Log in to post a reply
Jul 7, 2019 04:27PM
You have to take care of yourself first. That's the only way that you'll be able to take care of anybody else, both long term and if a short term emergency comes up.
Dealing with a parent's illness is super hard. Can you get a therapist for yourself?
The first thing I'd say is that if this behavior from your mom is consistent with her character, then don't expect it to change. People don't get nicer when dealing with scary illness. It's on you to figure out what you are able to do for her while keeping your good spirits - taking into account the fact that she will not express appreciation.
Her cancer center might have a social worker. I would get her the contact info. Then have a conversation with her where you explain that you are taking a step back, out of respect both to her (she didn't ask you for this) and to yourself. Explain that she can contact the social worker to help coordinate other support. Be clear about what you are willing to help with (e.g., she can contact you in an emergency that requires a trip to the hospital, or she can contact you to help with groceries, or you can contribute $x to whatever service she selects). Be clear that you love her and explain how you will keep in touch (calling every other day and texting every day, or whatever).
Then actually step back.
That said, if her current behavior isn't consistent with her character from before she got sick, I would be wondering if she is dealing with her own depression and anxiety (that would be pretty typical for a breast cancer patient), and you are getting caught in the crossfire. If so, again, the social worker could be a good resource for starting to connect her to mental health support. You should still step back to the extent you need to, to take care of yourself. But do what you can to get her on antidepressants/therapy, and respond to what she is really saying. E.g., saying, "I didn't ask for that might mean, "I'm not worth this", or "I don't see the point of all this effort for my health because I'm sure I'm going to die anyway," or "I want to be independent again," or, "I have no worth if someone else is taking care of me."
Responses can range from, "I love you and I want to do this even if you didn't ask." "You took care of me plenty, now it's my turn for a bit." "When you're better, you owe me laundry." And looking for ways she can feel useful to you know, or express independence or use. Ask her for help with something she can do for you - even if it's just advice you know you'll never use. Could be organizing photos, researching something online, etc.
Hang in there and take care of yourself.
Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9.
9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
10/17/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
12/2/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
12/18/2019 Fareston (toremifene)