46, three children, terminal cancer

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46, three children, terminal cancer

Hi all! Delighted to have discovered this community today, and I'm hoping that someone will be able to help me.


My Mum, who is 46, was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 breast cancer about 18 months ago. It's in her breast (she had breast cancer previously and had a mastectomy), peritoneum, and bones, and is currently undergoing hormone-based chemotherapy to slow the cancer down. She was initially given 2 years, but this was very tentative, given how rare it is for women her age to receive such a diagnosis. The cancer hasn't progressed at all in the last 18 months, which is great, but she is really suffering and feels terribly alone.


My Mum is single and currently lives with her parents. They are stupendous at looking after her, but she doesn't tend to see or talk to many other people. She is utterly devoted to me, my sister and my brother (we are aged 25, 23, and 20 respectively), but we all live in different places and can't see her as much as we'd like to. We also, simply, have no idea what she's going through. We can imagine, but as must be so common on this thread, we're just not able to fully understand how it must feel for her. She is suffering with quite severe depression too, which is making things a lot worse for her.


This is where I'm seeking help. She is desperate for someone to talk to who's in a similar situation, i.e. terminally ill as a middle-aged person. She has tried posting on forums before, but hasn't received any responses, which has disheartened her. If you feel like you could even offer her a few words, please please reach out. She, my family and I would all be eternally grateful. She just needs a friend, honestly!


Thank you so much for reading.

Frequent Contributor

Re: 46, three children, terminal cancer

Hello there,


I am sorry to hear that your mother is currently going through this but may I recommend the following information? (I hope that something I posted might be of assistance to you). Ask any of these groups to provide information regarding emotional support services.


* She could maybe call an self-help line? Thousands of people do this everyday. There is 1300MHCALL (1300 64 22 55) - Mental Health Services Access. They are able to provide information regarding supportive services and etc. You could even call them and find what services/groups are available.


* She could join an local support join, such things can make an huge difference in someone's life. You could contact the cancer council for this information or they could recommend an organisation. Ph: 13 11 20. Here is their link for additonal information (You/someone could even accompany her to some so she can get settled or comfortable).



"Cancer Council Queensland’s Cancer Counselling Service offers an opportunity to talk with nurse counsellors and psychologists who can help you with cancer-related challenges."  The Cancer Counselling Service is Queensland’s leading cancer specific counselling service. This service is staffed by nurse counsellors and registered psychologists, all with training and experience in helping people affected by cancer.


What services are available?

Because we realise people’s support needs vary, we provide counselling within a stepped model of care. This means, where possible, we start with guided self-help delivered by our nurse counsellors.

Our service is provided via Telephone and Skype, with face-to-face appointments available in some locations.


Group programs and workshops?

*Group programs are conducted over the telephone as well as face-to-face in Brisbane and selected regional offices. These programs will enable you to learn new skills in assisting you to cope with cancer and its related challenges. Our workshops, focusing on specific coping skills, such as relaxation and mindfulness, are usually delivered face-to-face in locations around the state.


What support does the Cancer Counselling Service provide?


We can assist with a range of cancer concerns including:

  • Adjusting to life with cancer
  • Stress and difficulty coping
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Loss
  • Family or relationship problems
  • Treatment side-effects
  • Sexual problems
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Survivorship
  • Fear of recurrence
  • Therapy related to end of life
  • Bereavement support

Are there fees for the service?

* There is no fee for the service, we are funded by the generosity of Queenslanders.


How do I request a referral? 

*Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to speak to one of the team who can refer you to the Cancer Counselling Service. You can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).


How do I make an appointment?

*Upon receiving your referral, our Cancer Counselling Team will contact you within two business days to make an appointment.


Appointments are available Monday to Friday during business hours, with limited after-hours appointments available by arrangement. 


(I think you can also just ask your local GP for an referral).


There is many services out there, which supply assistance.

Occasional Contributor

Re: 46, three children, terminal cancer

Hi,  I am sorry you are all going through this.  You are amazing to be so proactive to help your mother.  It must be extremely hard for you all.  I had breast cancer 17 years ago and now it has metastasised to my bones.  I have been given 2-5 years to live.  I am glad your mum has her parents to look after her.  I have no parents, family support, my 2 kids are too busy even though they love me.


it would be my pleasure to chat with your mum.  I too am very lonely and sit here night after night alone feeling sorry for myself.  


