Tough times for Manders...

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Some of you may already know this....

So my BF and I have been off and on since Freshman Year of Highschool. I come from and abusive home and my BF's parents took me in and let me live with them the last few years of school. His Mother and I are VERY close. She is basically like a Mother to me. She even calls me her daughter when she introduces me. Well after I graduated Highschool I moved away and didn't see them for many years. I still kept in touch with his Mom, sent her Mothers Day cards etc. Right now, I live about 5 minutes away from her and see her almost daily.

I found out a few weeks ago she has inoperable Lung Cancer that has spread to some lymph nodes. She began radiation and chemo this week. I have been going with her and caring for her at home. There is no one else to help, and it's the least I can do for all the love she has given me. The thing is....I have never been around someone who is ill. I have never even had someone in my family pass away. I get a little bit of anxiety thinking that something bad could happen. When I stay with her we don't talk about cancer at all. We scarpbook, gossip, watch movies etc. We never talk about the illness. We talk about how she feels, but that's it.

I guess my question is what is the best way to help someone going through this? I mean any tips at all would be amazing. I have been researching and reading....but I trust MUT members to tell me the truth.

Oh...also. My BF, her son is in denial. He won't even see her because he is afraid to see her ill. I think he is really hurting inside, but forcing himself to work to get through it all. I don't think it's healthy and his Mom really misses him. How can I get him to face it and deal with it?

Thanks everyone!!

 
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Oh that's always tough. the best thing is really to give her as much quality of life as possible and listen to what she says. I go to visit an old woman who is bed-ridden. She probabaly has a few more years in her, but just visiting and talking about baking bread and the weather and how her garden is doing is enough. If she wants to talk about her health or dying I listen, but I don't ask any prying questions. Really, just visiting and being there is the best thing that any of us can for people that are ill or dying.

Stay strong!!! You're going to have a lot of happy memories.

 
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Oh Manders I'm so sorry
I've never been in this situation, I wish I could offer advice!

 
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I had this whole speech planned out to write to you but the bottom line is there is truly no right way to help someone through a serious illness. You have to take your cues from her. If she brings it up then you listen. Saying something like "we don't have to talk about this but if you need to, I'll listen". Sometimes the person that is sick doesn't bring things up because they are afraid of making other people uncomfortable. letting her know that you love her and you are willing to listen at least gives her the ok to talk about things if she wants. She may never want to, but she'll know it's ok if she does. You are already doing everything else right. Spending time with her now is a gift for both of you and just helping her with the mundane everyday stuff goes a long way. You are a love for doing what you are doing.

About your BF. When my mother in law was her sickest and didn't have long to live, my sister in law never came to see her. She called one time. Her reason was the same. "I can't see my mother like that" It broke my mother in laws heart. You need to gently encourage him to put aside "his" feelings and think about his mothers. She didn't ask for this and she doesn't want it but I can promise that he will regret it terribly if he misses time with her due to his fear. Let him know that it's ok to feel the way he does. He needs to know that it's ok, but he also needs to know that his reason for not going has everything to do with him and nothing to do with her. I don't mean that to sound harsh. I'm a Hospice nurse and I deal with it on a daily basis. I've seen too many people tell me later that they wish they would have spent more time with their loved one. When time is gone, it's gone.

Keep doing exactly what you are doing. I find that the majority of people don't talk about their cancer in everyday conversation. They want to talk about regular stuff. They hear enough about cancer and medical crap from their Doctors and Nurses. They need normal when they are away from it. You're doing fine and as long as you spend time with her then there's nothing better. Big hugs to you, sweetie.

 
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Aw, Manders. Well, I haven't dealt with those types of situation either. So my help may not be the best.

But I guess going about with regular life sounds like the best solution, imo.

Just, you never know when it's your time to go - and God Forbid she ever leaves you guys and gets well. So, basically... live out life. Maybe like, if the chemo doesnt tire her so much, maybe taking some vacation getaways, travel, cruiselines. Whatever is affordable. Make the time count and I guess keeping her mind off her cancer is good. Dwelling on something brings out depression and wasting away being sad is boo. My dad has been like that and it's depressing for me to see him depressed all the time.

