floshoe, I think this is one of those times when you and your Mother are both right. It is a really big change in a marriage when one person has to do everything that two people did before. It is natural to resent the change and feel upset with the person who can't do what they have been able to do before. I live with this everyday. All you did was tell her what she already knows. It would have been nice if you were able to listen to your Mom but tomorrow is another day and you can tell her you are ready to listen now. Perhaps your Dad doesn't talk about how much pain he is in or how hard it is to breathe when he is anemic so all she sees is his behavior is slowed down a lot.
The question is how much do we expect from someone who has metastatic disease, a lot of pain, and months to live? Doing everything for them paradoxically shortens the time they are around. So we also need to be the ones to prod them to move, to keep going, to be as active as they can be. On the other hand he may be as active as he can be and that needs to be recognized. All of us are new to this journey and we all are learning as we go. Julie
I can relate to this BIG time. First don't kick yourself around about what you said to mom. I have a daughter and a son, when Gene was recovering from his r/c I had feelings as your mom does. My husband isn't a very positive person and I carry the positive mode for me and him. Sometimes you get tired of being the CHEERLEADER, in your moms case she has a bigger load as your dad has metastisis, thats a tough one to handle, maybe your jumping to your dads defense was just what she needed right now, it may have hurt her feelings but she may be in denial just a little bit. My energy level is high as your moms, to do things go places, but I to had to shorten the scope for a period of time and be grateful for evenings in the backyard, it is hard!!!! On the other hand your dad needs a word I use alot, COMPASSION, we have to look beyond ourself, not easy to do sometimes. My daughter also made some remarks to me that were in defense of my husband, but it woke me up a little,,and made me think,afterall he was now wearing a bag with a stoma, I have the freedom of peeing like always,, You love your dad, its hard to see him this way and feeling down, of course your going to be defensive..its okay!!! I assume they have been together for a long time, they will work it out, she could maybe go out with the girls for lunch or do something for herself to ease things a bit for her..caregivers need to do that, whatever it takes. prayers to you and your family, Ginger
Hospital Cleveland Clinic r/c Sept.14,2007
Surgeon. Dr Stephen Campbell and Gill
Gene Beane..66 Ford Motor Company
Engineer, retired Vietnam Vet
Boy, can I identify with what you said, Flo! For the last year, everything has been about Dad and all his medical needs. Mom has kind of been pushed to the background, although we certainly didn't mean to do that. Like your Mom, my Mom has cared for Dad and gone to countless doctor appointments, CT scans and procedures, ERs, etc. with nary a whimper. Dad has shared with me many times that he is worried about Mom and fearful that she is neglecting her own health while she helps him (she is 78). So Mom is worried about Dad and Dad is worried about Mom! I guess after 60 years of marriage, that's what happens.
I phone them every evening and Mom usually answers the phone. I try to chat about her day and talk about things that interest her, and even though I tell myself that I'm going to make THAT call all about Mom and not ask how Dad is doing that day, I can't help myself. My goal is to someday have at least one whole day that we don't even mention cancer!
I've only seen my Mom break down once during this whole journey and that was when we were at the hospital waiting for Dad to get a bone marrow biopsy for possible myeloma. I'm sure she has had her meltdowns and tears but just not in front of me or my brother. I think she gets her cues from Dad and he has been incredibly strong through all of the awful things he's had to go through since he got this terrible disease.
Please don't be hard on yourself. I'm sure I would have reacted EXACTLY the same way you did. And, it sounds like you have a really good idea of what your Mom's life is like while taking care of your Dad. Let her know that you know and let her know how much you appreciate her for taking good care of YOUR Dad.
OK, today is a new day...don't beat yourself up...EVERYONE in the family has emotions that are so close to the surface, sometimes you just say something you wish you could take back...
I can tell you from experience that your mother sounds overwhelmed, is there someone who lives closer that could come by and spend some time with her?
It is actually a very normal reaction to get mad at your spouse for not "fighting harder" to stay with you...this of course is not realistic...but it does happen...and is part of the process of preparing yourself for the inevitable. They have probably been able to overcome all of the adversity they have had in their lives/relationship and made it so far, and now this cancer is just something that cannot be fixed...that is tough to swallow for most of us (it was for me). Your father has probably come to grips faster than your mother...this seems to give the partner with cancer a sense of "well this is how it is", not that they are not sad about it...or that they don't want to fight...
You mom needs a hug, and for people to know that she is doing the best that she can...and so is your father...
Order a meal to be delivered to her, or some flowers...Today is a new day...don't dwell on yesterday.
If she would like someone to talk to or if she uses the computer, I would be glad to help...
Caregiver for my Wonderful Husband Angelo, who has Metastatic Bladder Cancer.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Mom is probably in a kind of denial right now and you brought home a reality check for her and even though you feel bad about it my guess is mom needed to have that check and that cry.
I remember once when i was visiting my Mom and Dad down at their Florida home and Mom started in grumbling about Dad...just venting...and i made the terrible mistake of siding with her.....to which she lit into me with "How dare you talk about your father that way after all he's done for you"......oops....I was really just trying to make her feel better. (Dad had a little transgression years before with a much younger woman..ahem...)...Anyway i learned my lesson...listen..don't talk..nod your head...change the subject.....and most importantly have some chocolate.
I know i live close to your parents...if there is anything maybe i could do for your mom let me know. Pat
Among many other things, cancer has been a real learning experience.
As you probably know, my dad is 77 and has metastatic bladder cancer which has spread to the bone. They live about 5 1/2 hours from me and my mom is his caregiver. My mom is 7 years younger than my dad, plus about an additional 10 years younger in activity level, etc. Plus, she is a great person but has never been much of a nurse. Some people just are and some are not.
All that being said, this has been very stressful for her. Her whole life now is doctors appointments, chemo appointments, etc., plus taking care of all the things my dad used to take care of.
I called tonight and she sounded upset. She had just gotten angry at my dad because she feels like he doesn't have enough energy and it is really bothering her. She feels like he is giving up or isn't fighting very hard.
Instead of just LISTENING (duh), I jumped to my dad's defense, and said (in probably a snotty voice) "Well, he does have terminal cancer, is in the middle of chemo, and just had to get 2 units of blood this week and probably only has 3 months to live, so give the guy a break." Well, this made her cry (hard) and I am kicking myself. I apologized, etc., but still am feeling so bad and I need to get this guilt off my chest.
I can't imagine how hard it is to be the caregiver and yet always be the afterthought on everyone's mind (i.e. How is dad, how is the chemo going, did the transfusions help, any fever, and talk to you guys later, with "How are you doing" as more of an afterthought.) I know her anger is just a cover for her fear that he is going downhill and she can't stop it from happening, and she can't get him to stop it from happening either.
I am feeling very sad tonight, although my visit last week was really great and felt a lot like "quality time" with both of them. I am now going to stop kicking myself and just do a little better in the future.