I posted a long introduction yesterday so you can read my story there. But just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how I can help my mother. She is extremely depressed since she found out that she is now terminal, which is totally understandable. But now she's withdrawn into herself and just tries to be drugged out and sleep all day long, so she's missing out on life right now. I think seeing me and my daughter is just too hard for her to bear because she focuses on what she will miss out on. She refuses to speak to anyone. She was living at home with my brother but he wasn't coping and told her that and now she feels like no one wants her any more. She's currently in hospital because she was admitted with a blocked vascular in her leg but we will need to move her either back home with my brother or to a pastoral care place or I don't know whether I should have her come live with me, but I don't know if I could cope either. Any suggestions on how I can help? I feel like she's already gone in a way.
Hiya Just Me
It sounds like your mum might need some help from a professional. Is she seeing a psychologist or counsellor at all? Is the hospital aware of how badly your mum is with her emotional state at the moment? If it was me I would try and get the depression and coping mechanism into place first and then focus on what you will do. Such a hard time for you all and I hope your mum can find some peace soon.
It was the palliative care nurse who informed me of how depressed my mother is. She was the one telling me that they have her physical pain management under control but she has a lot of emotional stuff going on. They have offered her anti-depressants which she has refused and they have offered her a psychologist to talk to but she refuses. She has a social worker whom she refuses to talk to. So we're all at a loss as to what to do.
Hiya Just Me
gosh, that must be so tough for you and I cannot think of anything to help you out. I hope that your mum will accept some help soon. Are you getting any support? Because as a daughter and carer you will need it also. Am really sorry that I cannot offer you anything other than an ear to sound off to.
Hi Just Me
I have responded to your other post, but just thought I would throw 'my 2 cents worth' in here as well.
As I have said earlier, I cared for my mum at home (with my sister)as this was her wish. She was terrified of hospitals and wanted to be surrounded by her family. This was the biggest 'job' I have ever undertaken and to be honest (from my own experience only) I wouldnt recommend it to anyone. It is for this reason, that I have had paperwork drawn up stating that I am to be admitted to a nursing home or palliative care when I get too ill. My mother was totally incontinent and bed bound. She used to cry when we changed her, cause she hated what she had become and hated the fact that her daughters had to change her like a baby. I used to joke and say 'its OK mum, you brought us up - now it is our turn to look after you'. Her arms and legs were huge with oedema (from lack of movement) and the fluid used to leak out of them and saturate her bed. We had to bandage arms and legs from top to bottom, several times a day. It was not unusual to have to change her entire bedding a couple of times a day. Try doing this on your own - not an easy job when we had to change the bed with her in it. My sister and I are definately not nurses, just 2 daughters who were trying to help the mother we loved - but it was bloody hard. Mum really needed hospital help, but we honoured her wishes and allowed her to die peacefully at home.
My only advice (and I may be howled down for saying this) is let mum digest all the bad news she has had. Sure she is feeling down and depressed, if she doesnt want to talk to anyone, then just leave her be for the time being. Speaking as a cancer patient now, I find that if people keep asking me things or hassling me, I just turn off. I have a lot of 'things' to digest myself, ie: treatments, how I'm feeling, how my diagnosis/prognosis is affecting the family and a million other things running through my head. I dont get depressed, but there are times I just want to 'turn off' and I'm sure this is what your mum is doing. Give her a little time to come to terms with everything.
Thinking of you and cant stress enough how important it is for you to take care of you! Your mum is in the best place at the moment and hopefully getting wonderful care, so you look after YOU.
Always here if you want to 'chat'
Thanks Di. Prior to the my mother's terminal diagnosis my brother was caring for her and I didn't actually realise how bad it had gotten because they both hid it from me. When my mother had to be readmitted to hospital with a blocked vascular that's when my brother told me that he had barely been coping and he also told my mother that too. And now my mother is so upset because "no one wants her". 😞 It's so hard to hear that because I would do absolutely anything to have her stay with me longer and so would my brother. But of course there is nothing we can do about 'curing' her.
I would actually love my mother to come live with me for a short while, so I can spend more time with her. But today when I saw her doctor she told me that my mother would be too much right now for any family member to cope with because she doesn't eat or get out of bed and just sleeps all the time. It really hit home with my brother and I and we have decided to send her to palliative care hospital.
The doctor is sure that physically my mother should right now still be able to walk short distances, sit up and eat. So it seems that she has given up. And I totally understand wanting to shut myself off from everything like my mother is doing, but it's so hard when my mother is wasting the short time she has left.
I don't know now if it was the right thing to do but I told her today that if she wanted to come home she would have to start moving around again and eating. I also told her that she's not going to die right now and still has some living left that she can choose to do any way she likes. I know in time she will be bed bound but right now she doesn't have to be. And in this time she could come home and live with me if she was willing to be a bit more independent in ways that she can.
I'm not going to say any more to her right now because I do understand that she needs to digest everything. But she has agreed to try speaking to a counsellor so fingers crossed she does and it helps a bit.
I just hope we can make some more happy memories together before it is too late.
