Update on my mother

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tiredmommy, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    My mother's oncologist has recommended that she try a short course of chemotherapy (3 days in a row, skip a week, then repeat the pattern 2x). He said she'll have an 80% chance of gaining an additional 8 months. She had her first week just before Christmas (M, T, W) and tolerated the treatment well. A Ct showed that cancer has not spread to her brain and it appears that the tumor in her breastbone has shrunk. It's good news.

    But there's bad news too. She's continued to drink (and smoke) against doctor's orders. And she thinks she's "getting better" since one of the tumors has shrunk. She's deluding herself... and I'm not surprised. I suppose whatever remission she achieves will be extremely short-lived.

    Oh well, it is what it is. :hammer:
  2. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    TM, I'm sorry, I know how difficult this must be for you all.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Sigh. I'm sorry, TM. It's not going to be easy, is it? In some ways it would be better to not have the chemo option, I think.

  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry she is being difficult. I hope that she will continue to recover.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I will keep your family in my prayers. Sorry she is not able to follow the doctor's instructions. I know my paternal Gpa died because he could not stop smoking. Addiction is awful, esp on the family of the addicted.
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hugs TM.
    She probably wouldn't stop her lifelong habits regardless of improvement or deteiroration because the addict always has an excuse to justify their choice.
    It still hurts though as a daughter.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Thanks everyone. I'm really not surprised that she's smoking and drinking. What I am concerned about is what she's going to do when she realizes she's not "getting better" anymore. I really think she believes she will be cured so everything can go back to her state of normal.

    I appreciate the prayers for the family, especially my brother. He's really struggling through all this.
  8. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Well, I don't want to give you false hope, but my uncle had a tumor in his lung. He was given three months. He continued to smoke a lot (not a drinker, at all though). He went through chemo and radiation and ended up living two more years. He died from an infection though. When they x-rayed his chest when he went into the hospital the last time, the tumor was almost non-existent.

    I hope she beats this, but moreso, I hope she realizes how she's destroying you by not taking care of herself and turns the corner. ((((hugs))))
  9. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'm sorry to hear that she is still smoking. As a smoker, who loathes that I'm addicted to smoking, I can see how hard it would be to quit during the most stressful thing a person can go through. Yet I would want so badly to quit to increase chances to live longer. What a sad situation, regardless.

    Good thoughts and healing prayers coming from here. You are right that it is what it is, but that doesn't mean it isn't very difficult. ((((hugs))))
  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    husband, at the very end of his life, when he knew he was entering his last Spring, chose to live what time he had left as fully as possible. He was NOT in any type of denial; he simply didn't want to trade the shreds of normalcy left to him for an additional couple of months.

    Could this be what is going on with your mother?
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    TM -

    It is STILL okay to believe in and expect a miracle. Regardless.

  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Thanks everyone.

    GN- No, I don't think so. I think my mother thinks this nasty little episode will be behind her. That she's not going to die and can continue on as if nothing has changed. She hasn't connected the dots.

    Like I said earlier, I'm not surprised she's still smoking & drinking due to her addictions. And frankly, I wouldn't be concerned if she had accepted her diagnosis as life threatening or terminal. I mean, I'd consider not quitting if I were 67 years old, addicted for years and stage four. But I'd think it through and not delude myself into thinking everything was honky dory, Know what I mean??

    I'm really concerned for her when the cancer recurs because I think she'll be blind-sided.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Aw, I'm so sorry, TM. Denial is so hard on family members.
    Nothing you can do. She has no idea how lucky she is to have you.
  14. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    TM, I don't pretend to know your Mom but I did go through a terminal illness with mine. My Mom was a easy child and, from what you've told us, yours has always been a difficult child. What they seem to have in common though, is the desire to "go out" on their own terms.

    My Mom would not think that an extension of 8 months was enough to change her behaviors. She quit smoking when she was 51 and used to joke that she couldn't wait to turn 70 because she'd read somewhere that at 70 smoking didn't shorten your lifespan and she missed smoking every single day.

    I have to wonder if your Mom also doesn't think that an extension of 8 months is enough to change her behaviors...or, since she is still actively smoking and drinking, she might be powerless to alter those behaviors at this late date and under this kind of duress. I smoked for 38 years. If a doctor told me I only had a few months to live you can bet the farm that I'd get in my car and book it to the nearest convenience store and buy several cartons of cigarettes, even though I haven't smoked since 2002.

    I remember as a daughter that every single day with my Mom was blessed to me. By the time she was dying, my Mom was so tired of feeling sick that she was ready to die, even if I was not ready to let her go.

    From your posts, I know that you have had a dreadful relationship with your Mom. My heart aches for your pain because your loss will probably be twofold- one, for the loving relationship you never had through no fault of your own; and two, that you won't have a second chance to develop it.

    If there is any advice I can give you having been there done that it would be for you to *allow* your Mom to carry on her last days as she sees fit even if you don't agree with her choices. Forgive her weaknesses because denial is usually incredible fear.

    I am so sorry for both of you.

  15. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    This is what I'm afraid of... her being so far in denial as to think this will all just go away; and her spiraling out of control even further emotionally. I'm also concerned for my brother who will most likely bear the brunt of emotions as her options and lifestyle slip away. She's gets mean when she's cornered. I truly don't begrudge her the smoking at this point, I know it's a habit that brings her comfort.
  16. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    TM, those are your worries but are not reality at this point. Try to keep those thoughts at bay because the only person they affect is you.

    The truth is, she could spiral out of control...or maybe she won't. Hopefully, she will go through the 7 steps to acceptance with not too much collateral damage. Hopefully.

    If you are worried that your brother might take the hit, then I would suggest that you soldier with your brother now before that happens to help prepare him for the possible repercussions. I don't know how close you and your brother are. If you are and you are lucky, this time will cement your relationship; if you are not, this common (and dreadful) experience might provide common ground for a future relationship. Regardless, I can promise you that the next few months and how everyone behaves during them will stay with you the rest of your life.

  17. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    TM, just to add to the insights that have been shared already, when you are a child of a mother who is not predictable or reasonable in her reactions to extreme stress we tend to anticipate and plan so that we can compensate for their lack of control by being calm and controlled. We don't worry as much as we plan.

    Drama is something that we children of hysterical type parents tend to abhor and reject. We aren't ever going to change them and tend to just try to minimize the collateral damage.

    I am dealing with a less dramatic situation of a mom who has terminal cardiac disease. She does go into denial so she can just live her life as she has always done and has no intention of making any plans. This denial leaves the responsibility of planning on someone else. They have lived their lives this way and has no concern about how this will affect those who care for them will be.