you only have 3-6 months to live. It’s important to cherish the time we have now, and remember all the good times. Life isn’t fair, and it sucks, but we have no choice but to play the hand we’re dealt, and make the most of it.

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