Support for my Mom

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Hi there,

I’m writing this as I’m worried about my Mom and looking for some help, tips and a nudge in the write direction.

Around 6 years ago, my Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. She had been struggling with symptoms for around a year before that but the doctors had put it down to menopause. It was only one day when I’d got back from work that she REALLY didn’t seem well so I took her to A&E. It was then she was diagnosed with stage 4 and told if it was left any longer, she may of not been with us today. 

she went through chemo and radiation therapy which paused for a while due to her loosing so much weight. She then had a Stoma, which was then reversed.

Shes been cancer free for a while now. However, the after math is still taking a toll on her. Some of the issues are mentality. She had to leave her job as a teaching assistant, which she loved. She then got a job picking and packing in a warehouse which she was made redundant from last year. During this time her Mom (my Nan) had been diagnosed which cancer. My Mom cared for her until she passed away. Then, her best friend also passed from cancer. I think she’s struggling to cope with what happened to her, what happened to her Mom and Best friend and ‘waking up everyday without purpose’.

Her eating habits also worry me. After the reverse Stoma, she had digestive issues which she didn’t work on. To avoid digestive pain she would avoid eating. The food that she eats isn’t well rounded and nutritious. Maybe once a week and Sunday dinner and then other time is cereal, toast, crisps, chocolate and biscuits. I’m not sure if that’s typical for reverse Stoma patients? But I’d like to get her digestive system a little better as I feel it holds her back (eg she won’t go out for the day as she’s worried she’ll have to go to the loo).

I feel guilty for not seeking support sooner, but Mom is quite stubborn and I’ve had to wait for the right time where I feel she is open to change to amend and support lifestyle chance for her. However, I feel she is at a good place now to perhaps join groups, start therapy, get a nutritionist (if that’s what it takes?).

I’ve been trying to find things online but it’s a bit of a battlefield. So, if possible could people send over any resources that help/ed them as would give me a great starting point.

Thank you in advance all!! You would be helping a very worried daughter Heart

  • Hi  and a warm welcome to the board. It’s great that your mum is still clear from cancer but the recent losses of her mum and friend sound to have brought a lot of emotions back? Have either of you read this paper?

    https://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what.pdf

    Please give the support desk a ring on the number below and they will be able to give you lots of help. A few thoughts to be going on with are

    Is there a Maggie’s support centre at your local hospital

    Is there a local support group. I found out about the one near me from a poster on the local Tesco community board.

    Would she consider some voluntary work. There is a scheme that you can register on to go into schools to provide reading support which might be right up her street

    The bowels are often never the same after a reversal but she still needs to eat. Little and often eg. 5 small meals a day is often recommended. She could experiment with immodium/loperamide taken 30 minutes before eating. Maybe keep a food diary and see if there are trigger foods which she can avoid if going out. Has she got a Macmillan Toilet Card and a Disabled Toilet Key? I’ve attached a link to a Low Residue post as this sort of food is gentle on the bowel and doesn’t contain too much roughage.

     Low Residue Diet


    Hope this helps and I’m sure the support desk will have a few more suggestions too

    Take care

    Karen x

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm