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How much do I tell her


Amy P

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In addition to my mother's health, I have my own lung issues - the triple A's (asthma, allergies and acid reflux) are causing me a lot of trouble - lots of bronchitis and pnuemonia's plus I have a demanding job, a hubby who coaches soccer and at certain times of the year isn't around much, 2 kiddos one of which is borderline ADD and some occasional financial issues, the constant fear of Iressa failing, my dad had glaucoma that is slowly getting worse so it is a reality that at some point Dad will no longer be able to drive so the folks will move in with us so Matt and I can take over driving duties SO a a result my wonderful immunologist has put me on a mild anti-depressant to help "take the edge off".

I was giving Mom an update on me and she asked why in the world would I need an anti-depressant? She knows some but not all of this. I chose not to tell her because I don't want my current feeling to interfere with the what if's of the future and I definately don't want her think I don't want them here because I do.

My Mom and I are extraordinarily close and I feel like I am lying to her - am I doing the right thing by keeping her in the dark?

Sorry this is so long but it has been bothering me. I am open to any thoughts etc.

Much Love to you all,

Amy

PS. 2 good things did happen today - #1 the ct of my sinuses came back clear so at least I know from the neck up I am OK :D and #2 I got an interview to get into a managment program at work - I was 1 of 18 to get interviews for 5 spots - they had 80+ people apply - so I am very proud of myself for at least getting this far!!!!! Of course, if I get in it gets even more demanding....

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I would not lie to your mother, but I wouldn't volunteer any of the bad stuff. Let her know things on a need-to-know basis. She has enough battles to fight right now without worrying about yours, too. How good are you at hiding your feelings? If you are not good at that, you may have to confess more than you want to because probably her suspecting something would be worse than her knowing (imagination thing). You are right to be concerned about this. I hope you have others you can unburden yourself to without mom, like us folks here. Good luck. Don

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Amy,

I think she needs to know just enough to be worrying about you at least a little bit, but not enough to have her scared to death. Moms aren't happy if they aren't worrying about their kids. :) We just seem to have a really strong backbone for handling it, and actually, we probably kind of thrive on some of it. What's a mother for? :)

I think if she knows at least some of the stuff that's going on with you and some of the reasons you need the medicine, then it will give her something to talk to you about and help get her mind off her own illness, at least for a little while. When we got the bad news from my husband's PET scan a while back, I was devastated. Absolutely shocked. I went to visit my dad, who was dying from COPD in a nursing home, and I just lost it when I saw him. I laid my head on his shoulder in the bed and cried my eyes out. He hugged me and patted me on the back and had tears in his eyes. He couldn't talk because of the ventilator, but he said his usual: "Think positive, baby, think positive." He needed to be in the loop and not left out. He knew his daughter needed him even though he was the one that was dying. When my brother got here from California, the first thing my dad asked him was if he knew about my husband. He was no longer focused on himself and his sickness - he was focused on me and my husband. It got him back in the family if you know what I mean. You're mom might be different and only you can know, so if this sounds totally out of line for you, then don't tell her anything.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Love,

Peggy

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It is hard for me to comment on how to behave in a relationship between a mother and daughter that is not my own. I know that at times I struggled trying to keep up a "false front" of everything being OK to Mum. That didn't last long. In fact I well remember one night ringing me up, crying my eyes out to her, as I was scared about what was going on. She went right into Mum mode and then called me again first thing the next morning. I guess the way I think Mum looks at it is that she is still my Mum, no matter what is wrong with her. But then I also think if there were alot of things going on in my life that weren't great and that Mum couldn't help with then I wouldn't want to stress her with all of it. Hmm....I think I've been no help to you. It's a tough call.......

Jana

xxx

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I agree with Peg. If it weren't for the problems of my kids I would go nuts worrying about my own cancer. :D Truely tho-I have a 26, 24, and 18 yr old. They all have enogh going on in their lives to make my problems seem trivial. I am at my best when helping someone else, most people are. Let her know what is up.

Love Cindy

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Amy,

Talk to your mother - if you don't, she'll squeeze it all out of you eventually...and by that time, it will have "festered" and grown into a BIG UGLY instead of just some little yet-another-trial issue.

