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So many emotions


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There is no 'short summary', so forgive my rant in advance.

My father passed away unexpectedly 6 years ago due to a massive heart attack. My mom (65yrs old) tried to adapt to her new world without him, but sunk into depression and started drinking, met a man that also drank heavily, and married him a few years ago. She went from being the picture perfect grandma to someone lost in her own darkness. I maintainted regular contact with her despite the differences and encouraged a better life direction for her because that's what family does. The relationship was strained at best for all in her life. In May 2012 she had a PET scan that showed suspicious spots. In June I took her for her lung biopsy--which showed positive for NSLC Stage 4. They said there was a slight possibility that she could be stage 1 and 3 if it was two separate occurences of cancer--but said this is rare and not likely. In July she started chemo--only two sessions and because she chose to drink while having chemo (even though she was told repeatedly this was a toxic combination)--her platlets dropped and long story short she was put into the hospital. Shortly after being in the hospital her body crashed, she was rushed to ICU and put on a ventilator where she remained for a month on and off the ventilator. We were told that was it, she would not sustain without the ventilator for long and the dr recommended moving her to inpatient hospice. We did, and instead of the 48 hours they gave her, she stabalized and spent two weeks before being released to home care hopsice. We were told at the end of Aug that she had an estimated 6 mths to live. (she has lupus and we were told she could not endure radiation at all from the beginning, and her body didn't tolerate chemo so this was no longer an option). While she was in ICU her then husband demolished her financial situation and went as far to inquire about where he was in the will. Long story short there---she filed for divorce which should be complete soon.

She had been staying with another family member in her hometown (5 hours away) and just moved in with me and my family a month and a half ago. We don't have a bedroom on our first floor so we turned our living room into a mini-efficiency apt for her as best as we could to try to provide a comfortable environment for her. Hospice has her stabalized and she is maintaining fairly well with her current med status.

The great news---despite all the negative, the way things have happened has actually given all the family the chance to have her back as close as possible to who she was before. She could have died in the sad depressed state she was trapped in--and she is now free of alcohol and what we believe was likely a verbally abusive relationship.

The bad news---her financial situation is disaster. I'm her POA and her house (which has her name only on it--his name was on nothing) sits empty yet she pays a huge mortgage on it. The real estate agent said there is no way she could even break even on seling the house. I consulted with an estate attorney to be sure I was handling things properly ( not so

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(not so much as planning other than how to best manage what we can't maintain). The estate attorney told me if it were her, she would cease paying on the mortgage and credit cards and just let the bank foreclose. She claims this will happen anyways, and since mom is the only one on things, it all just gets washed and to let mom go do something nice for herself while she still has time. Mom is still fairly competent despite some confusion, but to try to discuss this with her is not easy. Her financial situation is such that something will have to fall to the wayside b/c she has no backup savings. This is emotionally challenging to know what the 'right' thing is to do.

Mom hasn't fully come to terms with the fact she is dying. It is hard b/c one day she will say she isn't afraid to die and talks about dad, and then the next she says "I may be around for many more years." The hospice nurse has asked her many times if she would like to know how it happens and she says no. She will sometimes say she is scared. And sometimes I'm not sure what she is grasping b/c the confusion will come and go on large levels.

We have 3 children, the youngest 4. My husband and I both work full time (I work from a home office--making it possible for me to be here for mom). We try to give her things to do---but it is heartbreaking to see her sitting at a table just watching tv or organizing things day after day.She wants to do crafts, but instead just surrounds herself with them b/c she shakes too bad. She wants to do things on a computer but doesn't navigate well like she used to. She wants to read, but says she can't see the book--but still wants to keep buying books as if having them is comfort. She is on oxygen 24 hrs a day.She's on 4.5liters. She takes over 35 pills a day. I do my best to make a point to get her out at least once per week while she is still able. I have taken her for a mother/daughter manicure/pedicure, I got her top notch comfy bedding, anything I can do to make her feel loved and give her something to do....but it never feels like enough. I never leave her "alone" but anytime I personally leave the house she makes remarks to me like "you snuck off again" and makes me feel guilty. I have a marriage to keep intact and 3 children to still interact with. The relationship with my mom was 'tried' before all of the cancer, but of course I love her and want to be here for her--she has no one else. On some level, I would also like to know what we can expect. They said Feb---we aren't seeing it. She actually got up and cooked dinner for us tonight and even though she gets confused some, she can still do things like this overall. I don't want to see her suffer anymore than she has and am hopeful she will just get sleepier as time goes on---but I hear sometimes the decline isn't always so fortunate.

I continue to maintain that this is all a blessing in disguise...but it has so many ranges of emotions. And this is just me---I can't imagine what goes thru her mind or how much she hurts on a deep level (and not just physical).

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Welcome to LCSC.....you have found a wonderful place to come visit and ask any questions you have as well as support from many people.

Reading your post just broke my heart. You really seem to have your hands full here, but your mom is so lucky to have you. I'm sure she is very proud of you.

Your mom seems to have been through a lot in her life and no doubt she is depressed. I'm glad she is no longer drinking and that she is with you.

Hospice is wonderful for both of you right now and you can always ask them questions about the "end" and what to expect but then not everyone is the same.

I'm curious about the 35 pills a day though. My husband was taking more than that until hospice came in. They stopped all medication except what was needed for anxiety and pain. Maybe it's different in your state? I was in California at the time.

Please browse our forums and read past post from other caregivers and let us know how you and your family are doing. ((hugs))

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I am a patient and not a caregiver, so I can't know the stress and pain of trying to take care of a loved one as well as juggle a family. We do have many caregiver members, like Michelle, who have been where you are now, but I did want to welcome you to this club none of us wanted to join.

You have already traveled quite a rough road, and your mother is so fortunate to have you and you are obviously doing everything you possibly can. As a patient, I know that this disease can be so frightening, and so when you are afraid and feeling really bad, it is easy to take the anger and fear out on those closest to us -- which unfortunately is usually the person who is our primary caregiver. I think hospice may be beneficial to both of you.

Please come back to let us know how you and your mother are doing - even if you just need a place to vent.


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