I'm pretty sure your Mom is not at all delusional about her prognosis, especially since this is her second time around. Many people live for many years with cancer as a chronic disease even if they aren't in full remission. She needs you to be supportive of her decisions, not combative.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Questions
Should I be straightforward?
Asked by Twinmom822 on Thursday, May 17, 2012
Should I be straightforward?
My mom has cancer. This is her second battle. It has metastasized. She's being extremely positive about it. In fact, she even booked a plane flight because she insists she will be in full remission by that date.
But I'm not so sure. The tumor is shrinking, but slowly. While I want her to make plans for the future, I'm worried she's setting herself up for disappointment when it isn't done as early as she thinks.
I don't want to be negative or bring her down. But I don't want her to be delusional about it, either.
Anyone have any advice?
7 Answers from the Community
Making plans is healthy. I was told I'd be dead within 5 years. However, I am now 5 years, 6 weeks (but who's counting!) out from my stage 4 dx, and traveling on a dream vacation in France. I planned; I've come, I've conquered. Your mom knows what she's up against, but she can't stop living in the interim.
I agree with the others. People who have cancer are not delusional.... they are very much aware of the monster within that they are battling. In 2008, when it was found that my cancer had metastasized to my lungs, I insisted on knowing my prognosis. My oncologist tried to brush it off as "It's not important what the stats say, you have today and you live for every day that you are given because no one knows when anyone's end is." That wasn't good enough for me... I said I wanted to know. I wanted to be realistic about what I was going through. So she told me... 2 - 24 months, max. according to prognosis stats. I freaked out... as I'm sure anyone does when told their death sentence. In my head, I was expecting something like 18 - 20 YEARS, give or take.... but talking in MONTHS??
Anywho... to make a long story short, we put together our next plan of treatment and I managed to talk myself into, as long as we had a plan, then there is no reason to be thinking of the end. Plans are good. Treatment plans are even better. And with that, I continue to make plans for my life, for my treatment and try to follow my plans for daily chores like housework, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. It's either that or sit around feeling sorry for oneself and wondering, "Is today the day when it all ends?"
Your mom is being very wise! Plan for the future. Book that flight, plan that trip. Worst case scenario, if she's not feeling well enough to go at the time, then she will lose her deposit on the flight or any hotels. Best case scenario, the trip will go ahead as planned and she will be so happy that she didn't put it off.
Don't ever fool yourself into thinking Mom doesn't understand the seriousness of her illness. It's hard to explain, except to someone else who had gone through a similar journey... that's why online support boards are so comforting. The people you talk to know exactly what you are going through without you having to find the words. Meanwhile, your mom is... well, a mom, and it is ingrained in her not to worry her kids or loved ones, no matter how old they are. So if having a positive attitude is helping herself through the journey, it is also helping her big time to know if she makes light of her illness or avoids talking about the scary bits... then she is protecting her kids from having to go through any of the same fears. THAT is a trait that most mothers have... protect the family.
So celebrate with your mom by supporting any and every decision she makes. If she decides she wants to go climb Mt. Everest, which may sound like the most insane, stupid, ridiculous idea to you and so totally unrealistic... go with it. She is testing her boundaries and proving to herself that she is still able to do things, even things she would never have thought of doing pre-diagnosis. It's ok... as a matter of fact, it's wonderful if she can think this way. It sure beats the alternative which is to worry yourself sick, be crying every day, refusing to go out and do anything because she is going to die so what's the point? That would be such a horrible way to live and so many people who suffer depression suffer exactly that kind of "life". Mom is obviously not like that and is not going to let cancer destroy what life she does have left.
Cheryl in Vancouver, BC
I agree with the others. I'm still fighting the battle and making plans for trips. I even already went on a trip a few weeks ago to visit some family across the country. Th hardest part is the airplane ride, the energy it takes to get to and from the gates in the airport, and knowing what you can and can't do energy-wise and health-wise on vacation.
When we visited Vancouver for the day, we went into a public market on Granville Island and I was walking around realizing how crowded it was and let them know i needed to leave, too many people, too close of contact... etc.
Wouldn't you be more concerned if your mom stopped planning things an started thinking there wasn't any use in planning for a future? I've been on the other end of things when my mom was told she had stage IV kidney cancer and she gave up.. didn't even fight for one moment. I would rather have her here today with me and had her disappointed that she had to POSTPONE a trip that she had hoped to be able to take.
Support her, lover her, help her plan it! Plan to go with her if you can.
If you are alive and have cancer, you are living with cancer, not dying of cancer. We go to chemo every week (my husband has stage 4 colon cancer), and I hear stories of survival and hope every time. I hear amazing stories and meet incredible people. Every day, choose hope, know that ever day we come a step closer to a cure and know that the reason we fight this disease is because life is worth it...and worth living to the fullest.
What the mind of man can conceive, and BELIEVE, it can achieve. Let her be positive, and help her, what's the worst that can happen? So what if she books a flight and then has to postpone, it will give her something to look forward to during all those treatments, and the side effects. I believe it's a healthy thing to have something to look forward to. I wish you both the best!