Monday, September 20, 2010

Feeling sigh-y

I was just telling a friend in a Facebook message how my mum is doing, and it kind of depressed me. And at that point I realized that that is why I haven't written here for a few weeks. And it's why I haven't replied to my cousin's email of last week asking how she's doing.

Because I'm a bit in denial.

If I don't go visit my mum, I can be oblivious to her hair loss and her mobility issues.

If I don't phone my mum, my brother, my sister, my dad, then I can't be told stuff I don't wanna hear. Right?

If I don't think about it or talk about it or write about it, it's not there. Right?

I'm like the three wise monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. But the "evil" is cancer.

That sounded a bit more clichéd and melodramatic than I had intended, but you get my meaning, I'm sure.

This is what I wrote to my friend:

"[My mum is] seeming quite tired, and her memory is letting her down a bit, and she's getting crotchety at times. It's quite disheartening and depressing talking to her on the phone most times now, and it makes me sad."

I can go on at greater length here, so I will.

Often when I speak to her, I have to repeat things about three times. I know this is sometimes because she has the TV on or because there are a couple of house guests, so she is distracted. But sometimes I'm fairly sure that the reason is because the cancer growths are fucking with her brain and affecting her hearing. Maybe that's not the case. But I've kind of decided it is.

And -- selfish fuck that I am, obviously -- it can be frustrating for me to have to keep saying the same thing several times. But also for her, I'm sure, it must be annoying not to hear what is being said and so to have to keep asking for someone to repeat himself.

There's also been some talk, between the younger family members (those of my generation), of prognosis and whether or not it is good for her to know if her remaining time is particularly short. We are anticipating a timescale of less than six months. While this seems very negative, it is the best guess we can make with the information we have gleaned so far, from brochures and online sources. Thus far, the doctor has not given any prognosis.

A family friend in Italy lived through a similar dilemma with her father, so my other half will ask her about that process and whether they feel they made the right choice, keeping him uninformed.

What do my blogpals here think? If the doctor thinks six months, is it better to tell her or not to tell her?

We think the prognosis will come at the end of next week, at her next meeting with her oncologist. So if we decide as a family that she is best not knowing, we need to inform the doctor before the meeting. But of course we as a family probably ought to know.

This is bullshit.

I hate thinking about this stuff. I hate writing about it. I hate talking about it.

And yet somehow, at its best, blogging about it helps me to distance myself from it. But I don't know if that's good or bad.

She's gone away for a few days now, with her husband and my eldest cousin local to her. Just a few days in a friend's caravan at a seaside caravan park. She's been looking forward to it, so even though I don't think it was the most sensible decision, I'm sure she'll enjoy it as much as is possible. And it will probably do her good not to have to deal with phone calls and house visits several times a day.

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Blogger punxxi said...

Is she getting chemo? It can cause problems with not only the brain but can cause hearing to go. I am of 2 minds on the telling of prognosis, I would hate to know it myself and I think that perhaps it causes people to give up the fight. On the other hand, I think perhaps it is better to tell her than to let someone accidently spill the beans and therefore cause her distress that her family didn't tell her. I wish you didn't have to think about it, but you are going thru the 5 stages with her...
Let her enjoy her holiday.

21 September, 2010 03:14  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Asterisk, this is terrible.. I feel for you. I would keep it from her from living these last few months how she wants to live them instead of living them for the cancer. If you tell her she has six months left she wont live to her fullest potential.. she will just give up. so I would keep it from her and let her live her life and be there when its time to be there. I know its not easy watching a loved on be sick like this..

My SIL has a brain tumor noncancerous but its still putting pressure on her brain and she has cut off all of her family because of it. So I know what you are feeling my friend.. Take care and hugs.. Hope it all works itself out for you and Red.

23 September, 2010 06:28  
Blogger Cynnie said...

i dont know .

im sort of in the same boat..i havent been calling mother or my sisters often enough ..
but my sisters are nurses is even an oncology nurse ..
and sometimes what they tell me depresses the fuck out of me ..
one sister is very blunt..even dark ..and she terrifies me !

as far as letting your mother know she has a short amount of time ..
thats iffy she going to waste what little time she has with being depressed ?
you guys will know and you'll be able to make sure she knows she's loved.
because really if she doesnt tell her great cousin twice removed that she's sorry she stole her last piece of candy when they were 5 ..
who really cares about that crap ?

23 September, 2010 18:29  
Blogger Milla said...

If you were in your mum's situation, would you like to be told or not?

24 September, 2010 10:49  

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