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Old 03-13-2011, 11:21 PM   #1
Disneyforus
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Bad news has turned worse for our family

I apologize, this is just a vent...to get some of this out of my head so maybe some of it I can stop thinking about it over and over and over again,


My Wonderful, Sweet, Cared many hours for my kids, Mother In Law was diagnosed the week before last with probable lung cancer, did a lymph node biopsy and got results this past Monday that it is in the nodes too. (she never smoked, but her late husband did) Doctor sent her for a CT of Brain/Abdomen/Pelvis on Tuesday. On Wednesday I get the call that she has 2 large masses in her brain. He called me and my DH because she was leaving that day for her first trip to Disney with my brother in law and his family.
So....we didn't tell her, and let her go on her trip.
We did have to contact my brother in law 1 hour before they were leaving to go to the airport and let him know the terrible news, and also that the Doctor started her on a seizure med and anti inflammatory to help with swelling in the brain. They had to stop and pick them up on their way. We told her it was pre treatment medications.

So, she is in Disney having the time of her life! She sounds like a little kid when we talk to her on the phone (she is 74). She is so happy and we have been getting emailed pictures of her along the way, which I know will be precious memories someday. All of her immediate family at home know, and our hearts break at the thought of her coming home from vacation to face this. It is wonderful to know she is having such a great time at the happiest place on earth....but....we know that with this type of cancer she may not be around for very long.
The one blessing of all this, is that we have had a week to digest the diagnosis and have a family meeting to decide care options and the potential problems we may have to face. She is not allowed to drive her car anymore, washer and dryer have been moved up to the main floor of the house, boarding off the basement stairs, purchasing a lifeline system for her to wear if she is alone for short periods of time, brother in law who is separated from his wife is going to move in to be there for overnights. Scoured through the will for the health wishes....and they were very clearly laid out. My husband has POA and there are only 2 items he needs to take care of with her.

We have our own family vacation planned in just a couple of weeks with my brother and his family...who have never been to florida or disney...I was really looking forward to spending a great weeks vacation with my family...never had a chance to do that before, as adults. The cousins are excited of course.....

So now we don't really know what to do. We can transfer the Villa reservation into my brothers name (for $100 fee) if we can't go....it's so hard to make that decision and know what we should do.
Just tonight our 4 kids were jabbering away at dinner about everything we were going to be doing, our countdown chain etc....
We have told them that Grandma is sick, not that she is terminally sick....though we did discuss that God has us on earth for specific reason and time to accomplish his good work and then when we are done we go to be with him. Our kids seem to readily accept that, and they have been through the loss of Grandpa too so that may help them understand.

My DH and I are Disney fans to the fullest but, we have lost our enthusiasm for this trip in lieu of concern for Mom. When we went through this with my Father in Law a kind Nurse gave us the advice to continue living. You never can predict the timing of things, you could put your life on hold forever over the what ifs...I do know Mom would be angry with us if we denied her grandchildren their trip. She has already told the family that when she dies she will be cremated, no visitation, no service, she wants her ashes placed on top of her husbands casket. (don't know if that is legal)

So, that's my story...it's been a pretty sureal week that seems like 2 weeks.

They went to Magic Kingdom today after seeing Detroit play Phoenex, and stayed for the electromagic parade and fireworks.
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneyforus View Post
I apologize, this is just a vent...to get some of this out of my head so maybe some of it I can stop thinking about it over and over and over again,


My Wonderful, Sweet, Cared many hours for my kids, Mother In Law was diagnosed the week before last with probable lung cancer, did a lymph node biopsy and got results this past Monday that it is in the nodes too. (she never smoked, but her late husband did) Doctor sent her for a CT of Brain/Abdomen/Pelvis on Tuesday. On Wednesday I get the call that she has 2 large masses in her brain. He called me and my DH because she was leaving that day for her first trip to Disney with my brother in law and his family.
So....we didn't tell her, and let her go on her trip.
We did have to contact my brother in law 1 hour before they were leaving to go to the airport and let him know the terrible news, and also that the Doctor started her on a seizure med and anti inflammatory to help with swelling in the brain. They had to stop and pick them up on their way. We told her it was pre treatment medications.

