Mom just announced she has liver cancer! I'm having trouble coping

Discussion in 'Coping and Compassion' started by Alexsandra, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Alexsandra

    Alexsandra Ready for the next adventure

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    Hi guys,

    I am going through a rough patch right now, and I just needed to share it with someone. I recently found out that mom has liver cancer. She was diagnosed in November and wanted to wait until after the holidays to announce it to all of us. So she waited until we were all gathered together on Dad's birthday, a month ago, to announce the bad news. We were all in shock to say the least.

    My sister's first reaction was anger that she kept it a secret. Myself, I just cried. Dad just was disappointed that mom did not share the news with him sooner since she had gone to the oncologist with her best friend instead of him. Mom wants us to keep it a secret from the rest of the family and from her co-workers.

    Since I work with mom that means that I have to be careful not to slip up at work. Our boss is the only one at work who knows and since he is battling prostate cancer himself has been very supportive of my mom missing so much work. I am finding all the secrecy hard on me. I have my husband to talk to and my sister but I have not told my kids who are only 8 and 12 y.o. (my mom's wishes).

    Honestly I knew something was up since she had not been feeling well since April and kept having pressure hikes, fainting spells and dizziness.The doctors kept saying it was panic attacks, then they told her it was high blood pressure, but finally she insisted to an ultrasound done since she already was diagnosed with intestinal cancer 20 years ago. She had had a rare form of cancer, a carcenoid tumor in her small intestine which is a slow growing tumor and once removed was supposed to not come back. After surgery, they followed her for another five years and announced she was cancer-free for good. Unfortunately, there must have still been some cancer cells left and they seeped into the liver. She now has several tumors (8-10) that spread throughout her liver but the good news is that they are still carcenoids so they are slow growing tumors.

    The first time Mom was diagnosed I was only 20 years old and I remember feeling stronger and more in control. I am the one who brought her to the hospital and I was with her when they diagnosed her. Even though the news was dismal, I was able to stay positive and help her through the ordeal and the surgery. I am the oldest of the family and I was always the most level-headed of the family so in an emergency I seem to be the first one that every one calls for help. I lost my grand-father to lung cancer 10 years ago and I was the one at the hospital, talking to the doctors taking care of the family and so on.

    This time I am having trouble dealing with it all. At night, I find myself crying in bed and I feel heavy and depressed during the day. My husband is being really supportive but I just can't do this again. I brought mom to her first chemotherapy treatment two weeks ago and once we got home, I was emotionally and physically drained. To add to the stress, I have been struggling with health issues and keep having to run tests. I just feel so tired these days.

    Cancer is hard on the whole family so I don't want to add more drama to the situation. I know I will get through this one way or the other but I just feel so lonely, even though I am surrounded by tons of people who love me. It is tough!

    Anyway thanks for reading my story and letting me vent. Sometimes it just feels good to let it all out!
     
  2. Tim-o-Finland

    Tim-o-Finland Earning My Ears

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    I cant imagine how crushing it is to keep such a pressure inside, that you cannot share the bad news to others. Even it doesnt change the situation. Life is tough, unfair, sometimes really cruel. Thanks for sharing this to me (us) even we are strangers. For me it is easier to tell things like this to totally starnger, than our family or loved ones.

    My mom has 3 cancers and it has been hard to watch things go by. Anger was first emotion. Frustration and weakness next. But dont get me wrong, we have took everything nice and beutiful out of this life with my mon. We have been travelling around the world, in many different countries, so many wonderful memories to talk with, and watch the movies and pictures we have made in our trips. And we will continue till its not possible. We did (mom, me and dad) our last long holiday together last december to Mauritius and 2 week cruise ship in suite to around Magagaskar, Sceychells, Reunion. And we all loved it. Last long holiday, becouse my parents cannot or doesnt want to take long exhausted flights anymore. We will do trips in shorter distance in Europe, as long as we are able to do them.

    We all have cards dealed in our hands in the beginning, and we have to play with it till the end. Even if we have a bad hand, we have to manage. But all of us can play as nicely and best we can, even cheating a little bit the dealer as I have done. Pick up your cards and check your hand. It might not be as bad as you think, and even then, there are someone that have even worst hand.

    For me it has been more difficult to keep up (I am fine and okey) image as I have 2 cancers myself. Its not so bad, but I am not ok either, and keeping up image that I dont give a s##t about the uninvited guest I have, is mentally hard. But I will play my hand wisely, cheating and in the end I can be happy, and the winner of my table. I dont want to think the end, I want to enjoy the trip between. And I have, and I will... Best wishes to you and your family.
     
    kirstenb1 likes this.
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  4. mommasita

    mommasita DIS VETERAN Moderator

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    I’m sorry to read this.

    That certainly is an awful lot for you to cope with indeed, and even more so the secrecy of it all.