Hi Just Me
god, what you have just said takes me back to when mum was diagnosed and her whole reaction to the cancer diagnosis. I know this is going to sound trite and so phoney, but I do relate to everything you have said and I do know what you are talking about.
My dear old mum, who had never had a day's illness in her life, was admitted to hopital with pneumonia, then became very jaundiced and after about 1 week of tests, etc she was given her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I will never forget sitting in hospital with her and the doc's came around and said, 'there is no treatment available for you, its too late for chemo or surgery, you have 3 months to live, go home and enjoy your family!' On the way home, mum said to me, 'I want to die and be with your father!', I made a joke of it and said, 'yeah right mum, your turn will come, when it comes!.
From the moment we got home, she lost the will to live. We watched her 'go downhill' until she got to the stage that everything failed on her. This however, took 18 months, not the 3 months she was originally told. She would have still had a 12 month period where she could have enjoyed life, had she of chosen too. I still get upset when I think about the time that she wasted, laying in bed, waiting for death!
I would often tell mum to get up, have some physio, etc but I could tell that she had given up, and I am still angry that the doctors told her she had 3 months. They are not God, they dont know - they can only give an educated guess......well sorry! but thats not good enough - some people just cant handle the truth, and my mum was one of those people.
I can totally agree with you having a stern talk with your mum, just because she is terminal doesnt mean that you cant 'treat her normal' and tell her how 'things need to be' and you dont need to feel guilty (for want of a better word)that you have tried to get your point across. She has taken a huge step in agreeing to see a councillor, and baby steps at the moment are the way to go. The palliative care staff are wonderful people and I'm sure they will have her up and moving, as laying in bed causes so many problems with circulation, lungs, etc - maybe if she sees she can do things and move around, and you give her the option of coming to live with you WHEN she's a bit more mobile - this may be just enough to give her reason to live!
You and your brother deserve a medal for what you have both done so far. I said in my ealier reply to you that I wouldnt recommend taking on the palliative care of a parent or loved one - but I just want to let you know that even though it was hard, I wouldnt have had it any other way. I was there holding mums hand when she took her last breath and I felt privelidged to have had that extra time with mum, but it was bloody hard because she wouldnt help in any way. If this is the road you choose, especially with a little child as well, then you must be prepared for what it will be like. You will basically have 2 little 'children' to care for.
I can 'hear' from your words just how much you and your brother love your mum, and no matter what you both choose to do, your mum knows how much you love her! You cant cure her, but your love for her will live forever.
I wish there was some way I could help all of you, but I can only hope that 'things' settle down a bit for you. Please dont be afraid to cry in front of your mum and discuss your fears and hers with her. You WILL have some more happy times with her, and you will also have lots of tears and frustration. Be guided by what the palliative care staff say and maybe you can 'make a big deal' out of telling your mum she can come home on day leave, etc once she has built up her strength, this way you and your brother are not abandoning her and you are giving her something to look forward to and to work towards.
My heart is with you xoxo
Thanks so much Di. Your post was so helpful. But today we received terrible news about my mother. Her kidneys are now failing because the cancer has grown around her urethras and is restricting the flow of urine. So she is becoming toxic inside.
In some ways I am extremely angry at the doctors because they didn't explain any of this well to my brother and I. But today a palliative care nurse explained that at the rate mum's kidney's are failing, which took a dramatic dive late last week and over the weekend, means she could now pass away at any moment. It also explains WHY she has not been getting out of bed or eating and also explains her very odd behaviour. Like yesterday she was asking me where the cow went. And today she was saying my brother's feet are black and that means he also has the cancer. The nurse told me that she will start losing her mind, stop being able to get out of bed and stop eating. And I said "She's already doing ALL of those things!!" So my talk to "get up out of bed and eat and you can come home" was such a stupid thing to say when she really CAN'T do those things. :(
Anyway, she's being moved to a palliative care hospital tomorrow, where I hope she will receive much better care from the staff. Today in hospital she asked a nurse to help her go to the toilet and the nurse said "You never do anything on the toilet why don't I just get you a bed pan?" To which mum started crying and said "Anyone else can just get up and go to the toilet and I need help and you won't help me!" The nurse did help her but was rolling her eyes as she did it. Treat my mum with some respect please.
Gosh it's just so tough seeing my poor mother like this and needing help from staff and them treating her poorly. She wouldn't let me take her to the toilet tough, because she didn't want her daughter helping her.
Anyway, it seems suddenly from a few months left we are down to days or a couple of weeks if lucky. And I will spend all the time I can with her and hope the new hospital is a lot better.
Hi Just Me, it made me cry to think of your poor Mum having to argue the point, that she needed to go to the toilet. Surely that should be a given right until getting out of bed is no longer something she is able to do.
My mum has cancer to and it breaks my heart watching her not to be able to do things. Although she is not at your Mum's stage yet.
Julie is right you and your brother need some help to get through this. I found the lovely people here, but there must be other support out there for you.
I wish l was in a position to be of more help, but l can only send you love and best wishes. We are here for you.
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