So, she is in Disney having the time of her life! She sounds like a little kid when we talk to her on the phone (she is 74). She is so happy and we have been getting emailed pictures of her along the way, which I know will be precious memories someday. All of her immediate family at home know, and our hearts break at the thought of her coming home from vacation to face this. It is wonderful to know she is having such a great time at the happiest place on earth....but....we know that with this type of cancer she may not be around for very long.
The one blessing of all this, is that we have had a week to digest the diagnosis and have a family meeting to decide care options and the potential problems we may have to face. She is not allowed to drive her car anymore, washer and dryer have been moved up to the main floor of the house, boarding off the basement stairs, purchasing a lifeline system for her to wear if she is alone for short periods of time, brother in law who is separated from his wife is going to move in to be there for overnights. Scoured through the will for the health wishes....and they were very clearly laid out. My husband has POA and there are only 2 items he needs to take care of with her.

We have our own family vacation planned in just a couple of weeks with my brother and his family...who have never been to florida or disney...I was really looking forward to spending a great weeks vacation with my family...never had a chance to do that before, as adults. The cousins are excited of course.....

So now we don't really know what to do. We can transfer the Villa reservation into my brothers name (for $100 fee) if we can't go....it's so hard to make that decision and know what we should do.
Just tonight our 4 kids were jabbering away at dinner about everything we were going to be doing, our countdown chain etc....
We have told them that Grandma is sick, not that she is terminally sick....though we did discuss that God has us on earth for specific reason and time to accomplish his good work and then when we are done we go to be with him. Our kids seem to readily accept that, and they have been through the loss of Grandpa too so that may help them understand.

My DH and I are Disney fans to the fullest but, we have lost our enthusiasm for this trip in lieu of concern for Mom. When we went through this with my Father in Law a kind Nurse gave us the advice to continue living. You never can predict the timing of things, you could put your life on hold forever over the what ifs...I do know Mom would be angry with us if we denied her grandchildren their trip. She has already told the family that when she dies she will be cremated, no visitation, no service, she wants her ashes placed on top of her husbands casket. (don't know if that is legal)

So, that's my story...it's been a pretty sureal week that seems like 2 weeks.

They went to Magic Kingdom today after seeing Detroit play Phoenex, and stayed for the electromagic parade and fireworks.
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:44 PM   #3
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Please don't feel any need to apologize. I believe I speak for everyone. This is a place to lean on at any time, for any reason.

I read through your post very teary eyed. I have gone through the identical situation with my late MIL. As you are surely aware, the road is not easy, only with family and loved ones do we get through it, but we do.

I never like to 'suggest' to someone on what to do in regards to an upcoming trip or anything, but I 'feel' like I would continue as planned. It may not be as joyful as you would have hoped for, but with everything coming up in the next while for your family, it might be exactly what you need, and then again it might not. Just my 2 cents.

I will keep your family in my daily thoughts and prayers.

Pop in at ANY time, and please feel welcomed here. It is a great place IMHO to share things we may not want to share at home or with family, especially with young children.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:30 AM   #4
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I am so sorry that your family is going through this.

It is always hard to make decisions when the future is so uncertain and I have been in a similar situation. When my father was unwell my mum was very insistent that our family continue on with planned vacations etc. It was never easy but my sister and I were always able to arrange things so that one of us could be with mum and dad.

Talk to your family when they return and whatever you decide will be the right decision for you.

Please come here anytime you want to talk, vent or need a .

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:00 AM   #5
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I'm so sorry to hear this and praying for you.

Here's a little input regarding going to WDW...I know it's hard to cancel or postpone a trip, but depending on how your MIL is doing, it might be a good idea to postpone the trip. When I was 7, we went on our first trip to WDW. My mom's friend and her daughter who was around my age were planning on coming with us. Her friend had some type of cancer, not sure what kind, but was originally "Good to go" on the trip. When it came closer to the trip, she wasn't doing so well and obviously didn't come on the trip with us, but gave her daughter the option to go with us still. Her daughter chose to stay at home with her mom, and her mother passed away while we were at WDW. My mother never really said anything about it to me, but I'm sure that she probably regrets not being able to see her friend one last time or even attend the funeral since we were on vacation. Obviously the same thing might not happen in your situation, but I would stay at home and spend as much time with my loved ones as possible since I've seen personally how a similar situation turned out. Best wishes to you.
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:23 AM   #6
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I'm so sorry that your wonderful mother-in-law has such a grave prognosis.

