Sunday, May 23, 2010

How do you tell your mother?

I know I've talked about this before....but I finally had to bite the bullet. This last Thursday I got the word that I have multiple bone metastases ...shoulder, sternum, ribs, vertebrae and another on the pelvis.

My mother will be 80 soon, and my dad is 88. My mom has severe back trouble now and is in a lot of pain, and my dad has congestive heart failure and is just fading away. Both of them are of very good mental state.

But I dreaded this. How do you tell your mom and dad who have their own health issues that their youngest child is once again in the trenches fighting cancer?

I know I have lived with this for a long time, but even so, I don't want them to worry a lot, and I don't want them to go through the anguish of watching me with this disease. It's hard when something like this happens.

My husbands family has a habit of sweeping things under the rug. I tease them that the family motto is "Diga Nadie" ---"tell no one." This is kind of a laugh as usually when this phrase is used, the teller has already told everyone and you find out later that you've been keeping this secret that everyone knows. Secretos. Secrets. Lots of them. This is not the way I was raised.

I feel that I owe my family the right to hear significant news from MY mouth so I can answer questions. It didn't make it any easier. But I think I made it better for my mom. She still said she was going to be "down on her knees" (praying). That's OK. Still, I wish I didn't have to deliver such news. Meeting it head on is always the best policy. What I can conjure up in my head is usually worse than whatever anyone has to tell me....and I feel that I owe it to everyone to lay it out. The good, the bad and the cancerous.


  1. I struggle with this with each and every change. I think my mom is finally understanding that a new met doesn't mean that it's 'back again', but rather an ongoing process. The other person that I have a hard time with is my grown son who is living in Europe. I feel like I am always calling them with bad news. I don't want to feel guilty but I know I'm breaking their heart every time. It has been the hardest part of having cancer and I always have to mentally prepare myself before I make those calls.

  2. Isn't that the truth? I think sometimes it is harder for us to think of how to couch it rather than the actual process of it.

    You are SO right about it being an on-going process. I keep on telling people it is a matter of keeping us patched together until they can find something which works against the particular cells which have attacked us.

    I also have a struggle dealing with my teen-aged daughter's response to things, she is much like my husband, and sometimes she expresses disapproval of what I'm doing when in reality what she is saying is that she's concerned about me working to hard or making things more difficult than they need to be, not realizing that some of the things she sees as work (my garden) is actually something which gives me joy. I'm not thrilled with the weeding, but I love the beauty, the wonderful scents, and ripping the heads of dead flowers is far preferable to ripping her head off. :)