My mum has terminal gallbladder cancer, I don't know how to cope

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Hi, I'm 24 years old and my mum (62) was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer last year, she had an operation where they removed all her gall bladder and got rid of all the cancer. She had preventative chemo and 3 days into the treatment had a heart attack so had to stop.

12 months later at her 2nd 6 monthly scan she has now been diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive gallbladder cancer that has spread to the stomach and bowel, some of the liver and small intestine and surrounding lymph nodes.

My mum is the closest thing to me in this life and I don't know how to be or what to do, she's so strong and feels fine and isn't phased by anything that's happening but I feel like my worlds stopped. I'm on autopilot and I feel like an observer throughout life at the moment instead of a partaker, if that makes sense.

It's hard to try and stay positive when you have a terminal diagnoses of someone so close to you. I was hoping someone would have any kind words if anything has helped them through a dark time like this. 

  • Hi  and a very warm welcome to the online community which I hope you'll find is both an informative and supportive place to be.

    I'm really sorry to read that your mum's cancer has returned and I know how stressful a cancer diagnosis can be for the whole family.

    As you know, the online community is divided up into different support groups so I'm going to recommend that you also join and post in the supporting someone with incurable cancer group, as this will give you the chance to discuss your emotions, as well as practical issues, with others who have a loved one living with cancer.

    To join just click on the link I've created which will take you directly there. You can then join and start a new post in the same way as you did here and join in with existing conversations by clicking on 'reply'.

    It would be great if you could pop something about your mum's diagnosis and treatment so far into your profile as it really helps others when replying to you and also when looking for someone on a similar pathway. It also means that you don't have to keep repeating yourself. To do this click on your username and then select 'Profile'. You can amend it at any time and if you're not sure what to write you can take a look at mine by clicking on my username.


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  • Hello

    I am truly sorry to hear of your Mum's diagnosis.  I am in exactly the same position with my Mum and I am finding it very difficult to cope

    My very best wishes 

  • Hey, I'm so sorry to hear about this, I'm right here with you and if you would like to chat about anything with someone who fully understands then I'm here,

    Sending my best wishes straight back

  • Hi, I’m so sorry about your mum and really feel for you. I joined this group when my mum was diagnosed with incurable gall bladder cancer and really needed support. I asked for a call and found it so helpful to be able to talk to someone and ask questions and then felt really supported afterwards. It felt I had someone there willing to listen. Do book a call. It took me a while to be able to ask but I’m so glad I did. I cried all the way through and made to feel that was fine.

    my mum has now died. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh. I get huge comfort from knowing that I was able to care for her, thank her and tell her how much i loved her. As ever, she was more worried about me and my sister than about herself. I tried to reassure her that we’d both be fine and had support around us which seemed to comfort her. I’m not fine but she died feeling it was ok to go.

    i’m a lot older than you (65)  so was lucky to have her so long.

    if it’s any comfort, mum died without much pain as it was really well managed. She was surrounded by family and slipped away peacefully. I dreaded the moment but it was ok and tight for mum.

    I seem to be off loading my own feelings. Apologies. For you, there’s no right way to handle it. Macmillan were really helpful and kind. Just be with your mum as much as you can. I hope you have an employer or tutor that understands that you need time with your mum. 

    I send you love.