My husband and I had a planned trip to WDW in Dec. '09 with our older son and his wife. My elderly mother lived with DH & I. Any time we went on vacation, one of my sisters would stay with Mom. I fretted over whether to go on this trip. Mom wasn't doing well (she was 92 and had congestive heart failure). She insisted that we go - she even told me she wouldn't leave while we were gone (she passed the following April). My sisters told me that they were so happy that they each got to spend the time with Mom while we were away. My point is: do what you can with her, but live your lives too. I guess if she were obviously in her final days, my opinion might be different.

I see that you weren't soliciting opinions - and everyone's situation is different. You have my deepest sympathy. It will be a difficult time for you and your family.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of your caring words. It is very appreciated.
She got back from her wonderful week at Disney this past Wednesday and we had a big family meeting with her Doctor on Thurs night...to tell her the news. It was hard. I think she is trying to take it all in right now...but Florida/Disney was so good for her. She came back with a glow and very happy.
She is having a couple additional tests to determine if any kind of treatment might slow the progression of what is a terminal disease. We will meet the week after we get back from our vacation to discuss treatment options.
She may decide to do nothing.
The one good thing is, that she is really having very little symptoms if any of the cancer...it was found accidently through an xray she had for an unrelated pain. So, I pray that she will continue to feel good for awhile.

Thanks again, and we are planning on going on our vacation as planned. We think that she would probably take it harder that we were canceling our vacation for her than if we just went.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:15 PM   #8
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All I can say here is to take the diagnosis, the treatment, and life one day at a time. We say in this family that no one has an expiration date stamped anywhere, I am so glad she is Disney enjoying herself and living the life. It is the quality of life for as long as it is quality and treatment buys time, she will make the decisions with the help of her family. Know that many will be here to help you along the way....
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:30 PM   #9
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All I can say here is to take the diagnosis, the treatment, and life one day at a time. We say in this family that no one has an expiration date stamped anywhere, I am so glad she is Disney enjoying herself and living the life. It is the quality of life for as long as it is quality and treatment buys time, she will make the decisions with the help of her family. Know that many will be here to help you along the way....
I completely agree with what you have said. My Dad passed away two days before Thanksgiving 2010 after a 4.5 year battle with stage 3b (and ultimately 4) lung cancer. He was originally given 6 months at diagnosis. He developed a brain tumor that was surgically removed about a 1.5 years after the original diagnosis--and honestly the thing that really ruined the quality of his life for the last 12 months of it was the whole brain radiation they did after the brain surgery. However, we got sooo much more quality time with him than we ever would have expected. I'm so glad she got to take such an amazing trip--had she known too much beforehand, she might not have planned to go--and what a shame that would have been.

Also, with my dad we never knew what was around the corner, or when he might take a turn for the worse--but my mom and dad always just said, you never know, even with a terminal illness--so just make plans as if nothing's wrong. It was good advise. Best of luck to you and your family. What a blessing that so many things seem to be in order already.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:29 AM   #10
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I have a friend who is going through the same thing.

OP, I am praying for you and your family. I came here tonight to read about this very thing. My DD's best friends mother was just diagnosed with three brain tumors early last week. Last Friday they ran more tests and found that she also has lung cancer.(she is a smoker) Her DD is graduating from HS with my DD on the 27th of May, and she is an only child. Her dad passed away when she was very small. My heart is breaking for them.

I have not talked to her yet, but I am going over there tomorrow to take her a meal. I do know that she has had trouble speaking, walking and she has had bad headaches, which is why she was rushed to the hospital last week. She can also no longer drive. The tumors are on the back of her brain, which is why she has had these problems.

This does not sound good to me at all. I think they are planning on doing chemo, but I am not sure. OP, please keep us up to date with her progress & treatment. I would like to see what her doctors are going to do.

