When cancer condemns the carer as well as the patient

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My elderly Mum was told last week she has cancer, which has already spread, after 4 months of constant, chronic pain (caused by an unrelated condition) and three admissions to different hospitals (none of which investigated her problems or diagnosed her properly until I started asking questions about her care).  I'm her only support and an only child.  I have no siblings, children or other family.  I work full time but on minimum wage and am looking after Mum as I live with her in our local authority owned home, which has been our home for over 40 years.  We lost my dad to cancer some years ago and the council will not add me to the tenancy as they say removing my father's name classes as the only occasion where the tenancy can be "handed down" - i.e. to my mother, yet she was a joint tenant with him from the start.  I now face losing my Mum (I'm not daft, I realise that the cancer has spread and we have already been told surgery will not be an option for her so I know now that the clock is ticking).  As the house is in Mum's name, when anything happens to her, I will also lose my home - the only thing that I will have left that I hold dear.  Mum is the only reason I am still here.  When she has gone, which will be in itself the most distressing thing I will ever have to deal with, I will be left, literally,  with nothing.  My age and income prevent me from renting privately or getting a mortgage.  Mum's cancer has effectively not only condemned her, but me as well.  I actually wish I could develop the wretched disease as well so that I know my future will not be something I need to worry about.  I have already decided that should I become incapacitated in any way, I do not want any treatment which would save or prolong my life and have signed an ADRT.  If I am told in the near future that I have any sort of medical condition which requires treatment, I will refuse it.  I cannot even now enjoy whatever time I have left with Mum because my future situation (and I do not intend to sound selfish in anyway) and the fact I will be completely alone after, hangs over me like a toxic cloud. My life effectively ends when hers does.      

  • Hi  and I see it’s your first post so welcome to the Macmillan Community but so sorry to hear about your mum’s diagnosis and the challenges you are dealing with.

    A cancer diagnosis like this in the family can be such a challenging and stressful time but getting support from others who are dealing with the ‘exact same' support challenges can help a lot. So you may benefit from joining and posting in our

    Carers only 


    Supporting someone with incurable cancer

    support groups where you will connect with others navigating the exact same support challenges.

    You may want to get some independent advise about your housing issue so you may find it helpful to call the Macmillan Support Line open 8am-8pm (timings may differ across services) 7 days a week on 0808 808 00 00.

    This service provides cancer information, practical information, emotional support, benefits/financial guidance or just a listening ear.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • Sorry  to hear of your situation.  Have you discussed your housing problem with rhe Macmillan support team?  

  • Unfortunately, there's no point.  I've checked my position with professional legal advice and the Council can evict me once my Mum passes.  I just have to accept that I will lose absolutely everything that ever meant anything to me. I guess that's my reward for working hard all my life, looking after Mum and taking care of our home.