Anyway, as for the BF.... I know we all have different ways of dwelling with things. Like my dad, he keeps busy so he won't have to think about it either. I don't know - I think a family trip somewhere would be good and open up a discussion.... but that I am unsure of how you should pursue it if that doesnt work. Sorry if it ain't much help.

Hope it all goes well for you all, Manders. Love ya girl.

 
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Honestly, from what I've learned, I think the best thing is to just be there for them. I'd like to say carry on as though she's not even sick, but I'm sure it can be hard. I've never been in such a situation, but I do know how hard it is given what Cyera's godmother told me when her mother AND brother were both dealing cancer together. It's never easy, but I'd honestly carry on as though each day is your last, and make sure you spend it together without focusing on how sick she may or may not be. That's truly all I can think to say.

I hope your BF comes out of his denial soon, and I'm sure he will. Hopefully it doesn't end up being a case of "waiting too long." I don't know the best way to help him deal with it, but maybe within the next bit of time, he'll have his own "breakthrough" and come to terms with it all.

I really wish I had some wise things to say, but alas, I don't. I truly hope things get better for you, and you know everyone here at MuT is right here when you need us!


 
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I think what you are doing is awesome. Just having you there means a great deal to her.

 
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Thank You everyone! Especially Kelly....your advice was perfect.

Today at chemo I opened all my swap and ebay packages. All of the chemo patients and nurses were laughing hysterically at these lashes I bought from Hong Kong. They are huge lashes with glitter stars on them. They made me promise to wear them during the next session. I told them I was going bring lashes for everyone. They loved that idea!!

I guess I have had a little experience with this....I have had clients that went through cancer and chemo. They would visit me at I would make them up and we would joke and laugh. It really helped alot...so that's what I'll do. I also went out and bought a bunch of cute scarves. When we are together I am going to wear a cute scarf on my hair too....I think that will help her feel more comfortable. I printed out a stack of "ways to tie head scarves" we went through them and we're going to practice.

Thanks again everyone!!

 
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manders, at the risk of sounding corny...follow your heart...i was gonna tell you that before i read the last post, but after reading it i see you allready have. im in experience, you dont need to treat the person like theyre going to break, but just...enjoy them while you can. i know its not a real solution but the end will come eventually, like it will foreveryone, and its best to take advantage of her. i suppose you should continue doing what your doing and know that shes prolly not about to dissapear in a second. my grandfather was diagnosed with lukemia and we got to enjoy him for 2 years and take advantage of the time we had left. im so happy that i did that,

my bf's grandpa just passed away a few weeks ago and in the beggining i stressed the importance of just being with his grandfather and helping him out and laughing with him, the day of the funeral he thanked me so sincerely for pushing him in the right direction. i think you should go with your bf and do similar things with him mom that youd do it he wasn't around, just to show him that you can still do the same stuff with her. im sure he's scared and maybe it will help to see you guys carring on as normal.

i dotn know if this helped but its all i could offer you, that and a hug!

if you need anything im here for you love!

xo

 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this babydoll I've never had anyone that I'm very very close with pass away either, there's really no advice that I can give you. I've been with people I'm close with when they're dealing with loss and all I can do is hold them and listen to them. It's almost impossible to find the perfect words to say, so you have to just be there and love them. As far as helping HER get through it, I have no idea, just be there for her to help make her days a little brighter and so she knows how much she is loved.

Im so sorry sweetie.

 
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Originally Posted by BeneBaby /img/forum/go_quote.gif Thank You everyone! Especially Kelly....your advice was perfect.
Today at chemo I opened all my swap and ebay packages. All of the chemo patients and nurses were laughing hysterically at these lashes I bought from Hong Kong. They are huge lashes with glitter stars on them. They made me promise to wear them during the next session. I told them I was going bring lashes for everyone. They loved that idea!!

I guess I have had a little experience with this....I have had clients that went through cancer and chemo. They would visit me at I would make them up and we would joke and laugh. It really helped alot...so that's what I'll do. I also went out and bought a bunch of cute scarves. When we are together I am going to wear a cute scarf on my hair too....I think that will help her feel more comfortable. I printed out a stack of "ways to tie head scarves" we went through them and we're going to practice.

Thanks again everyone!!

