• It's been 10 months since my mom's diagnosis, and I still don't know how to cope.

    Asked by misha41510 on Saturday, October 29, 2011

    It's been 10 months since my mom's diagnosis, and I still don't know how to cope.

    I was 18 years old and had just started my second semester of college when my mom was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (since then the diagnosis has been changed to Gliosarcoma). I was studying at a theater conservatory in Chicago, but I decided to drop out and move back home to California to be with my mom because the prognosis for Gliobastomas are not very optimistic. Since then I have continued my education at first a local community college and now a local liberal arts college.
    The past 10 months have been incredibly difficult. How am I supposed to handle being a college student and having a mom with terminal cancer?
    Like any other 19 year old, I want to explore the world and discover myself. But there are people telling me I need to put my mom first and stay home to take care of her and the household. Am I a bad daughter because I moved out of my parents' house again only 5 months after the diagnosis? I don't think so.
    Is there anybody else going a similar situation?

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • Renavych's Avatar

      I think you did the right thing to come back to CA to be closer. Even @ your boyfriends you can still visit on weekends. Don't
      forget your father also needs support. He is probably feeling very helpless and frustrated. But "life" continues and I don't think your mother wants you to suffer unnecessarily. Do what is in your power to do, but don't stop living.
      My mother got diagnosed when I was 22 and in the middle of my long planned [yrs] tour of Europe & the SSR etc. It wasn't just a vacation, but a much needed break from my parents and a major life decision making point for me. But I could not continue knowing how sick she was. After she died I went abroad again. It wasn't the same, but I was very glad to be with her the last 1/2 yr. No doubt about it. No regrets.
      In a situation like this, you need to keep your sanity. If you were working you wouldn't stop would you? Try to find a reasonable balance between your needs, your fathers and your mothers. Moral and loving support is more important than cleaning the house. Are you the only child?
      Also when people get sick sometimes they get more controlling because their life is going out of control. And children are not very patient are they? As your mothers maturity level goes down yours needs to go up.
      Study the book on dying by Helen Kubler-Ross. It will help you a lot.
      You're studying theater? Have you noticed reality sucks?
      The Asians have it right. Life is all about balance.
      My best wishes

      almost 9 years ago
    • Janice's Avatar

      It is good that you went home to California. It is even better that you are continuing your education and that you moved out. I don't know whether I could have moved back in with my parents for 5 months - you did great. As a mother with cancer myself, I don't want my children to change their lives where they miss out on things. I'm at the 2nd fight for 7 years now. All a mother wants is for her child to be happy. By not being in your parents' house all the time you will be better able to handle things. Your parents don't have to put on the "brave front", which, believe me, is exhausting. If you can't make it over one day, don't beat yourself up. A phone call of support means the world. Irena gives good advice on many levels. If your parents are into keeping the house clean, the American Cancer Society can help. Give them a call. And don't forget your Dad - he is living it day in and day out. Take him out to dinner or bring their favorite take-out. If your mother gets more controlling, don't take anything personally. This is very hard for you. Maybe there is a support group in your area. I love them, but my husband won't go for anything! You are doing fine. It is OK to feel overwhelmed and sad sometimes. Keep up the good work.

      almost 9 years ago
    • misha41510's Avatar

      Thank you both so much for your messages of support. They really mean a lot to me. I feel like I've been desperately looking for anyone who's in a similar situation as myself. I just don't want to feel like I'm going through this alone.
      I have a younger sister who has just started high school this year. She seems to have been handling the whole situation differently from myself. As far as I can tell, she mostly avoids the whole thing and spends a lot of time with her friends or doing school work. She doesn't avoid my mom, but she avoids thinking about the seriousness of the situation. To say that I'm concerned about her is an understatement.
      I know she's only 5 years younger than me, but because she avoids talking to me about our mom, I feel like she and I are not on the same level in how we're handling this. Feeling alone in this is terrible. I've considered trying to find other students at my college who might be going through a similar thing, but I think it's a lot more comforting to hear the stories of people who have already gone through it. Thank you so much.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Fusionera's Avatar

      Dear Misha,

      I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I am a patient myself, but I lost my mother to metastatic breast cancer when I was 10, the summer between my 4th and 5th grade years. In 5th grade I continued to be a straight A student and didn't look back (this was my way of coping, much like your sister is doing). In 6th grade I crashed hard. It took me until the latter part of 7th grade for me to really get back on my feet. I strongly recommend that you help your sister find counseling- someone who will listen to her concerns about her mother's illness and about her own life. I know her friends are there for her too but she may appreciate a professional to help along this journey as well.

      You may want to contact your local Hospice for counseling information or go to www.braintumor.org. The National Brain Tumor Society has fantastic resources all over the country.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Psalm18_2's Avatar

      I am seeing this in my in laws. They're reluctant to put their lives on hold too. Hopefully you are using outside sources like Home Health Care, Pallitive or Hospice care, Elder Services or any other services offered in your area. This helps take some stress of you and your family by letting others do some care-taking.

      almost 9 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      As a mom with kids who were at opposite ends of the world (literally - northern India and Washington State; I'm in NY) when I was diagnosed, I know that I wanted them to continue their lives. They both came and spent time, and helped care for me, but then continued with their lives. I'm fortunate in that I now have a very good prognosis, but I know that regardless of my prognosis, I wouldn't want my kids to stop their lives completely to be with me. Assuming your mother has good caregivers, and you can give some time to be with her, give her the pleasure of watching you grow in your career and plan for your future.

      Hugs from another mom,

      almost 9 years ago
    • xmarisax's Avatar

      I'm so sorry you are going through this. My dad has stage 4 lung cancer and it spread into his brain. i am so scared. i will keep your mother in my prayers. I stayed with him for 7 months after his diagnosis and came home in the fall of 2011. I also question returning to my life.

      about 8 years ago
    • Zacksdad's Avatar

      Misha I do not want to sound cold and heartless, but I have experienced both sides of this journey. You must remember as you said this is a terminal disease and no one knows exactly how much time you have to be with your mother. no matter how hard you think it is now you cherish this time that you share with her wheher it is her house our your boyfriend's. You can always use the remaining time to explore your life. Remember it is not putting your mom first but a journey for you and your mother for you to remember for the rest of your life. Good Luck

      about 8 years ago

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