On that track, counseling may also help you. I see a counselor about every three weeks. Believe it or not, it's not cancer that is on the front burner in our household, there's the fact we are homeless, can't seem to get the deal closed on a new house, living with my parents, dealing with an ex-wife and "first families" (we're both on our second marriage), not having privacy nor time alone with my husband (OR my son!), issues at work due to my melting brain, etc., etc. Sure, it helps to talk to someone, but to talk to a "professional" who knows the signs of BIG mental issues is a safety net - she'll pick up the signs before I fall over the edge... Somedays, the topic IS cancer, the unknown, the feeling of living on borrowed time...just depends on what is jostling around in my head that day.

With everything you have on your plate, you may have some troubles "swallowing" some of it. See a counselor to develop some coping skills, maybe try a work-around on the driving issue (how close do your parents live to you?) so that your parents can keep THEIR independence, as well. That will become a sticky situation, too...put yourself in their shoes, being "grown ups" and not being able to take care of themselves...

Take care, hope it all starts to fall into place instead of being so out of sync - SOON!

Becky

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As a mom, I can attest to the fact that we moms will squeeze it out of you no matter how long it takes! You have been given a lot of good advice here. Cindy is right--we would rather worry about anything than our own cancer. And Becky, heck she is almost always right--By the time Becky gets to my age, she is going to have to add an addition to her brain in order to hold all her wisdom. :):)

love and fortitude

elaine

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I totally agree with Don.

Need-to-know basis is all that is required. If she wants to know more she will ask. Don't lie, just don't give more information than is necessary.

Think about it. She is an adult. If she wanted to know everything, she would have asked, she would have spoken to her doctors, she would have researched all of this herself.

My dad didn't want to here the negatives. I think the tuned out after the first 3 months of dx. it was all just so much to hear and comprehend. If he'd ask, I'd tell him, but most times, he just wanted to know the basics as he concentrated on treatment.

good luck- praying for you both.

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Thank you all for your input but I am still very torn. I have talked til I am blue in the face to my hubby and am still conflicted. I have (for the most part) been honest with my mother - including my fears about her health etc. After weeks of waiting to get a final conclusion of her recurrence, when we finally got some answers I looked my Mom straight in the eye and said this really sucks - I don't want you to die and then my parents and I cried together - as far as she goes I am straight up honest because that is what she depends on me for - the truth.

But when it comes to me, I am a little more reserved. I have always been independent and it is hard for me to admit that I have too much on my plate, let alone need help. My brothers are somewhat of a nightmare - one who is in his early 40's who still calls my parents for money and expects them to give it and another brother who has controlling wife and doesn't tell my parents ANYTHING which leaves Mom to her imagination (THanks Don!) which - thank goodness - is not as active as mine :) so I don't want to burden her further with my issues - which comparatively speaking are pretty minor but somewhat overwhelming when added together. With my brothers issues, I don't want to add more to her plate...maybe in this case, ignorance is bliss :?:

Katie and Elaine -

I am talking about telling her my problems - sorry if it wasn't very clear.

Becky - I have had a list of counselors sitting on my desk since April and haven't picked up the phone to make the call...maybe now is the time!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read and respond. It means so much to me to have a forum where there are sooooo many wonderful people who truly want to help!

Much Love to you ALL!

Amy

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Amy,

Have you considered the watered down version, at a time when she's distracted about something else?

Now is a great idea to pick up the phone. I found counseling to be enormously helpful. Some days I had no idea I would really need to vent or talk something through and the appointment was already on the books with someone I'd gotten to know.

Hang in there.

XOXOXOX

Prayers always,

MaryAnn

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Jana -

It's not that I am depressed but I have had a couple of anxiety attacks (1 pretty major) and have a lot of trouble going to sleep and then staying asleep - too many things running through my mind. Doc thought an anti-depressant would help take the "edge" off of my stress so I would sleep better and hopefully that will translate into improvement in my breathing -I wheeze constantly. It is my understanding (there are probably other here who know better than I) that the meds aren't just for depression but can also help those who have a hard time handling stress.