Now that is an awesome idea.............
 
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Amanda, I am so sorry to hear this. I know you are an angel to your bf's mom. Really. Just being there, and taking her mind off of things makes a world of difference. I've had two of the closest people in my life lose their battle with cancer.

My grandma, who was my best friend (and i'm not at all exaggerating when i say that) had ovarian cancer. I will NEVER forget my grandma had a checkup one day, and the doctors found a tumor the size of an extra large grapefruit on her ovary. She had a biopsy, and the doctor's knew it was cancer in the worst stage. So instead of telling her... they told all of us. Her doctor told my grandfather, my mom, my aunt, and two uncles, BEFORE telling my grandmother. I think that's against the law to be honest, but I'm not sure. So anyway, we knew she had terminal cancer, and she didn't have long to live. My family dreaded telling her, because she was our life...the rock in our family... and she was so young. (64)

So the night before her appointment (a week later) she told me she had a big appointment and she would find out if her cancer was cureable. She gave me a huge kiss and a hug, and told me not to worry too much. Little did she know I knew she was dying of cancer. I hugged her and when I did, I hugged her in a way so she couln't see my face... because there were tears streaming down my face. I hugged her tight for five minutes, and would not let go. It was the last memory I have of my grandmother really. My family ended up telling her before she went to the appointment. Within two weeks she got so sick and was hospitalized. She never wanted me to see her like that because she thought I couldn't handle it. I really couldn't, but I didn't let her know that. I visited her every other day. I would've visited every day, but I was in college, and her only wish was to see me make dean's list... so she wouldn't let me take a leave at school. My gran passed away a week later. It wasn't even a month after we all found out. I ended up making dean's list a month later (my first time at that moment in my life). I wish I would've done it before she died, but she knows.

My life will never be the same without her. I always went to her for advice, and I feel lost without her... six years later.

My grandpa (her husband) passed from cancer this year. I'm so happy he got to see my son though...

I don't mean to make you sad with my story, but I just want to let you know that you are doing EVERYTHING by just being there for her. I mean, you're taking her mind off of everything and spending quality time with her by watching movies, scrapbooking etc. Spend every minute you can with her, and please urge your bf to visit her more, because she needs him, and he needs to see her. He will regret it if something happens to her, and he didn't get to see her that much. I felt the same way about not wanting to see my gran ill, but then you think of all the good times spent together, how that person was there for you... it made me feel like I abandoning her by not seeing her. It will be hard, that is for sure. Like I said though... there will be so many "what if's" if he doesn't spend the time with her.

There is still hope for your bf's mom with the chemo though, right? I hope so.

I already said a prayer for your bf's mom., (I remember you mentioned it before) but I will say many more. For you too. People like you are hard to find, you're like an angel. Sorry for my long post.

::hugs:::

 

Nox

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'Manda, I think you're handling it is very well, you're being a very good daughter to her. Your bf will come around, different people will handle stressful events like this differently. However, I might add that it will be far less stressful for him to see her sooner rather than later so that he will see a more gradual change in her appearance (if there is any) and not a big "before" and "after" shocker.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I will say follow your heart. A long time from now, whatever the outcome, you will look back on this and be amazed at how you reached down and pulled out the courage and compassion you didn't know you had.

Also, your 'Mother' may be ill and it may be inoperable, but that doesn't mean that it can't be managed, heck, her quality of life may be holding steady and high for a long time yet to come and beyond.

 
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Nicole, your story really touched me. I know that you Gran is proud of you!!

Everyone's advice has be invalubale to me. Every one of you said something that helped. Thank You soooo much!

I'll keep you posted.

 
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you are doing the very best you can do in such a situation. i do not know what to tell you to do. You may need to tell your man to see her more because ignoring something won't make it go away, and she may REALLY need him for support. It's hard to be the strong one, the most emotionally honest one, hun. I tip my hat to you. You are being brave and very very good. She really needs you right now!

 
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just wanted to add my best wishes and that my thoughts are with you. You're doing a wonderful job and I know that your bf's mother can only love you even more for it.

