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-   -   Wanting to escape (http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=36228)

loveher 10-22-2008 09:59 AM

Wanting to escape
Lately, I've been feeling really conflicted.

Im away at college about 5 hours from home and when im here i feel "normal". I forget that i have a mother who's illness is incurable. I like this normal feeling but then I feel guilty that i'm being irresponsible.

I keep think of last november my mom went through a horrible surgery, and i felt partially at fault. she had a lot of back pain and the doctor didnt address the issue properly and her mets went unnoticed for way too long. I was away at college and my parents kept me completely in the dark. i knew something wasnt right bc my mom just didnt sound like her perky self on the phone. She was actually getting radiation, she had so much pain she slept in a chair and was taking morphine. but it didnt work and she went in for emergency surgery, she only got partial anethesia and was conscious through the whole thing.

when i got home, all my dad said was that my mom was in the hospital. I felt so alone in the empty house, i kept expecting to hear her call me but she wasnt there. the next day i went to see her in the hospital and she look unregocnizable her whole body was extremely bloated, she had bruises all over her because she struggled during the surgery. i thought for the first time that maybe she might not get through it.

She's stable now but she is just not the same, shes so much weaker and im still not completely sure how extensive the mets are and if her back is holding up.

I feel that i should be on top of her treatments and talking to her doctors during her appointments and keeping track of her tumor counts. my parents have once again started to keep me away from the truth.

It's difficult because im terrified of hearing about her condition because in the end, i know her disease isn't curable. so part of me wants to just stay at college the whole year and stay in my bubble and ignore the problem.

on top of that, im at an ultra competitive college where im lucky if i get around the mean on tests.

Everyone tells me to be strong but it's hard.

fellow caretakers: do you ever want to just escape?

Rich66 10-22-2008 02:24 PM

I hear you. I just returned to my own abode for a couple days and I feel the guilt for not being there..even when there isn't much I can do. And yes..when I'm in the midst of "normal" life, or feeling healthy, it's easy to feel guilty about enjoying it. I try to keep in mind the notion that our folks don't want us to be consumed by their issues. I look at it as trying to find a reasonable balance in an unreasonable situation. Oh..I'm far from achieving it but want you to know you aren't alone in your feelings.

ElaineM 10-22-2008 09:00 PM

wanting to escape
I am so sorry to hear about your mom. I am sorry you are both having such a hard time. Can you have a family meeting to discuss whatever needs to be discussed? Are you listed on the list of "in case of emergency notify" in her doctor's office? Can you talk to a counselor or instructors at your school-----people who could help you get your school work done during this difficult time for you and your family?

Colleens_Husband 10-23-2008 12:31 PM

Hey Sue:

Thanks for posting and thanks for being so open and honest with all of us here. I know this wasn't very easy for you to say.

Sue, you have nothing to feel sorry about or to apologize for. You live a full five hours away and you have your own life to live. With you being away to college, you are doing the absolute best you can for your mother. The best thing you can do for your mother is to live the best you can and become the best person you can possibly be.

You may want to make inquiries into a thing called 'survivor's guilt'. This may help you see that you are having perfectly normal and predictable feelings over an emotionally devastating situation.

I don't wish to get away from it all because I know that each and every day I spend with my dear wife is a precious gift. Try to make the time you spend with your mom mean something and you may not feel so bad when you go away to college.

And don't take this trying to be strong stuff too seriously. Sometimes its okay to lean into your fears and pain. Its often the easiest way to get through all of this.

Sue, you are in our hearts and prayers.


BonnieR 10-23-2008 02:37 PM

Hello Sue. I wonder if your parents are not "keeping you in the dark" so much as they are trying to protect you and allow you to have as normal a college experience as you can. It probably makes them feel better to think you are living your life. That is their dream for you. It is not your job to manage her care, as much as you wish you could do so.
It is normal to feel powerless and even guilty sometimes.
Is there a patient advocate sort of person, or a social worker or psychologist associated with her hospital who could discuss things with you? Or as someone else suggested, a counselor thru your school?
Your devotion to your mother must bring her great comfort. As Lee said, just be the best person you can and that will make her proud...
Keep the faith.

Jackie07 10-23-2008 02:53 PM


Not sure what to tell you since I don't have any children. I think your Mom would not want your schooling be interrupted or affected.