I can tell they are working because this morning on the way to work I got passed by another car on my residential street where the speed limit is 25 and this car had to be doing at least 40 and my only thought was where is a cop when you need one - when it happened about a month ago my blood pressure shot up and I felt the "urge" to follow them and explain that there are a lot of kids that walk along this street and they could have really hurt someone etc. Luckily I was able to control myself but it was a couple of hours before my blood pressure came down and my heart quit racing. This morning, I felt much more in control - not that it didn't bother me but I realized that I couldn't fix it so I was able to let it go. Does that make sense???

Thanks for asking!

Much love to you,

Amy

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Amy,

If Mom is just curious as to why you are on anti-depressants explain to her exactly that about stress. Tell her the normal pressures of life, work and kids, topped with having her (your Mom) sick have you stressed out and the Dr thought it would help with your breathing and coping if you took the edge off the stress. No lies, but no details, it is true you know. Life on the whole is pretty stressful for anyone and adding breathing problems and the Big C on top would give anyone the hairies! Proudly proclaim better living through chemistry, and give her a hug and a smile!

She has answers and you have solved problem. Of course it will never work as simply as I said, but do your best!

Blessings

Betty

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Amy (love the name too....)

First off, congrats and good luck on your interview. I am in the job interview process, so I know how stressful it can be. If she straight out asks you, then I would be honest, but tactful with her. Up play the family issues of your own, while not making her feel bad for adding to your stress. I have similar issues as you, well sort of. I have 3 children 5 & under. My oldest is feared to be either ADHD or bipolar. My youngest 2 are in physical and occupational therapy several times a week for developmental delays. My middle one takes speech and hearing therapy a few times a week also. My husband is in the Navy and is gone often. My mother is just plain crazy... she and my dad are divorced. THe only thing she was thinking of when I told her about his cancer was what was going to happen to her alimony when he died!@!!! I have a few choice names I would like to call her, but I won't. She faked a nervous breakdown while I was back home visiting last month (just a day after we found out about dad's cancer). She threatened suicide and I had to call 911...... all this because she was worried she would have no money if dad dies.

Sorry to go off on a tangent... you can tell how mad she makes me. I wish you luck Amy. And I send you my prayers and hugs. If you ever need to talk, my ear is here.

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Thank you all for your encouragement and support. Mom hasn't asked again but when she does (and I know she will) I will be ready :)

I did pick up the phone today and actually made a phone call to get my youngest back to her see the child psychologist - trying to keep her off medication. I have the utmost respect for this man and am going to ask him for a referral for me. My insurance Co. does this but I had a HORRIBLE experience when we were trying to get counseling for Abby - they tried to send her to a pyschiatrist at age 4, unaware of that at the time, I called to make an appt and explained the situation - they refused to let me and my hubby meet with the doc first w/o Abby and then proceeded to ask me if she had ever tried to kill herself...WON"T ever use that service again and will pay what I have to to see a good Dr.

Amy - my heart goes out to you and your family. You sound like a strong person to be able to handle all of that + your Dad's dx. I will keep you and yours in our prayers.

Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to help me sort this out!

Much Love to you all!!!!!

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Amy--

As much as I would like to advise you--just as each one of us is different, each relationship we have with our parent(s) is, as well.

YOU know best what your mother can or cannot handle AND how well you can cope/not cope confiding everything to her.

When my mother was first diagnosed with cancer 12+ years ago she did not tell ANYONE at first, except for my stepfather (who was commuting from one time zone to another at the time). She did not want to upset her children who were going through difficult matters at the time and she certainly did not want to worry her parents (my grandmother was one of the all time best grandmothers--but an Olympic Gold Medalist worrier). They were quite old, in questionable health, and she was their only child. She know that worring about her would CONSUME them, hurt them, and that her mother, wanting to help, would drive her crazy (and ADD to her stress) instead.

When she finally had to tell me (because my sister, father, and step-brothers knew because her hair had all fallen out)--she flew out to see me and told me that I was not allowed to tell my grandparents.

I did not understand her decision at the time (frankly, I was horrified by it!), but I respected it.

I understand it more now. She knew her particular relationship with her parents better than I did.

Each situation is different.

You are in my thoughts.

Melinda

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