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Slowly losing my Mom-need help


ada33r

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I am an adult “only child” who was raised by a single Mother. She has been sick as far back as I can remember. Since, I was about 7 she has been diagnosed with Diabetes, SEVERE sleep apnea, hypertension and obesity. She has not been able to work since I was about 8 years old and has been on disability. We were very poor and she could not afford to go to DR. or buy her medication. All of this has led to her being diagnosed with advanced Congestive heart failure about 2 years ago. She has also developed Chronic Kidney disease and COPD.

The prognosis is very grim, but no one can give us any definite answers. However, because of all her other conditions on top of the heart disease I was told she will be lucky to live 3 more years but she could exacerbate at any time and go downhill fast. She is having some tests done in a few days and I should have some more solid information then and I am afraid the prognosis will be even worse. She can not even take a short shopping trip with me anymore without being severely out of breath and having bad chest pain.

I am VERY close to my Mother. She was pretty much all I had growing up. She is my very best friend, I talk to her every single day. I am married with 4 children of my own now and my children are very close to her and love her more than I can put into words

She has tried to bring up the conversation of her condition being progressive and eventually terminal many times. When we talk about something in the future she will often say things like, I will not be around to see it. My knee jerk reaction is to tell her not to talk like that and as long as she takes care of herself she can get better. I do everything I can to to help her health wise, I now make sure she is able to go to her Dr. appointments and I buy all of her medications.

I have been researching her conditions and the outcomes on the internet for months now. I finally called to speak with her cardiologist and he confirmed that the outlook was not good and plans to call me after her next round of tests to talk with me more and give me a better explanation of what I can expect.

I am so lost. I have no one to really talk to about this. I have tried to talk with her sisters about what the future may bring and they just do not seem to get it. I think this is because she has been sick for so long and doesn’t have a disease like cancer where they can give a definite prognosis. My husband doesn’t get it and when I try to talk to him about it he tells me to be positive and that DR.'s don’t know everything.

I do not know what to say to her, what to do, how to prepare myself, how to focus on my own life (kids, marriage and a full time college student). The thought of losing her consumes me and I sob at night and cry randomly.

I have searched for a support group and am hoping someone can give me some advice and point me in the right direction.

Thanks for reading

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I am an adult “only child” who was raised by a single Mother. She has been sick as far back as I can remember. Since, I was about 7 she has been diagnosed with Diabetes, SEVERE sleep apnea, hypertension and obesity. She has not been able to work since I was about 8 years old and has been on disability. We were very poor and she could not afford to go to DR. or buy her medication. All of this has led to her being diagnosed with advanced Congestive heart failure about 2 years ago. She has also developed Chronic Kidney disease and COPD.

The prognosis is very grim, but no one can give us any definite answers. However, because of all her other conditions on top of the heart disease I was told she will be lucky to live 3 more years but she could exacerbate at any time and go downhill fast. She is having some tests done in a few days and I should have some more solid information then and I am afraid the prognosis will be even worse. She can not even take a short shopping trip with me anymore without being severely out of breath and having bad chest pain.

I am VERY close to my Mother. She was pretty much all I had growing up. She is my very best friend, I talk to her every single day. I am married with 4 children of my own now and my children are very close to her and love her more than I can put into words

She has tried to bring up the conversation of her condition being progressive and eventually terminal many times. When we talk about something in the future she will often say things like, I will not be around to see it. My knee jerk reaction is to tell her not to talk like that and as long as she takes care of herself she can get better. I do everything I can to to help her health wise, I now make sure she is able to go to her Dr. appointments and I buy all of her medications.

I have been researching her conditions and the outcomes on the internet for months now. I finally called to speak with her cardiologist and he confirmed that the outlook was not good and plans to call me after her next round of tests to talk with me more and give me a better explanation of what I can expect.

I am so lost. I have no one to really talk to about this. I have tried to talk with her sisters about what the future may bring and they just do not seem to get it. I think this is because she has been sick for so long and doesn’t have a disease like cancer where they can give a definite prognosis. My husband doesn’t get it and when I try to talk to him about it he tells me to be positive and that DR.'s don’t know everything.

I do not know what to say to her, what to do, how to prepare myself, how to focus on my own life (kids, marriage and a full time college student). The thought of losing her consumes me and I sob at night and cry randomly.

I have searched for a support group and am hoping someone can give me some advice and point me in the right direction.

Thanks for reading

Hi,

At this point, your mother is not gone. She is living and breathing and smiling and laughing. Try to live each day as it is for now. There is none of us who have the promise of tomorrow, so try your best to stop worrying over something that may or may not happen for a long time. You are causing yourself some pretty unneccessary stress and anxiety. None of us know for sure when our time is going to be up. That's why we try to enjoy our loved ones and spend our time creating happy memories and solid relationships. You sound like you have a great one with your mother.