It is very hard to concentrate while your Mother is fighting cancer. Please utlize the counseling services provided in your college and get some professional support.

Can you stay in touch with your Mom and family members through phone calls? I've talked with my family overseas every weekend just about for the past 20 years.

And take very, very good care of yourself, because that's what all parents worry about - their children's welfare.

loveher 10-24-2008 10:01 AM

Thanks guys!

Im feeling really upbeat today. I have good days and bad days. yesterday i had an occasional bad day mainly bc i was studying for a midterm and kept thinking about my mom so I felt the need to post and get it all out.

I know my parents want me to do well but its a bit hard for me to see things from their perspective.

I saw my counsellor yesterday and he actually recommended me to take a year off. grrr it made me so mad bc it wouldnt solve anything, I cant imagine what i would do, sit at home and knit scarves? My biggest goal right now is to make my mom proud and graduate!!!

usually parents call their college kids and nag them but actually i call my mom everyday and shes always like "stop calling im doing laundry" or something of that sort.

I guess the what im learning is that I can't escape the fact that cancer is part of my life but there's still lots to celebrate and i cant let it overshadow all the good times i've had with my mom.

sorry for being super cheesy, thanks for listening to me rant you guys!

SoCalGal 10-24-2008 11:18 AM

Hi Sue-
Here's my two cents... Let go of the terrible memory of your mom in the hospital (living in the past). Let go of the fear of her death (living in the future). Live in the present...the greatest gift you can give your mom and yourself.

Your mom wants you to graduate. I am 100% certain of that. You are a good and loving daughter. I am 100% certain of that.

Posting here keeps you strong. People say "stay strong" because they know you can. Focus on school and your friends - that's your job! Go see your mom and little bro over Thanksgiving break:)

Sending you a big hug today. Study!


loveher 10-25-2008 03:58 PM

Thank you Flori

I think that really gave me a better view of things.
I've always tried to live in the moment but i dont think i've fully let go of what happened last fall. But now i see that i gotta let the past go.

Im glad everyone is reasurring my desire to do well in college. Its frustrating hearing my cousellor and a couple of my friends suggest that I take a leave of absence.

Ok ill go study now.

Jackie07 10-26-2008 03:17 PM


Coming from an oriental background, I understand how your Mom is feeling right now. Please concentrate on your study. The cultural tradition is such that there's nothing better than achieving your goal (good grades, good jobs, ...etc) if you want to make your mom happy. As a matter of fact, it could well be the best incentive for her to keep on fighting so she could see you graduate, get married,...

My parents are in their 80's and 90's, yet they worry about my health because I've had several surgeries. Be sure to take good care of yourself. It is hard , but you can do it.

Say a little prayer to calm yourself before studying. It could help with your concentration. And remember that both you and your family are in our prayers.

harrie 10-26-2008 11:07 PM

Sue, hi...its me again....
I really like that pic on your avatar of you, your mom and your brother. You seem to look a lot like your mother!
Anyways, its normal to have your up and down days. I am glad to hear that you are working hard with your goals and ambitions. I am sure you make your parents proud and in that respect you are doing your part well in supporting your family.
I know your mom must have her good and bad days, but for her to go to sleep at night knowing her kids are doing well with their lives is VERY comforting. That in itself I am sure helps her get through her difficult times.
When my mom was having her hard times and would be in the hospital, I remember very well that feeling of flying over to where she lives, walking into the house and knowing she is not there. It can be tough. But do remember, she is in very good hands. I know you are very smart and caring young woman and so I would presume your parents are also very smart and are very capable of staying on top of all her medical concerns and making sure the very best decisions are being made.
Take care. Please feel free to email me if you like.
Much aloha,

karen z 06-21-2012 05:27 AM

Re: Wanting to escape
Hi Sue.
I think you have gotten some wonderful advice here and you might have more than noticed the common themes. It sounds like you are feeling better and stronger and I think the advice to live in the present, continue your studies and continue to make your parents super proud of you (and not to beat yourself up) is all very sound. You love your parents and they know it.

norkdo 07-01-2012 04:36 AM

Re: Wanting to escape
I am writing to support you. Parents should not "protect" you while you are away. I wrote a blog on this topic last summer because my best friend, away in Europe for many months, was lied to by her dad about her mom's b.c. condition and returned just in time for the end. I saw firsthand the terrible compounding of the sad situation of her mom's death by the coverup. My thoughts are with you.

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