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Author Topic: My Mother In Law's Cancer  (Read 3575 times)

Offline Junkette (OP)

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My Mother In Law's Cancer
« on: December 21, 2015, 02:37:24 PM »
Last Christmas I was away from my wife because my step mom was dying from small cell lung cancer that had spread to her brain. This Christmas I will be alone with the animals because my mother in law found out monday (after 5 years of remission) that her breast cancer has returned in her spine, lungs, and rib cage. My wife is devastated. She left for Ohio this morning...on Tuesday the oncologist will speak to the whole family about the prognosis and whatever treatment options there may be.

While my wife was here I tried to be as optimistic as possible for her sake, but she knows that her mother may not have much longer to live. I suppose the worst part is how sudden this happened, it seems to have came out of no where.

Depending on what happens Tuesday I assume my wife will take FMLA and return to Ohio for the maximum time allowed, or we will begin making arrangements to move back to Ohio from Wisconsin. I really dread the thought of moving back to Ohio, the stress will be high and the heroin will be everywhere. I am also concerned about both of us being suddenly unemployed. My father would let us live with him but it's going to be an expensive move that will require the hiring of movers, vans, etc. There is a possibility that I may be able to transfer my job, but there is no such option for my partner.

This whole thing fucking sucks. I am basically just writing it down to get it out. I understand that my wife wants to spend as much time with her mother before the inevitable but there is a good chance her mother wont even want to stay in ohio (my in laws have a home in flordia)...and the stress of uprooting our lives...or just uprooting our lives in general isn't going to help anyone, or anything.

I have lost everyone in my family aside from my father, I know what my wife is going through...I was by the side of my great uncle and grandmother (who raised me) when they died. It is not my place to tell my wife what we can or can't do...but being unemployed and surrounded by heroin is only going to led me to more grief. I want to be supportive of her, I know how much she needs me right now...but considering that her family only tolerates me for my wife's sake (they aren't what i would call proud gay allies, her grandmother threatened suicide when she found out we were going to get married)...and both of my brothers are active heroin users...I have no illusions about what I'm going to be doing while my wife's hanging out with her family. 

The situation is bad folks. I'm scared for the future. Last night I finally broke down and started crying...it's sort of like seeing the tsunami off in the distance and knowing you wont be able to get out of its way by the time it hits land.

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 02:55:38 PM »
Damn Junkette...so sorry for all the shit you're going thru...I have no words of wisdom as family situations vary so wildly...but again sending good vibes your way...;)

Offline chemicalchart

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2015, 02:59:41 PM »
Sorry to hear that Junkette. I can understand your dread in uprooting your life. I went through this twice with the same partner. First her mother and then her sister, both dying of breast cancer within a single 3 year period. Luckily we all lived in the same state though still 5 hours drive away. We talked about moving down to be with her family once the sister broke the news but in the end stayed where we were and kept building our lives together. Every spare minute was given over to traveling back and forth but having a home to return to was a real lifesaver (no pun intended...). You are going to have enough pressure on you as it is. You might want to think long and hard about pulling up roots. Maybe just extended visits. The hospice people always stress to the family/caregivers how important it is to take care of yourself. Every situation is different but that was how we got through it in our case.

Offline St. Theresa

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 05:49:09 PM »
This is a tough situation to be in. I totally understand how you feel and how your wife feels. I am hoping you guys just stay strong for each other ... I hope that your mom in law is comforted during her final days and enjoys what time she has left. I'm also very sorry about the loss of you mom. :(

You're a strong one, junkette.
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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 06:25:07 PM »
Junkette, I am really sorry to hear it. This is never easy, but the holidays make it worse. Believe me I know.
Try to keep an even keel; don't make big decisions in the heat of the moment, and know we are all in your corner.

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 06:52:28 PM »
I'm so sorry to hear about this junkette. Every holiday season I deal with deaths of friends and  family. My uncle Michael died on Christmas, so there's always that memory too. I dread the holidays for exactly this reason.

