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Thursday, October 09, 2014

We are leaving for our month-long vacation in Nepal and India on Sunday.

Earlier this week my mother fainted and called my brother to come stay with her. He lives 2.5 hours away.

My brother drove Mom to her oncologist appointment and the doc agreed Mom's fainting was probably due to not eating or drinking enough, which is due to the effects of the radiation. She has incurable, inoperable lung cancer (although she's never smoked a cigarette in her life). Mom did 2.5 weeks of radiation and the doctor wanted her to do 2.5 more. The side effects are horrific; tremendous pain and burning in her esophagus, fatigue, chronic constipation and no appetite. She's refused any more treatment. She's DONE, both with the radiation and the chemo. emoticon

I'm very sad about this, but respect her decision. In 2013 she saw my dad spend a horrific three months doing radiation that destroyed the nerves in his face and left him unable to eat or speak normally and caused him to go blind. Did it buy him more time? Perhaps, but it added days to his life, not life to his days.

I can't tell you how guilty I feel leaving on one of the longest (and most expensive) overseas trips we've ever taken while my mother is going through this fresh hell and my two in-state siblings are the only ones there to cope.

I offered to cancel the trip and go up to be with my mother but Mom (predictably) said "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" In her mother-tone. That made me feel less guilty but I still know the burden will fall on my SISTER, the one with the 80-hour a week job working with health care providers trying to implement the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare).

I can't say my eating has been good. I know it's no excuse, but I just feel really stressed and scared right now, which means I eat more than I should. I know what I'm doing to myself, I know it's not rational, but still I can't seem to stop. Overseas trips are stressful for me by themselves, but with my mother's health thrown in I'm sort of a hot mess.

I just wanted to update you on where I'm at. I'm hoping once we get in mid-November I'll do better with my eating and get back on track.

Here's hoping.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I read this a bit later but I just wanted to tell you that my mother has the same kind of cancer. She never smoked yet has lung cancer. She is currently on a drug called Tarceva. It is a very expensive drug but worth it's weight in gold. There are agencies to help with the cost depending on her income. My mom took chemotherapy and could not handle it either. Then the chemo stopped working. So they prescribed this drug. She has been taking it for a year and a half. She is no longer throwing up, she has an appetite and she is leading a normal life. She is taking vacations and going out like she did before. Please ask your doctors about it. It might be the answer for her. It does have side effects like a rash but a small price to pay for the quality of life it will afford her.
    1587 days ago
    Your mom sounds like a special lady! emoticon
    1625 days ago
    I'm so sorry I'm late in reading (catching up) on your blogs. My sparking this past week has been minimal.
    I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. Sharing it is so valuable. My friends and I are constantly in conversation about our aging parents and the process of dignified passing on. Your mom has made her wishes known. I agree with everyone else that you are honoring her by living a wonderful and healthy life. Your trip can be a tribute to her courage and strength. Dedicate it to her.
    1625 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Honoring your mom's wishes is the best thing you can do.
    Enjoy your trip and life.
    When you get back you can address what needs to be done then.

    1626 days ago
    1626 days ago
    you're in my prayers.
    I respect and understand you mom's decision to stop treatment and her insistence that you go on your trip. She sounds like an awesome woman -- you're a tribute to her.

    1626 days ago
    1626 days ago
    emoticon I'm really sorry to hear about this. But it sounds like your mom is making the best decision for herself.

    Go easy on yourself right now. You're doing the best you can.
    1626 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Hugs to you. That is a hard decision. Your mom wants you to go and it will make her happy knowing you are doing something you wanted to do. I respect her choice and might make the same decision myself some day. However, with all of that, it still is very, very hard to leave. emoticon emoticon
    1626 days ago
    The way that life comes at us sometimes with the good and bad and the exciting and the dreadful all mixed up together is really tough to take, Nanette. The acceptance of what is happening and the realization that there is nothing one can do about it is a hard place to be in on the eve of your grand trip. I understand what your mother is saying to you and I hope it gives you some of the feeling that I had when I read about it: what a wonderful woman she is to let you know that your life and the plans you have for it are important to her. She wants to give you the gift of freedom without guilt. Will you accept it?

    1626 days ago
    What a terrible place to be, you were so looking forward to this trip but your mum has given you her blessing and she wants you to go.
    Take care hun, sending love and prayers emoticon
    1626 days ago
    I'm so sorry about what your family is going through. If I was your mom I would also tell you to ABSOLUTLEY NOT cancel the trip. It would make my heart smile to know my daughter is having this amazing experience.

    1626 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    Praying for your family & safe travels. Take care of yourself!
    1626 days ago
    Oh, my dear...that is a tough situation.
    definitely buy the travel insurance.
    And I agree, you missing your much anticipated trip will not help your mother in any way.
    My sister-in-law is on a 3 month around the world trip with her hubby and daughter that they have saved for and planned together for years just as my hubby is going through a major health crisis and my 90 yr old father-in-law is getting more and more needed.
    Life goes on.
    You cannot put your life on hold waiting and waiting.
    Think it through though and have a plan for all eventualities.
    If your mom passes away, can a memorial service be put off until later?
    Families do that for many different reasons.

    1626 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/9/2014 10:51:32 PM
    That's a hard place to be, indeed. Having gone through something similar (without the radiation and chemo) with my Dad this summer, I feel for you! Be kind to yourself (and your siblings) as you work through this. No one solution fits everyone in times like these.

    1627 days ago
    So very sorry that your mother is going through such a horrible time. It is such a terrible thing to see our parents age and get sick. Try to get some enjoyment on your trip, even though your heart and head will be with your mom.

    Wishing you and your family all the best.

    1627 days ago
    What a tough place to be in . . . for your mother (and my goodness, we can all respect her decision) and for you too.

    1627 days ago
    I am so sorry your mom is going through this! I understand being torn. I do think you (and all of us who have cared for a very ill family member) need and deserve a vacation. I took vacation too while my mom was in hospice (she was in for 4 different times). Once I left in the middle of a trip and flew back, but mom was really upset that my sister had called me to come home. And nothing that you can do could change your mom's situation. Did you buy travel insurance? (just in case). I understand and respect your's mom's decision on radiation; it was very hard on my dad.

    Hugs and best wishes from
    1627 days ago
    Oh dear...what a dilemma. And bless your mom's heart for telling you to go away on your best trip ever, in spite of her illness. Mom's are like that...givers until the end.
    1627 days ago
    This is hard but it sounds like she definitely wants you to go!maybe just let your sister know you offered to cancel the trip and what your mom said - you probably did already. I'm so sorry your mom (and you) are going through this
    1627 days ago
  • GABY1948
    I'm so sorry. Try not to feel so guilty. Put yourself in her would say the same thing....I know I would. My FIL just died in March of COPD...horrific...and he never smoked a day in his life either....frightening. He refused treatment too and I might too if in that position. I'm sure it will be all right.
    1627 days ago
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