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Old 05-30-2010, 09:22 PM   #1
kymom99
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Mom is ill

Today we had to take my 82 year old mom to the hospital because she was having difficulty breathing. Chest x-ray and CAT scan show a mass on her lungs that the doctor feels sure is cancer. They will do a biopsy Tuesday. Here's the worst part of it: she has never been a smoker, nor has she ever lived with one. Just doesn't make sense. My dad died 2 years ago and they had been married 55 years. We just helped her buy a condo and she was planning to move in 3 weeks. I hate that this is happening to my mom. I dread watching her struggle to breathe and suffering through treatments (if she chooses to do any.) This has all happened so suddenly.

Now for another complication: we are scheduled to leave for Disney in less than a week. My siblings say I should go on with my vacation, because my mom will need me more as things progress, but I hate to leave her. I know we have a long road ahead of us though, so I guess I will take the time away with my family. My son and grandkids are looking forward to the trip and I want to share it with them. I'm so glad that I took Mom on a vacation last year to visit her friend in CT. She had such a good time. We can never know how much time we have left, so we need to make the most of every minute.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:55 AM   #2
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Here are my thoughts this early morning. I would say if you have siblings close by that will step up to the plate and help Mom while you are gone, I say go. You will need the break before this really all starts. I am assuming that despite her age, she is relatively young getting a new condo and all. I will say this that watching my husband go through chemo and radiation starting at the age of 60 for Pancreatic can age the patient and the caretaker. Take your break now before it really all starts.. Again, this is my opinion and most of all know this that you can post here and talk about it and those of us with experience will respond and keep you bucked up but there are groups out there if you search with support boards for caretakers and divided by whatever cancer it is.. I found them extremely helpful and if you want more info just pm me...

Take care and have a great time if you do decide to go..
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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I know Mom is going to need me more as time goes by. I really don't feel like going anywhere, which is ironic because I spent months planning this trip. However, I know the family needs a vacation and she will be okay for a short while anyway.
The doctor just talked to us and told us what they will be doing in the next few days. Basically they need to find out what type of cancer it is, and if it migrated from another area of the body. Then they can give us more information about what to expect. I know it is all a waiting game.
Mom is lucky to have 4 kids living near her. We will share the responsibility and she will be in good hands. My sister is a respected nurse at the hospital so the doctors are always very helpful to us. My dad died 2 years ago and I couldn't have asked for them to do any more for him than they did. It helps having someone on the inside who knows all the terminology and can make informed decisions.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:17 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear about your precious mum.

I can totally understand that you don't want to go anywhere at the moment but do try to look at it from your mum's point of view. I would be very upset if my daughter cancelled a vacation when there are lots of family around to offer their support.
When my dad was sick my sister and I managed to tag team so that between us we could help our parents and look after our children, jobs etc. Talk to your mum and your siblings, it sounds like you are blessed with a close loving family.

Do what feels right for you and your family.

Hugs for you and your family
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:34 AM   #5
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I am very blessed to have a close family. My sister and I are the most involved, but my bothers will help if you hold their feet to the fire! My step daughter lives 100 miles away and we don't get to see her and her little ones enough. They were here yesterday, and it made me realize that I don't want to miss this trip because we need to spend the time with them. My son is 10 and my mom has been such an important part of our lives, as well as a big help to us. It's hard to imagine her being gone. Such a sad and lonely feeling.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:25 AM   #6
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I am sorry about your Mom.

If she has a mass on her lungs that is cancerous, it may not necessarily be lung cancer. It could be a metastatic cancer that spread from somewhere else in the body, somewhere she may not even realize she has cancer. In the coming days, she'll be undergoing lots of tests to see what else, if anything, is going on in the rest of her body, like CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, etc, as well as having blood work, talking to a ton of clinicians, making tough decisions that have to be made, etc.

Patients become completely exhausted with all of this, especially if they are having symptoms such as difficulty breathing like your Mom is. And if the tumor is causing this difficulty, it may be a challenge figuring out how to help her (surgery may not always be possible or prudent). This is from the perspective of a hospital nurse who sees this all the time. I hate to say cancel your trip because I know how difficult a choice that is, but if it were my mother, I'd want to be there with her during this time. She will probably be quite frightened even if she doesn't tell you that (they tell us after their families leave) and may want to discuss things that "need to be said" about finances, insurance, (hate to say it) funeral plans, etc, so they can have peace about them. Unless you think your sister and brothers can or wouldn't mind handling all of this without you, then you might want to be there.

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My siblings say I should go on with my vacation, because my mom will need me more as things progress
Talk to her doctors this week to see how long an illness they expect this might be. Just know that they will not have all the information needed to tell give you an *absolute* answer until all of the tests are in. But they will likely be able to give you some idea. I can tell you that a tumor that's not causing problems and a tumor that's causing problems are two different things. But hopefully they'll at least be able to treat her medically at least to give her some relief now.

