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Topic: Am I doing my best to support my mom?

Forum: Caring for Someone with Breast cancer —

A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.

Posted on: Oct 11, 2015 05:12PM

shootingstar930 wrote:

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer this past summer. She kept it from us until she knew all the details. My mom is a saint. Always thinking of everyone else first. It breaks my heart that she didn't come to me first thing. She didn't want to stress us out. My family has been busy the past few months.. cousins having babies, and my cousin who is really like a brother got in a car accident months ago and is still going through surgeries/procedures etc.. I let my own work & stress & moving & everything get to me over the summer -All the "stressors" I made a big deal of and let affect me melted away and seemed silly once my mom told me. I instantly gained an enormous amount of perspective.

When my mom broke the shocking news, she told me every detail available to her (which was a lot because she works at the hospital treating her for 20 years now). She knows the system, staff, doctors and diagnosis seemingly inside out. I'm playing catch up trying to take in all of the information, treatment, side effects etc.

My mom had a total mastectomy less than 2 weeks after she delivered the news. Recovery from surgery was a rough time. It was tough to see my mom in so much pain. There have been a lot of emotional times for the whole family. My dad has been great support, but he doesn't know a lot of medical information. My mom has shared a lot with my sister and I -as girls (help showering, dressing post surgery, emotional discussions, Netflix binge watching). My sister went off as a freshman in college just after surgery.

For 2 years I lived in a different city while working full time. I wasn't happy being away from my large family and had an epiphany to move home before I even knew about my mom having breast cancer. Miracle right? I thank God for the way this all worked out. I honestly feel it was all meant to be.

After the news, I chose to cut down my full time work status in half. I felt I needed to be there for my mom and am so thankful I have the option and time to be there for her. I hate being an hour from home at work if she needs something. I want to be there for all the appointments/needs and such so my dad can focus on work. Also to be honest, I wasn't sure I could handle working full time with everything when I was already in a stressed out state. It has been such a relief to cut back on work. Just a few weeks has allowed me to take a step back (to an extent obviously) and be there for my mom.

On my 23rd birthday, my mom and I went to the oncologist hoping for the final answer of NO chemo. We had been waiting the entire month for the delayed results (causing much stress to my mom who just wanted a plan). Sadly, despite my optimism (best birthday present answer?) we got the news that she needed chemo. The break time from surgery up to the chemo news had me feeling better- almost as if we were in the clear & making head way. The chemo news was like a slap in the face and a reality check that we were still very much in this cancer fight. I was so upset but obviously hid it from my mom, who was relieved to have a plan and stated "it is what it is". It was really hard for me to accept at first and I couldn't stop the overwhelming thoughts and picturing my mom having to go through chemo. I didn't want to see her suffer physically or emotionally anymore. I wanted to be the patient instead of her. My mom has been great and in fine spirits. She has her moments, but overall she has a positive vibe about the whole thing. She feels blessed after all she has seen with her patients. I look up to my mom so much.

My mom is still pretty active even though chemo started last week. She still does some laundry and lots of cooking. I do know her condition may very well worsen though, seeing as we are only not a full week in. Since I have so much time off work, I am with her most days keeping her company and trying to say on top of dishes and housework so she doesn't have to worry about a mess. I do feel lazy not working full time though. How much can I do for my mom besides attend her appointments and make sure the dishes and house work is done? I think a lot of my cutting back from work was also for my own emotional health, and not only because of my mom. We still have 12 weeks of chemo ahead and 2 more surgeries once she can get her expander out and can have reconstruction. I know me being available is helpful around the house/with appointments and for emotional support for my mom. I guess my question is, is my mom going to get sick of me being around and thinking I should be working more again?

I'm sorry for the long story. However it does feel good to get it all out. It has been an emotional roller coaster. This whole breast cancer thing has been shocking and all so new once it hits home and happens to you. I am so blessed for my family and friends and am trying to stay positive! But I'm sure a lot of you know that despite being thankful, this cancer thing can still play head games. Any support or advice would be wonderful. I want to do everything I can for my family right now.

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Oct 11, 2015 07:50PM Moderators wrote:

Dear Shootingstar, We are sorry about your mom's cancer but glad that you reached out here. Everyone in a family is impacted by a loved one's cancer so it is good to reach out for support for yourself. While you are waiting for others to respond check out this link to our website that features other stories from Caregivers. Perhaps a conversation with your mom about what she wants from you on-going would be helpful for both of you as you move through the months of chemotherapy. Keep us posted and stay connected here. The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Oct 13, 2015 01:01PM MelanieBC wrote:

Shootingstar, I am sorry that your mom is going through this. I know exactly how you feel as I am very close with my mom and she also has breast cancer.

She had her mastectomy in September and is now waiting to start her chemo in a few weeks and then she will have radiation and hormone therapy as well. It is such a long road with many bumps and obstacles.

It is such a good thing that you can be around to help out your mom. I was off for 6 weeks as I had surgery when my mom was diagnosed and was a big help taking her to and from appointments. I am back to work now but wish I was still with her.

Hope things get easier.


Hugs.

Caregiver to my Mother who was diagnosed on August 27, 2015. Together, we will fight the battle against Breast Cancer! Dx 8/27/2015, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 22/33 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/11/2015 Chemotherapy 11/6/2015 Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 4/1/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Oct 13, 2015 04:31PM Jumpship wrote:

Shooting Star-What a blessing you are! I have a teenage girl and a mom, both uninvolved. While help with the daily stuff like laundry and clean bathrooms is key, and going to appointments is good, Netflix down time with a loved one is so important! I'm so glad you are there for the mundane things too. Take time for you too away from the cancer. I think it's hard being a woman and knowing a family cancer has had breast cancer. I waited and wondered for 35 years and now it's my turn. I'm trying my best to be upbeat for my girls and not have them panic like me. As a BC patient I want to say thanks to you for being there for your mom.

Negative for 16 of 17 gene markers. Positive for NBN-marker of unknown significance. Dx 7/2/2014, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 9/29/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Targeted Therapy 11/20/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 11/20/2014 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)

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