Bereaved family and friends

For anyone who has lost a family member or friend to cancer to share their feelings and support one another.

Happened so quickly

SH27
Posted by

Hi everyone. My mum was diagnosed with anal cancer in July 2019 after a biopsy on what was a suspected haemorrhoid. During the CT and MRI scans they found that it had spread to her liver and lungs and that any treatment would be palliative. It was then decided on the 7th August by the oncologist that she was too ill for any treatment at all which was hard to understand as she always looked so much healthier than she must have been. She passed away at age 56 on 22nd September 2019 (5 days before my 26th birthday) so about 9 weeks between diagnosis and death. I’m still struggling to get my head round this as she was such a healthy person though we were told many times she was much more ill than she looked. I’m posting here as I haven’t heard of anything similar or relatable on any posts yet. 

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi  and welcome to the online community

Firstly, can I express my condolences on the passing of your mum. I can understand that it must be very hard to come to terms with how quickly it all happened.

I think, if I've read your post correctly, that you're looking to chat to others who have had someone pass away from anal cancer this quickly. You could use the search facility in this group to see if you can find previous posts which mention this.

Have you sat down and had a chat with any of your mum's team at the hospital as they may be able to help you understand what happened and why it happened so quickly?

Sending a supportive ((hug))

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

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KellyW2302
Posted by

Hi there,

Firstly I want to say I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my mum on 7th October this year. I’m 29. So I can understand and relate to your pain as my mum was only diagnosed with gallbladder cancer on 21st August. 

My mum had had no symptoms whatsoever until about 5 weeks or so before she was diagnosed. She suddenly began suffering with severe pain to her stomach area. She was back and forth to the doctors until she was admitted on 19th August where they ran tests and found out she had advanced cancer. She became quite poorly in herself as she then developed jaundice. She went on holiday on 31st August, returning after 2 weeks very jaundiced and unwell. She went into hospital the following Tuesday for stents to be fitted in her bile ducts. After that she seemed to make some improvements. She said how her pain was much less and she felt more well in herself. She returned home on the Friday. The Tuesday of the next week she went to Christie’s for her initial consult and they said she couldn’t have treatment at that time as she was too unwell and to return in 3 weeks. She didn’t make that second appointment as she passed less than 2 weeks later. 

She went into hospital on 26th September and she never came home. 

So I know exactly where you’re coming from. I think back to 3 months ago ... my mum to the best of our knowledge was healthy and happy. She loved her job, had a holiday she was looking forward to and already talking about Christmas plans. She was excited about me going to Amsterdam because she wanted to know all about Ann franks house (I was meant to go on 1st October but I didn’t in the end because it was so close to the end I cancelled). If someone had said then that I’ll lose my mum within 3 months I’d have laughed in their face. 

It’s shocking and surreal thinking about the timeline and the short time between diagnosis and her passing. It doesn’t feel like that shock has gone yet. And it only adds to the pain as there was no preparation for us. 

I hope my story, or the one of my mums brief battle, brings some comfort that you’re not alone. You’re welcome to message me if you would like. But keep your chin up. That’s what my mum would always say. Talk about your mum and remember the best times. Laugh. Cry when you need to. And know that you’re not alone. 

All my love 

Kelly 

x

Mizz
Posted by

Hi SH27,

I feel very similar to you and KellyW2302... My mum went to the GP with a cough on 4th September 2019, was treated for a chest infection. It got worse and was asked to go to a&e. The consultant asked her to go for scans, the radiographer said she didn't need a scan. She went back to the GP and the a&e consultant who admitted her to get the scans done. She was diagnosed with lung cancer which had spread to the liver and kidneys. She died 6 days later on 7th October aged 60. (I'm 31.)

I'm heartbroken, angry and so frustrated. I don't understand how this could happen to her. She never smoked, she walked places, didn't drink, ate healthier than most.... It seems so unfair and the grief is unreal because it's mixed in with a complete confusion and shock. How am I organising my mum's funeral now? It's not right.

I'm so sorry this has happened to you both, and at young ages too. One thing I have found is talking to my friends that have lost their mum/sister/dad/brother has really helped me not to feel alone in this, and that they understand the grief. So this thread, could be a very important part of our grieving and understanding process. I also think it's important to understand the sheer trauma that comes from losing an apparently healthy parent so quickly. We are likely to be messed up for a long while...

Sending so much love to you both xx

Karrieann
Posted by

So sorry for you all . My loss is similar.

My lovely dad who was 67 was diagnosed 21/11/18with lung cancer and passed away 28/11/18 He was actually in work 2 weeks before! I am still finding it so hard ( despite 3 months grief counselling) but one thing I am sure of - despite his quick passing and our shock it’s the best thing for him. I read so many stories of suffering and dashed hope on here . I can only say this now after near a year. 

Love to you all

Look after yourselves xx

SH27
Posted by

Hello All,

Sorry I have just seen all the replies to the thread. I am so sorry for you all for your losses. Although it is almost inevitable that we would have to deal with the loss of a parent it’s not expected at such a young age. It is such a hard thing to get your head around. Mum was working still in June right up until the week before her biopsy and was still technically just signed off sick at the time she died. 