If there's anything you need to make it easier please pm me and I'll help you out to the best of my ability

Try to stay as positive as you can given the circumstances bud, it's hard,  but please try

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2015, 06:56:41 PM »
I am SO sorry. For all the loss. The uncertainty of what & when to do is awful. Is there anyone, like (as mentioned above) in hospice or her coordinator at hospital who could give you any sort of information?  Like if she's even able to make a move to Florida etc? 

I wish I had better words--we had my Dad's memorial a few days ago & its definitely a hard thing (especially at Christmas), so all I know to say my heart hurts for you. Sincere condolences for all you & your wife's have lost so far & praying the stress is much less than you fear.
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Offline makita

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2015, 06:19:17 AM »

Heya sweetie,  I'm so sorry this is happening and that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  No solutions, except just to try to strike a balance between being open with your wife about your fears and your need to support her and not burden her with more now.  Could you live apart for a little while while she cares for her mom?  Could she spend a few weeks there and a few weeks home, etc?

That and make sure you have someone to vent to who is not her--one of the secrets to having a good support network in a crisis is making sure that everyone involved has people to listen and take care of their needs who are slightly less involved than they are-- the whole network should look like concentric circles of support expanding outward with the sick/dying person at the center.  Her mom can go to your wife and other immediate family for her support, those people (your wife) can go to their spouses (you), and you can go to whoever is either at your level of involvement or (better) one level removed from it ( a close friend, or another in law).   And so on. That way whoever needs support can go DOWN a rung to get it, from the people who are one step further away from the center than they are...so everyone helps distribute the stress evenly and move it out of the circle rather than just letting it build up or burdening those who are the most vulnerable with all of it. 

This can be especially hard when the sick person is someone who is used to being the center or caretaker of the family, since everyone is so used to getting support directly from them.

The good thing about moving closer to family is that you will have more opportunities to get this kind of support in person.  And I know you're worried about using, but maybe you can work on being gentle to yourself on that note and understand that its going to be very hard, and that perhaps using heroin to help you cope doesnt have to be the end of the world, esp if you don't make it that.

I would especially beware of either yourself or your wife getting the idea that your using in this situation would mean some kind of enormous disappointment or betrayal, like "how could you do this NOW?!"  Those kinds of high stakes, where you're expected to both move to this highly tempting place where this awful thing is happening, with no job, AND not use at the same time; are super unfair and unkind to either impose upon yourself or to have imposed upon you by someone else.  Dont set yourself up that way, and dont let her set yourself up by ignoring the issue out of fear and shame.

Hope you can use some of that.  Again, so sorry for you and your wife.  Losing mom is terrible. 
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 06:34:08 AM by makita »
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Offline makita

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2015, 06:33:35 AM »
oops double
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Offline Pullmyhair.

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2015, 06:47:46 AM »
That's a tough one. Until you know more about the prognosis, it's hard to really make any plans. In my experience, traveling back and forth in this situation is hard, but getting a break from it every once and a while is priceless. When my mom was dying, she lived seven hours away, and so I would spend a week or two there, and then a week or two home, luckily I have siblings that were able to help out in between. As far as your wife is concerned, all you can do is be supportive, I mean you can try and suggest not moving (if traveling back and forth is doable for you guys, and again, until you know the prognosis, who knows if moving will even make sense). You don't want her to end up resenting you for not being able to spend more time with her mom, though. Yeah, it's a tough one.
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Offline makita

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Re: My Mother In Law's Cancer
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2015, 06:55:26 AM »
PMH has a good point.  Also fwiw although my mom and I were close and had a loving relationship, her illness changed some things about her and she ended up refusing both my and my half brothers' (not her kids) offers to come out and help care for her in an intensive way.  She just wanted my dad to do it, and she wanted us to come visit (and we did), and part of that may be that she wanted me to stay in school (I had just started grad school when she was diagnosed)...but I think also it was easier for her to focus on herself and muster her energy for attempted healing and survival without being reminded of how much she had to lose if she died.  And that also suited my dad just fine, who liked to complain about how overwhelmed he was but didnt want anyone to step in and help. 

I wish I could have taken more of a central role in her care, like she did with her mom and like PMH did with her siblings.  But it wasn't what she wanted/needed and I tried to respect that. 
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