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Just wanted to touch base as a "fellow Highlander" who deserted my homeland for 25 years and came crawling back on my own diagnosis. I have breast cancer with secondaries in my bones, and a pretty dire prognosis. Unlike you, I have no children which I admit makes a big difference to one's outlook and immediate concerns.
But for what it's worth - although I have never been interested in children, I am now finding the company of my nephew and niece (aged 11 and 8) a real godsend! The cancer treatment has rather vaguely annotated effects around the notion of what they (we) call "Chemo Brain", which in a nutshell reduces your concerns and preoccupations to a day-to-day outlook and immediate issues. This is where children can be fabulous. Children are SO clever at being unphazed by unpleasantness; they take things like hair loss and walking around with sticks utterly in their stride and love chatting about the mad things they get up to; hobbies, parties, shcoolwork, etc. I honestly think your kids would much prefer to see Granny in all her glories: they won't forget the fun woman at the wedding. And they have the capability to bring her such joy: after all, they are the great achievement of her life, and yours! Please don't think that you have to over-protect them; their coping mechanisms in this type of situation are much superior to ours.
And don't punish yourself with Calvinistic pangs of "selfishness" and "guilt" - you have demonstrated your lack of selfishness by coming on here and writing your blog. Fact is, you are involved as a close family member, and a lot of things have fallen on you through no fault of your own, or of your mum's. I suggest you get in touch with your mum's Macmillan Nurse (if she hasn't got one, make sure she does; her GP can arrange this). They are the ones for practical and emotional support and valuable advice about "how to live" at times like these, for family as well as patients.
Wishing you all the best; hope you stick around here
Am real sorry to hear of your mums diagnosis, it must be real frightening for you and for her and the rest of your family. I am 49 and also have had lung cancer during this year i was diagnosed in march i had an operation in april then had chemo in june and july this year, I had quite a few side effects but never saw myself as a frail sick woman riddled with cancer, and from what you have said your mum has lung cancer and not elsewhere at the moment. I was very tired but to see my family and friends was such lift for me. There are others too on this site who are going through or been through treatment who you might find helpful to talk to. Three years ago i also had heart probs and had to have a stent put it and also my arteries blocked in my right leg so had to have that cleaned too, so i know how you are feeling that this is another frightening experience for you all. (smoking caused all this for me and i have finally learnt my lesson and dont smoke anymore )
Maybe it would be nice to talk to mum about xmas, she might love it to have you all around and you can be also a great help to her and your father. Being as you are quite away from home you wont be able to go so often so i think its a bit scary what you are going to see, i live in holland and when my family came over they always thought the worst but were pleasantly surprised when they saw me, although i was not well. I think calling the nurse of your mums is a great idea so that you know what you are up against.
On the other side my mother died of lung cancer 6 years ago i was living in holland then too and went over for christmas, which turned out to be her last, i went back in april and helped nurse her for her last ten days and she was frail, but i am so pleased i did that it was tough at the time but i found the strength and now i have happy memories of that christmas, i am just reading gloria honifords book about her daughter, and i found a paragraph a real lesson in life. Memories are what you make them so if you can go with your children and make it a christmas to remember
lots of strength coming your way from holland
It is all a very big shock for you, and of course you will be feeling numb. You do know that time is of the essence to get the most love moving in both directions to stustain you all.
Yes, Christmas is for families. Go to be with her, and take the children. It might be a bit of a quiet Christmas, but I think it will be that way for a lot of people who have lost their jobs too. Enjoy being with her and you will always be glad you did.
Your dad will be glad for some support as well. You mentioned your parents, so I assume he is there too. When I was on Chemo, mine fell on Christmas Eve and New Years' Eve, but I had to go a day late for all the Monday Bank Holidays, so is it really true that she will have chemo on Christmas Day or later in the week?
Has your mother passed any comment on what she wants to happen at Christmas? If your daughters are in their teens, they will be able to be useful decorating the house and helping with the cooking. Maybe you could ask them what they think. Check with your mother first though.
After Chemo she will just be tired, and you can just put her to bed with plenty to drink. (water with the chill off). She will want to get up later for a bit, but it can be worked around.
I hope this helps
Hi sweetheart - I know how frightened you must be on behalf of your Mum, and it is perfectly normal to feel the way you do. I was diagnosed in April of this year as having small cell lung cancer, and bear no resemblence at all to the picture you draw of "a frail, sick woman, riddled with cancer". I have undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy (to the head), which has given me the chance of a longer life, with better quality to that life. You don't know that your Mum couldn't deal with you going to her for Christmas as you usually do, as you don't mention having spoken with her about it. Would she be hurt by the fact if you DIDN'T go? Would you feel terribly guilty afterwards if you DIDN'T go? You have to speak to her sweetheart, and then, if possible do all that you can to go along with whatever she wants. You say your daughters are teenagers; so in actual fact they are old enough to deal with the fact that their grandmother is ill. There are still, I am sure, lots of good times ahead for both you and your Mum, and it would be a shame to miss those times, wouldn't it? We all deal with having , or knowing someone we love has cancer in a million different ways, so our reactions and ways of coping with the knowledge are many and various. No one will judge you for how you feel, but I do think it would be of enormous help to you if you spoke with your Mum and tried to explain your feelings. She's your Mum, who has cancer, but I'm sure she would appreciate you treating her as you always have - with love! Hold on tight to all that you love, with lotsa love kate xxxxxxxx
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