Please add my friend to the prayer list here.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:08 AM   #11
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OP here with update:

We spent the afternoon with her yesterday and my kids got to hear and see all about her Disney Trip... She just seemed her normal self. She did have an episode of blurred vision in one of her eyes while we were there but it only lasted for maybe 1 minute. Evidently she has been having some visual disturbances for several weeks. (never mentioned that to the doctor)

So, all in all good day...and yes we are just taking it one day at a time. We are going to go to a Butterfly exhibit with her next weekend as that will be our last weekend home before our vacation.

She seems to be in a little denial about what is going on...and wonders why we are all acting as if she is going to die any day. So, I guess we need to make sure we allow her "more hope"....she does say that she wants to start treatment ASAP. I do know that the brain tumor is inoperable because of the location, it is dead center middle of her brain...as well as the mass in her lung. So the only option will be radiation and chemo.....just not real excited about that for her at all. I know it is going to knock he right down.

The more pressing problem is her wanting to drive. She insists she is fine, and will not hear anything we or the doctors have said about possibly blacking out or seizures. My DH is struggling with should we just take her keys....I don't want her to drive and have an accident and hurt someone. I think we as a family would struggle with guilt if that happened...but she is going to be so mad to lose her car.

God's hand is in all of this, so we will trust in his perfect timing and plan.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:16 AM   #12
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I am so sorry that you all are going through this.

I must say that you really do need to take your mother-in-laws car keys. Since she is not feeling sick she doesn't realize how dangerous it would be for her to drive. She is still adjusting to the news and probably is still a bit in denial. She will be angry but assure her that someone will always be available to drive her where she needs to go.

I had a friend who had breast cancer and was driving to a doctor's appointment on the freeway. She felt herself starting to black out and fought it. She pulled over until she felt better. The doctor did a scan when she was there and confirmed that the cancer had spread to her brain. They would not allow her to drive home and that was the last time she drove. It really is a matter of safety for your mother-in-law and other's who are on the road.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:25 PM   #13
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I am so sorry that you all are going through this.

I must say that you really do need to take your mother-in-laws car keys. Since she is not feeling sick she doesn't realize how dangerous it would be for her to drive. She is still adjusting to the news and probably is still a bit in denial. She will be angry but assure her that someone will always be available to drive her where she needs to go.

I had a friend who had breast cancer and was driving to a doctor's appointment on the freeway. She felt herself starting to black out and fought it. She pulled over until she felt better. The doctor did a scan when she was there and confirmed that the cancer had spread to her brain. They would not allow her to drive home and that was the last time she drove. It really is a matter of safety for your mother-in-law and other's who are on the road.
Yep, DH and I just talked at lunch and decided the very same thing. I know she is going to be mad, but we can't let her potentially hurt herself or someone else. She loves her car, so we are going to lock the car keys up in a strong box at the house and give a key to the strong box to all her kids....that way we can still drive her in her car.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:35 PM   #14
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Yep, DH and I just talked at lunch and decided the very same thing. I know she is going to be mad, but we can't let her potentially hurt herself or someone else. She loves her car, so we are going to lock the car keys up in a strong box at the house and give a key to the strong box to all her kids....that way we can still drive her in her car.
I'm glad that your family is getting to spend time with your mum.

Good luck working out the driving issue, it is very difficult for people to lose this aspect of their independence but hopefully she will realize that you are acting out of love and concern.

To your whole family.

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:54 PM   #15
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Your MIL is so fortunate to have a strong, supportive family like yours to take charge of the situation. There are so many people out there with no family or family members incapable of stepping in and helping out.

I've been posting on this thread about a young man, 19, who has battled leukemia on and off since he was 12. From leukemia, he's had stomach cancer, eye cancer and now testicular cancer. Also interal bleeding and seizure after seizure. His diagnosis at times has been grim at best. He was in remission long enough graduate high school and to attend college for a bit. And yet here he is today, battling cancer again.

I agree, life continues and you have to continue living. Your MIL did just that- having a great time in Disney and giving memories her family will cherish long after she's gone.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
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