    Is there anyway you can find someone (a professional) to talk with, just for YOU, To get the emotional support needed at a time like this?

    Sometimes, someone on the outside looking in, not connected, that you can sit there and get this stress of your chest, so it doesn’t tear you apart any more than it will,

    I’m sending you love and light. Please feel free to write here anytime.
     
    robinb likes this.
  5. starry_solo

    starry_solo DIS Veteran

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    If there's an employee self services or something similar to talk to a therapist (it's usually free), I would go that route
     
  6. Alexsandra

    Alexsandra Ready for the next adventure

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    I'm so sorry to hear that you not only had to go through this with your mom but are now dealing with your own sickness. I really appreciate you sharing this story with me. I've been feeling so frustrated with the fact that all this has to be kept secret. It felt good to let it out and even better to know that someone is listening. Thanks for the uplifting words. It really does help. :hug:
     
    Tim-o-Finland likes this.
  7. Alexsandra

    Alexsandra Ready for the next adventure

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    Thank you so very much. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have your support. I will see if I cannot book an appointment with a therapist, just to filter through my emotions. I know that you too have gone through a lot. After reading your story, I was in admiration of your strength. I also will send you love and light. :hug:
     
  8. Alexsandra

    Alexsandra Ready for the next adventure

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    Thank you, I will look into it.
     
  9. House_of_Mouse Fan

    House_of_Mouse Fan Mouseketeer

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    I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom. My Mom was diagnosed with advanced leukemia in her lymphatic system 18 months ago. We were all with her to get the results of her biopsy and it honestly felt like someone punched me in the gut when the doctor delivered the news. For months after that, I was on an emotional rollercoaster. I made a point to be with her for every chemo session even though I was with my daughter who was in middle of a PhD some 4,500 km away. I was exhausted at the end of the six months, but I made it through. Mom is in partial remission at the moment and we're thankful for every day that we have with her. Unfortunately, my Dad has now taken ill with newly diagnosed lung issues despite being a non-smoker. He's been in and out of the hospital for the past four months and the prognosis is not favourable.

    I find mindful meditation to be a great comfort to me in times of high stress. It's really easy to succumb to negative thoughts and I find meditation helps to ground me. I'm sending positive vibes your way and hope that you and your family get through this.
     
  10. Alexsandra

    Alexsandra Ready for the next adventure

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    How horrible for you and your family to not only have had to deal with your mom's illness but now your dad's. I totally can relate to the emotional rollercoaster you are living with. I am glad that your mom is doing better. I guess we cannot control what life throws at us. We can only control how we decide to react to it. Stay strong and positive. I will send you, your mom and dad positive vibes.

    I just want to tell you how grateful I am to have a place where I can share my story (and emotions) with people who understand what I am going through. It does help to just be able to talk about it and know that I am not alone in my struggles. I hope that you feel the same way too and know that if ever you need to talk about it further, don't be shy to contact me.

    It is funny you should mention mindful mediation. I started practicing yoga for anxiety and stress and found it to be very helpful. It seems to calm my mind and reduce the level of anxiety I feel. I has been a life saver these past few weeks.

    Thanks again for the positive words, I really appreciate it.:goodvibes
     
    jerseygal likes this.
  11. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    I am so sorry to hear about your mom.

    Has she always been this private? The secrecy seems to be stressing everyone out as much as the cancer itself.

    Please feel free to share here. I may not respond to every post but I’m listening. {{hugs}}
     
  12. jerseygal

    jerseygal DIS Veteran

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    I am very sorry to hear about your Mom. I took a mindfulness meditation class and took away some good tips; hopefully you can also. Take good care of yourself also as you won't be able to help your Mom is your health severely declines. It sounds like she didn't want to worry anyone, wanted to wait till after the holidays, but loved ones are hurt if they feel that they were left out on the news. Hopefully, the strength of your family can help with this sad news and help to "hold each other up" during this very difficult time. Positive thoughts are with you and your family.:grouphug:
     
  13. Alexsandra

    Alexsandra Ready for the next adventure

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    Yes, unfortunately mom does not like to look weak. She prides herself on her strength so I think she doesn’t want people to pity her. The first time she was told she had colon cancer, she had no choice because it happened so quickly. She was hospitalized and they preformed an emergency operation so the whole family knew and came to see her after. This time she had time to find out and wanted to keep it secret.

    It did stress everyone out at first but I think now that we all had time to digest it, it is getting easier to cope with it.

    Thank you so much for the hugs and kind words. ☺️

    You are so right. I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of mom. I will try meditation for sure.

    Mom didn’t want us to worry for sure but I think the worst thing is to keep it secret. Not only does she have to go through the worry and the burden alone but as her daughter it is hard to accept that she doesn’t want help.

    Anyway, thanks for the encouragement. I feel a little more stable these days and am less distraught now that I had time to digest the news.
     

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