I felt like I was doing ok and looking at photos helped and planning the funeral brought me some comfort knowing it could be as beautiful as possible for her. Now that’s all over and I’m facing the reality of things like going back to work. I was in the process of moving out of my parents house and in with my boyfriend but I’m putting that off a bit as I feel awful that what not long ago was a full family home would be just my dad left here. My older brother is expecting his first baby with his girlfriend next year which would have been mums first grandchild. I feel like I’m also grieving for the memories we will never get to make. 

I think you are right about the suffering Karrieann. Although I would have done anything to carry on caring for mum and to spend more time with her she definitely wasn’t living her best life during the last few weeks of it. 

sorry that this post seems like I’ve made it all about me and my problems. I really am so sorry for you all I wish it’s something that you did not have to deal with. 

Sending you all love, hugs and strength xxx

Mizz
Posted by

SH27, this is the perfect place to talk about your story if you need or want to, so please don't apologize. 

I hear you on the funeral front. The first few weeks, I was distraught but could keep occupied dealing with all the logistical things that happen when someone dies, and kind of focus my grief whilst looking at photos or cards that people sent if that makes sense? Mum's funeral happened on Thursday - such a whirlwind, but a beautiful service attended by lots of people. The last two days I've felt so dazed and even more sad. It's like I cry, be dazed, nap, cry and start the cycle again. I still feel like I'm in a nightmare. 

Are your work being good to you, and supportive? It's not likely to be good for them if you go back too soon, so try and meet up with your boss if you can and organise a helpful way for you to return (maybe a little later on or a phased return?) 

Please give yourself time with all of your decisions. Acknowledge and allow the feelings you have and don't put pressure on yourself. This is a massive and horrific change in your life that will need a lot of adjusting to. It will be crazy painful - we're in it with you, so holla whenever xx

SH27
Posted by

Mizz - I’m glad your mum had a beautiful send off that lots of people attended. I was lucky enough to have the same and I don’t know about you but it made me so proud that others loved my mum dearly too. 


I had 5 weeks off work in total, the first week was bereavement leave given by work, then I went to the gp and was signed off for 3 weeks, followed by a weeks annual leave as I was actually supposed to be away on holiday which I was lucky enough to get a full refund for. My first day back was today - everyone was lovely and happy to see me though I had no formal return to work discussion or discussion whether I needed any adjustments etc. 


I agree with you about the cycle of napping and crying - I think grief can be exhausting, I hope you have managed to have some relief from it. The other day I unintentionally came across the Mother’s Day cards that myself and my brother had bought for mum this year and broke down, she didn’t even know she was ill at this point she just liked to hold on to things.

I know it isn’t for everyone but I’m going to get mums ashes turned into a necklace so she can come everywhere with me.  Her favourite place was New York and I’m going next year so will take her with me!

Sending lots of love and hugs, take it one day at a time xxx

Essjay88
Posted by

Hi SH27, first of all I am so so sorry, your story actually sounds so similar to mine.

My mom was suffering with chest pains , like that from a chest infection but no cough, she has always been very healthy and vigilant with any health concerns so went into A&e, after a scan it revealed patches on liver and after further tests and biopsies revealed she had multiple secondary tumours on her liver as a result of bowel cancer. It just didn’t make sense, 2 weeks earlier she has just been travelling around India with my Dad on a holiday!

She too was given 2 rounds of chemotherapy and told this would be palliative, through the 2nd round she started to gain a lot of fluid in the abdomen and become uncomfortable, an emergency scan revealed the cancer has spread rapidly and no further treatment would be beneficial, 8 days after this she died. 11 weeks from diagnosis, she was 54 and I was 29, my brother 27, it was the most brutal and saddening experience of my life. I am 18 months on and can now accept what happened, but it’s taken a long time. 

i find real comfort in talking about things and would be happy to have a chat if you feel up to it. It’s so shocking how cancer can take a hold so rapidly in some people, healthy people. 

sending you lots of love and strength

SH27
Posted by

Hi Essjay88,

I’m also so sorry about your mum. I agree our stories do sound similar. I have just read the blog that you posted a link to on another thread and I can relate to a lot of the feelings you mentioned. I found the part about remembering the happy times reassuring as although I have happy thoughts and memories and the warm fuzzy feelings when I think about mum I also spend a lot of time thinking about the last few days and weeks of her life wishing things could have been different for her. 

I really do agree as well that there probably is nothing quite like a daughter losing her mum in her 20s. I feel like I’m just going through the motions day to day hoping it will start to get easier in time.

Sending lots of love and hugs and thank you for posting the wonderful blog I think I will continue to go back and read it again in future xxx

Mizz
Posted by

Hey SH27,

I started back at work this week after 5 weeks off... I wanted to check in and see how it has been going for you being back?

I've had mad exhaustion and anxiety resulting in splitting headaches which hasn't been too fun, but getting back to a bit of reality has seemed quite helpful.

Hope your healing little by little xx