• How do I deal with my mom who has breast cancer, not wanting to hear any bad news? I want to help her but she fights the doctor and me

    Asked by Suehendo on Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    How do I deal with my mom who has breast cancer, not wanting to hear any bad news? I want to help her but she fights the doctor and me

    she says she wants to live

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn (Best Answer!)

      I've been the daughter of the cancer patient and I've been the cancer patient. Please allow her to deal with her illness on her own terms. Respect her need to take in information at the rate she wants it, even if that seems excruciatingly slow and dysfunctional to you. She probably understands more than you realize. The diagnosis is staggering and everyone reacts differently, especially people in different generations. Ultimately, my mother made good treatment decisions for herself. When I was diagnosed myself years later I better understood how paralyzed she must have felt initially.

      over 7 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Ask your mother. She is by far the best one and the only one to tell you how she wants this situation handled. If you were actually helping her, she would not be fighting you. So find out what help she needs, not what help you want to give her.

      over 7 years ago
    • mc3318's Avatar

      My mom was the same (stage 4 colon cancer), and she fought knowing anything right up till her passing. That was definitely one of the most challenging aspects of the situation, and something that still keeps me up. But as wware mentions, I am positive she knew more than she let on, and she was only willing to admit so much to us. The fight is very personal, and you will have to let her choose her own way and support her as much as possible. Good luck, and message me if you need someone to talk to. I know I did during the process, since I couldn't talk to my mom about it.

      over 7 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      When I was first diagnosed, I was well aware of my situation -- it sent me into my own little world apart from everyone -- I refer to it as a "twilight zone" -- even though I was surrounded by family and friends, I felt very alone -- after all, it was me who had cancer -- not them!! I definitely did not want to hear any negative things as I was trying to find some inner strength and hope. I did not want to hear about the friend's mother who died from Breast Cancer -- I wanted to hear about the cousin who is doing great after 20 years!! I remember a lady from our Church Community asking what Grade I was at the very beginning and I had no idea what she was talking about. I tended to play down everything and tell everyone how well I was doing - I did not like people looking at me and talking about me with sympathy. I did not want to hear bad news -- but when there was bad news, I wanted to keep it to myself to give me a chance to digest it and deal with it. Discussing it with others made it a reality that I was not able to deal with yet. Let your mom handle her battle in her own way -- if she wants a positive atmosphere with no talk about bad news, give her that. Be assured that she is well aware and is most likely trying to deal with it the best she can.

      over 7 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I assume your mother is the 78 yr old in your profile and not yourself. At either age, (78 or, well.........depending........where I live a 78 yr old could have a parent who is 90 without raising eyebrows), its a very different decision to make about treatment that may be debilitating over quality of life.

      The most important, and most loving thing you can keep in mind is that this is about her. Yes, she wants to live, but she (as all of us) wants to live well. The thoughts of treatment(s) that may be very hard to deal with for a period of time (and surgery alone is scary to many) to gain a few months, over living a life of quality, even if that is a little shorter, at her age........its often not as easy a decision for the patient as it is for the loved ones.

      I've been through the "loved one who can't understand why I'm not jumping at every treatment possible" scenario. It's not that I don't want to beat this thing. Its that the treatment(s) available don't offer much (very little) pay off in return for the investment and I'm the one who is going to be dealing with the pain, loss of freedom, loss of quality of life, loss of dignity, etc..........not the loved one. The landscape is very different on this side of the fence. You have to let her make her own decision.

      over 7 years ago
    • moonmaiden's Avatar

      It would help if you would be more specific about what sort of bad news your mom doesn't want to hear.
      I can't speak for where your mom may be coming from, as for me, I am horrified to be in this position, and still having a great deal of trouble accepting it. I want to live, but I don't want an expiration stamp, and sometimes I wonder if a prognosis could become a self fulfilling prophecy / expiration stamp. People live beyond prognoses every day, and I am a believer that one's expectations can lead to an expected result. If they don't know what the doctor or family is harboring in the way of expectations, and have none of their own they may well exceed those expectations by not having any.
      I am in the middle of chemo XXX at the moment, and having a great deal of trouble understanding how something that is causing me so much pain and illness is supposed to help me live. Live what? I have no life. I am ill and bald, worried that I will lose my fingernails, too tired to do much of anything, and worried that the chemo will leave lasting effects that will compromise my quality of life in the future. I hardly get out, and hardly do anything anymore, I feel too bad. I don't enjoy things that I would normally enjoy doing, and can't even sit down to a nice meal and take joy in the partaking because everything tastes horrible.
      One of my chemo comrades is in her 70's, and going through chemo for the second time for lymphoma. We were talking about it the other day, and she was wondering aloud as to the value of continuing to treat it in this way. She is in her late 70's after all, and may prefer to come down on the side of having the best quality of life possible for what's left of it over a painful and miserable added quantity of life. I'm only 52 and having such questions my own self, I can easily see her point in light of how old she is. I guess the first thing to ask your mom is what does she mean by "I want to live". Does she mean she wishes to extend the term of her life any way possible for as long as possible, or does that mean she desires a higher quality, if not quantity of life so close to end of a natural lifespan? These are questions you should ask yourself as well, what is important to you, is it important to keep your mom on the planet no matter what, or for her to be happy as possible even if it means you must let her go sooner than you want ? Nobody wants to be left without loving parents at any age, but it is part of the cycle we must learn to accept, like it or not, and your mom is entitled to live on her terms in the best possible way she can. Good luck.

      over 7 years ago
    • CountryGirl's Avatar

      Any cancer diagnosis is a terrible situation. I spent weeks crying and grappling with mortality, stockpiling my resolve. My parents were the last people I wanted to see. I felt especially weak around them. None of us can advise you on conversations to have with your mom. Eventually she will appreciate your patience as she copes with the magnitude of her current situation.

      over 7 years ago

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