Hi everyone. I'm looking for advice or experiences anyone has had around supporting a loved one facing the last stages of their cancer battle and their loved ones to have painful and difficult conversations. My mum was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer 9 years ago and has been in constant treatment since then, keeping it at bay. However the Drs are starting to run out of treatment options and her health is inevitably declining with every treatment and new cancer spread. I'm 29 and an only child and so I feel a lot of the emotional responsibility for caring for them both through this. My mum and dad have always had difficulty talking about or planning for her death and neither of them have ever seen a psychologist or counsellor, but now we are faced with the likliehood that these are her last months to a year. I want to find ways to start and support the conversations they need to have about palliative care, what the end looks like, what life might look afterwards. Even writing this is making me tear up and so I too need support to process what this means, though I at least have been seeing a mental health professional during her illnesses. Basically, what have people experienced as positives and negatives about these conversations, how the health system can be of use, what are the things that we need to think about? I'd like to find a way to start these conversations happening before decisions have to be made under even more stress and emotion. Thank you in advance for anyone who can share their own experiences or advice on this painful topic.
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Hi Phoebe I really related to much of what was in your post. Especially about the dual difficulty of worrying about your parents, watching them suffer and simultaneously needing their support through such an awful time. No matter how old we get, we still need our parents for some things and it's really challenging when they're not in a position to provide that support. I just wanted to ask how you were going and if you had managed to find someone to turn to? I am here because my psychologist recently suggested I try and find people experiencing the same things to talk to. As much as friends can be kind and supportive, it's not always enough when they don't fully understand the complexities and emotions of living with a parent who is dying of cancer. So thank you for posting what you did, it really connected with me and it took a lot of bravery and honesty to admit to feeling so overwhelmed. Keep holding on. You're not alone.
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Hello everyone, My mother was diagnosed with agressive stage 4 breast cancer. She was given six months to live. That was 6 years ago now, and since then she has endured countless rounds of chemo, multiple surgeries, radiation and infusions. The cancer has since spread to her bones, chest wall, stomach lining, ovaries, kidneys and liver. It has been a long time since her diagnosis but just recently my psychologist suggested I try to find a form of support group. You see I am on only child with no extended family and, I have realised, no friends who can understand my position - as much as they are sympathetic and supportive. So I guess I'm looking for any advice on finding support groups or networks for people whose parents have been diagnosed with terminal cancer and/or are undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, although I was much younger when she was diagnosed, I am now older than 25 and many of the services out there are for under 25s. If anyone has any suggestions for where or how to seek out this information, I would really appreciate it. Thanks, Lucinda PS. Ideally I'm looking for face-to-face support groups in the Melbourne area.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.