Will keep her and your family in my prayers.
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:07 PM   #7
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I agree that you should go ahead with your vacation. Your sister can handle things for now. You have to realize that your mom would want you to go on with your plans. Even the doctors will be able to give only you a guestimated timeline.

I'm so sorry that your Mom is ill.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:11 AM   #8
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Thank you for all of the replies and different perspectives. I know I will be worried while I am away, but I don't want to cancel because of the children. We are hoping Mom will come home for a little while and I have told my sister I will stay with her every day if I have to while I am off this summer (I am a teacher.) She had a test done yesterday and the doctor hopes to have results today. My sister did bring up the point that the cancer could have come from another part of the body. Mom had cervical cancer about 9 years ago and there is a lot of cancer in her family. Wouldn't be a surprise to have them find it elsewhere.

About a year ago my mom made all her funeral arrangements and paid for all of it. My dad died 2 years ago and since then my sister has been handling her finances. Mom is clueless about all that. We say Dad spoiled her that way. I had spent the last few months (since March) helping her buy a condo and she was finally due to move in June 22. Hopefully we will go ahead and move her in and she will get to spend some time there. She was very excited. Her old house was too big for her and she felt unsafe there. She is hearing impaired and always afraid someone would "come in".

Mom is a very spiritual woman. She keeps saying she hopes they can help her. But then she says if they can't that's okay, she'll just go and be with dad. The thing she is the most upset about is that she can't go to my son's band concert tonight.

It is a very lonely feeling thinking about both of my parents being gone. My mom and dad have done so much for me over the years, I can't even begin to pay it back. I have been so blessed to have a wonderful family. there are so many people who don't have that.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:05 PM   #9
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post trip update

We got back from our trip last Sunday. I am very glad we went. At first I jumped every time the phone rang. I wished that I could call Mom and say hello each day, but she cannot hear on the hospital phone. In a short time I was able to put the "real world" behind and enjoy our family vacation. My mom's status did not change while I was gone. However, they did determine that the tumors were malignant and that it is stage 4, terminal. This was not good news, but not totally unexpected.

We just finished today moving Mom's things into the new condo she purchased before finding out about the cancer. She is still in the hospital and has decided to take chemo to try to stop the growth of the tumors. We need to get her home to her new place so that she can enjoy it, even if only for a short time.
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Old 06-24-2010, 04:16 AM   #10
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I am pleased to hear that you were able to enjoy the vacation with your family and I imagine your mum was glad that you were able to enjoy this trip.

So sorry that the medical news for your mum is not good and I shall be thinking of you and your family as you face this challenge together.

Thanks for the update
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:02 PM   #11
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I'm so sorry to hear of the news of you mom. I'm glad you were able to take the trip and could leave the world behind some. It may be some memories and down time that you needed before a long road ahead.
I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers!~
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:59 PM   #12
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Well, here we are, nearly 5 months later, and Mom is now in hospice. The past months have been the most difficult I have ever had to face.

Mom had chemotherapy treatments all through the summer. She lost her hair and much of her physical strength. She was able to come home for about 6 weeks, and I spent many nights with her. She had some good days, going out to Dairy Queen for my son's birthday, making it to church a couple times, and having people over to her new place for visits. She was then hospitalized with a fever, and when she came back home she was barely able to walk.

One night Mom fell in the bathroom, and that was the end of her days at home. She went to a nursing home for about 2 weeks until her kidneys began to fail and she was unable to raise her hands to feed herself. We sent her to the hospital, and they ran many tests just to get us some answers. It turns out that the lung cancer that was nearly gone 6 weeks ago was already growing back. IV fluids did not help her kidney function. We decided to enforce her living will and start giving comfort measures. She still seems to know us, but she can barely speak and can only eat soft foods.

It is sad to think about Mom being gone, but as I think back, she had a very happy and fulfilling life. She will soon be in a better place with no more suffering, and we will be left with happy memories of our wonderful, loving mother.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:30 PM   #13
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Mom passed away on Sunday morning, just hours after my last post. She went much quicker than I expected, which was a blessing, since we knew she couldn't get better. She is at peace now. I'm sure going to miss her. I was blessed with 2 fantastic parents.

Thank you everyone for the kind words.
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kymom99 View Post
Mom passed away on Sunday morning, just hours after my last post. She went much quicker than I expected, which was a blessing, since we knew she couldn't get better. She is at peace now. I'm sure going to miss her. I was blessed with 2 fantastic parents.

Thank you everyone for the kind words.
I am very sorry for your loss
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Old 10-31-2010, 05:15 AM   #15
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I am so sorry for your loss.

It is posts like these that remind me to not take my parents for granted. My mom called yesterday to see if I could take them to their monthly luncheon (which is an hour away) I am so lucky that they picked Veteran's Day and I am off school and can do it.

You will be in my thoughts.
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