So, I guess what you are trying to determine is whether her condition is reversable or manageable for longer than three years? So, wait until the cardiologist calls you for an explanation. Three years is a long time in a matter of speaking--and even then that may be so far off the mark it's not even close.

Have you talked to your mother about your anxiety and fear? Have you asked her to try to manage her health better? There are many things she can do for the hypertension, obesity, diabetes, etc. How severe is her kidney problems? Is she on dialysis? As far as diabetes, does she take daily insulin? What would losing some weight do for her? Has she ever tried? Do you cook healthy meals and try to get her outside and up and about ever? How is her attitude toward life? Is she depressed from all of this?

You really should try to remain calm, wait for the doctor to call, pray if you are a spiritual person, and talk all of this over with your mother. For now, just sit and enjoy being with her. Have some fun and don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Hope this helps.

ModKonnie

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I'm so sorry you are going through this. My mom was also my best friend. I can't believe it's been over 20 years since she died. She was just 58 and died less than six weeks after the diagnosis of lung cancer. She'd never smoked a cigarette in her life and lived a very healthy lifestyle. One thing I'd like to suggest to you is to talk to her about her impending death. From what you said, she has tried to broach the subject with you, but you've been unable to talk about it. One of the things that has helped me deal with her death, especially the first few weeks and months after she died, was knowing that we said and allowed her to say everything she wanted to say to us before she died. That was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, but in retrospect it was also very special. It was a gift she gave to us and I can only assume she felt the same way, having had us share our feelings, thoughts, fears, etc. about her leaving us. We'd learned the hard way just 9 months prior to her illness that you never get a second chance to say what you want to say. My youngest brother was killed in an Air Force plane crash 9 months to the day before my mom died. We did not get to tell him good-bye or say the things that were on our heart. Things were left so unfinished. As hard as it may be, talk to your mom about it. Let her express her feelings, fears, hopes, whatever about what may lie ahead for her. It is not easy, but you'll never regret it. I remember saying to her that I wasn't ready to lose her and I practically choked on the words. Saying that though, allowed us to face what we were both feeling, knowing there was nothing we could do to stop what was inevitable. The memories I have of her final weeks are mixed with joy and much sorry. I have to tell you though, that I learned more from my mom about life in those final weeks than I'd learned from her the previous 34 years of my life. It's such a difficult time, yet it can be a true treasure. Blessings to you as you travel this very difficult road.

Diane S

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thefemaleparadox

Dear solicitous,

Unfortunately there really is no good time for bad news. Like ModKonnie said, she's still here, she's still breathing, she's still with you. Its not easy to do it knowing what may come, but relish in it. Unfortunately as children we can't possibly imagine a world without our parents (in my case, my mother) and until today, I still find myself 'reorientating' so to speak. I'd suggest taking pictures, even making videos if you can (we try so hard to 'remember' our parents when they're gone) but most of all LIVE these days with your mother, give them to her, prioritise her. You have the knowledge at least to know you can make the MOST of what you have. That's precious.

Never lose the faith x

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Solicitous,

You are in such a hard road and it seems you have been for a long time and my hugs go out to you. I hope there might be something we can say that may give you some measure of comfort. Having lost my grandfather and uncle in a very slow terminal illness doesn't make it any easier. It is only natural to be distressed, even doctors, who regularly deal with death and sickness, often feel troubled even powerless.

I read an excerpt from a thesis written by a doctor on this subject of caring for the terminally ill that offers this advice: "Avoid blaming others--the medical team, nurses, or yourself-- for the patient's condition. This will only make relationships more tense and take away attention from what should be the principal concern: the needs of the terminally ill patient." So the first step is to look beyond any debilitating effects of the illness and see the person, maybe by looking at pictures of your mom while she was still full of vigor and listen while she tells you about her memories. Look into her eyes and see those changeless brown or green or blue eyes of hers.

It seems you are doing such a great job already being so close to your mom, you sound like a wonderful daughter, so strong and like a great role model for your kids. Your mom though likely needs to vent her feelings--to communicate honestly and openly and even though you are well-meaning and would rather not talk about that with her it might be diverting energy from the more significant process of facing up to the illness. If she wishes, she should be allowed to talk openly about her condition and even express her sadness at seeing her life cut short, as hard as it might be for everyone. It's your best way of knowing what she is really feeling and understanding her wishes, fears and expectations. These exchanges of thoughts may lift your relationship to new levels of intimacy.

Don't be afraid to cry in front of your mom. You might be giving her an opportunity to act as a comforter. The book The Needs of the Dying says: "It is a deeply moving experience to be comforted by the dying, one that can be extremely important to them."

By making the best use of these last moments, you will likely avoid feelings of regret later and they can become in the future a source of comfort. You are strong and you can receive even more strength to continue because the Bible says in Philippians 4:13: "For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me."

Kind Regards,

Ada

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