Please take care care and by proud of yourself.  Xx

Super Contributor

Re: 46, three children, terminal cancer

My advice is for you.


Your mother is dying.  Sorry if you mentioned it, but I didn't absorb how long she has, but by the sound .. it might be less than a year ?

No assumptions about your relationship with her - but if part of you feels that you want to be with her, but life is in the way ...


... if you reshuffle parts of your life to see her as much as possible, five years down the track you will regret that LESS than if you allow little potential parcels of time to drift by while you focus on other things .. work, study, whatever.


Sorry if that's harsh advice, but it sounds like you really love your mother.  I'm sorry that terminal illness is affecting her (and you, and your siblings).  

Let's say I were in my second year of university, and I were in a similar boat ... well, my mother was a junkie and .. I don't love her.  So .. it's actually hard to imagine, but .. embracing that I love my mother in the way I sense you love yours .. I'd actually (assuming I could swing it logistically and financially) take a year off school and spend a lot of time playing cards with her, gardening, whatever it is as long as we are hanging out together.


Anyway, just a random two cents from an internet stranger.  Food for thought & nothing more.


Final remark:  46 is NOT MIDDLE AGED.  FFS.  C'mon.  If I have to bloody well deal with hashtag inclusion, hashtag transgender activism and whatever other bullshit the modern world wants to throw at me, you young whippersnappers can bloody well show a bit of bloody delicacy when calling MY PEERS who are NOT MIDDLE AGED .. calling them (and by association, me) MIDDLE AGED.

Why, me ?  I'm in my PRIME.


Middle aged indeed !


(EDIT:  sorry that insane rant at the end was totally tongue in cheek.  I have cancer.  You're obligated to show me compassion and understanding 😉   )

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Occasional Contributor

Re: 46, three children, terminal cancer

Hope your mother reads this?

Im 42, in my prime have 2 children 10&2. Whom I shall not see reach your age, or my littlest girls first day of school or my sons first day of high school and it sucks. Terminal ovarian cancer stage 4. Chemo. Diagnosed 5th July 2019. 3rd Chemo Friday. Sick and suffering with diarrhea right now. Single mother. My mother has basically moved in with me and is mothering all 3 of us. Time is precious, go build memories with your mother. Walk her to the garden. Read a book to her. Sleep  beside her. Dr tells me Friday, depending on PET scan in 2wks if I'm responding to  treatment I may live 3 years if surgery is an option, or up to 12 months if I'm not responding to treatment. How do you prepare to die? Be nice to be comforted by my children, friends and loved one. It is nice to be loved this way as your walking out the door forever. 

Super Contributor

Re: 46, three children, terminal cancer

I hope your remaining time with your kids is filled with as much love, happiness, emotional nourishment as possible.


Just a couple of quick suggestions , if that's OK:


1) sounds like you're relying heavily (and solely) on the advice of your oncologist ?  Ask about immunology trials, as the science is heavily heading in that direction.  My step-father (who did eventially die) had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, metastasised throughout his body.  He was given 6 weeks to live.  On an immunology trial, he managed to stretch that out for about 5 years.  If there is anywhere that you are a candidate to jump on the scientific bandwagon and get some immunology-oriented drugs, it might give you more time (who knows, in future maybe even turn it around ? *)

* sorry if that creates unrealistic hope, but personally I reckon any kind of hope is worth reaching for, even to our last breath


2) Consider making some videos for upcoming birthdays and moments (that you will hopefully be there for).  Especially for the 2 year old, the future person she becomes may really cherish a chance to understand who her mother was, what kind of weird hobbies and ideas she had, that kind of thing.  Don't go the morbid "ohh I loved you so much, waah waah waah" route but rather tell stories about your life, articulate your thoughts and feelings and hopes about hers.  And for the ten year old, be mindful of grief on her young mind and the great memories she already has.  I'd make videos in that context "remember when we went bushwalking ? ha-ha.  I miss you, but above all else I want you to be happy."  You know what I mean .. something in the context of suffering a major loss and coming to terms with it .. not scratching at the wound and stopping it from healing but rather helping her navigate to that place. (**)

** hopefully that doesnt TAKE AWAY hope, but at the end of the day I just wanted to suggest it as I think it's a really nice way to connect the past you to the present you and into the future them


All the best & good luck

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