I dont have any experience with this either but I'm really impressed with how you've been handling it. I think you can be imensely proud of yourself. Huggles

 
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Originally Posted by BeneBaby /img/forum/go_quote.gif Thank You everyone! Especially Kelly....your advice was perfect.
Today at chemo I opened all my swap and ebay packages. All of the chemo patients and nurses were laughing hysterically at these lashes I bought from Hong Kong. They are huge lashes with glitter stars on them. They made me promise to wear them during the next session. I told them I was going bring lashes for everyone. They loved that idea!!

I guess I have had a little experience with this....I have had clients that went through cancer and chemo. They would visit me at I would make them up and we would joke and laugh. It really helped alot...so that's what I'll do. I also went out and bought a bunch of cute scarves. When we are together I am going to wear a cute scarf on my hair too....I think that will help her feel more comfortable. I printed out a stack of "ways to tie head scarves" we went through them and we're going to practice.

Thanks again everyone!!

Amanda, that sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I think you are doing everything right when it comes to spending time with her and keeping her happy. I'm sure she really appreciates all that your doing and loves you for it.
I've been around sick grandpartents who were hospitalized. The first time I saw my grandfather in the hospital ( I think I was about 12 years old) I couldn't stop crying, he had gotten so weak and looked so helpless. I wished I could do something to make him better. He has 4 kids (one of which is my mom) and they would all take turns staying with him in the hospital, I think the olny time he was left alone was during the night. I think that gave him a lot of comfort, knowing his family was always there by his side.

About your boyfriend, keep reminding him about how much his mom misses him and needs him. When they are together, they don't have to talk about her illness, but I think just having him there will make her feel better.

**Lots of Hugs to you, Sweetie**

 
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I´ve been through something similiar. My brother (my only sibling and my very best friend at the same time) was diagnosed with leukaemia at age 15 and was at the hospital for an entire year, receiving chemotherapy. I learned a lot from that experience since I saw him at his worst and I saw what effect it has on me and my family.

A lot of times you think you HAVE to be strong for the sick person. That´s what my mom did, she never let my brother see or feel how miserable she is. She stayed with him, living close to the hospital, cried herself to sleep every night and lost a bunch of weight due to her sadness. And she didn´t tell anyone about it!

My brother on the other hand was the strongest of us all. Sometimes very ill people find an immense amount of strength within them. You´d be amazed how strong they can be, it´s like they wanna be strong and positive so that their loved ones feel better.

I just told you this to say that it´s only human to feel like you can´t handle the situation, but I feel like you´re doing a GREAT job already. Being so positive and trying to cheer people up is the best you can do. And if she wants to talk about her illness, she will. But then again a lot of cancer patients are in denial as well...everyone is just different

It´s still really important that your bf gets a grip of the seriousness of the situation. In the worst case he might miss out on a lot of quality time with his mom in case she doesn´t make it through, and he would regret that for the rest of his life. My dad was in denial when his mom died a slow and painful death of pancreatic cancer, he also pretty much refused to see her in her worst state towards the end. He never talks about it, but I`m sure it he feels guilty about it now.

Maybe you have to make it clear to your bf very bluntly that his mom needs him right now! Sure it will be hard for him, but she´s the one who´s sick and that´s reality.

Good luck with everything, your "mom" is very very lucky to have you.

 
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Amanda, what you are doing is terrific and I'm sure your MIL is very pleased that you are there for her. I agree with what Kelly said here...

there is truly no right way to help someone through a serious illness. You have to take your cues from her. If she brings it up then you listen. Saying something like "we don't have to talk about this but if you need to' date=' I'll listen". Sometimes the person that is sick doesn't bring things up because they are afraid of making other people uncomfortable. letting her know that you love her and you are willing to listen at least gives her the ok to talk about things if she wants. She may never want to, but she'll know it's ok if she does
I use to work as a health care aid with elderly people. A few of my clients had cancer. It is never easy but I found that interacting and doing activities with them helps keep the spirits up.

You and your MIL are in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs to you.
 
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I'm sorry you and your almost mom-in-law are going through this. I don't have any advice because I have never experienced anything like this at all. I think it is great for you to be there for her, and I hope your bf comes around and decides to spend time with her because you just never know. Just know that I, and and everyone else on here are thinking about you and sending positivevibes your way. Good luck hun!

 

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