The Bomb Shell – Part Deux

So I went back to work yesterday and all that stress I’d been *missing* came flooding back. I feel like a ticking time bomb. I had another windscreen washer moment today when one of my bosses had a crack at me for not going to a meeting that had been rescheduled to today, when I had another commitment. I lost it. The proverbial dam burst and there were tears everywhere (damn! – pun intended). Ugh. Part of me wants to take more time off, and part of me just feels like a failure.

Is this something I’ll miss if my mother lives with me? Possibly. I mean, I’ll miss the freedom I feel to just burst into tears at any old time in any old place. Reality is I need my space. I decided last week that if I knew my mother wouldn’t live for very long then I wouldn’t hesitate to live with her – for all her faults, I love her – but if we’re talking 10, 15 or 20 years, then, umm, we kinda need to have a different conversation. So I speak to my GP, who I have a really good relationship with, and I speak to her oncologist.

The long of the short of it or the short of the long of it is that it seems she really doesn’t have that long. May be two years at most. At most. Ugh. Even though the primary cancer has been removed, she has a couple of mets to deal with, meaning one, more likely two, more rounds of surgery and another six months of chemo, but apparently she’s discussed not having more treatment with her oncologist, which means she has up to two years. Up to. At most. Absolute maximum.

To say I was shocked at this news is an understatement. Shocked because every discussion I’ve been involved in has involved treatment and cure, not no treatment and no cure. Also shocked that I may only have her for such a short time – and yet there’s all these things she needs to teach me, like how to cook pancakes, how to sew a button on, and how to remove stains from things! 😉

And so I don’t exactly say yes to the living arrangements, but I don’t exactly say no, either. How can I say no? Like many of you, the WT says I can but I “won’t” or “don’t want to”. Yep, I guess she’s right. I don’t want to say no to a dying woman, even if I don’t quite want to live with her, either, although part of me does so I can spend time with her and take care of her.

And now to top it all off there are two new lumps in her armpit. They could be anything, I realise that, but of course, given the circumstances, well… you know what I’m thinking.

So now I’m exploring the possibility of renovating my place so there’s more room – at least two “living” areas where we can do our own thing. I’m not sure it will work, but it’s worth looking at, and for me is a better option than moving. Certainly cheaper, and this way I get to keep (may be even improve) my lovely little house.

I don’t know, it still doesn’t feel right, but it is what it is. If she decides to have the treatment then she’ll probably stay with me for six months or more anyway (her treatment being in the city and her home being in the country)… may be this is a better way to do the six months? I don’t know. It’s all messy and swirly in my head. If she’s moving in, I want to make it comfortable (for me) sooner rather than later; and if she’s not, well… I’m not sure how to deal with the temporariness of the current arrangement anyway. It feels like a no win situation. Sigh.


9 thoughts on “The Bomb Shell – Part Deux

  1. (((Kerro)))

    I’m so sorry about the news about your mother. I wish there was something I could do. I think you can say yes or no to your mother’s request but only you can weigh the many different facets to the decision, the difficulty for you in living with her, the time she has left, how you feel about your obligations to her. If I had any advice it would be to try and make the arrangement temporary and put off making a final decision about her request. I know it is awful to live like that but I don’t think doctors are always right when they make those assessments. The human body and spirit are not always easily predicted nor the patterns of a disease. I certainly know of people who have lived much longer than the doctors expected as well as people who were told they had a year left who died within two weeks.

    I’m sorry work is adding to your stress but I you are juggling so many different things I think occasional upsets and outbursts should be expected. Take as much care of yourself as you can as well as acknowledging it probably isn’t possible for anything to be enough right now.

    Love and hugs,

  2. Wow.

    I don’t suppose there’s any way she could live near you, but not with you, is there? Are her resources such that she could afford a small apartment and perhaps a caregiver/assistant for big primary stuff, so that you could focus the time you spend with her on what you’d like to salvage from the relationship?

  3. Wow is right. A small apartment nearby would be the perfect solution. Unfortunately she couldn’t afford that. Well, she could, but it wouldn’t be accessible because it wouldn’t be on the ground floor and she couldn’t afford an apartment block with a lift. The alternative is she buys something not-so-nearby. If her prognosis was for a full recovery that would be ideal – I could visit semi-regularly and spend time doing things we both enjoy. Unfortunately at the moment she’s too sick and weak to live on her own – though thankfully she can still do the “big primary” stuff for herself. I don’t plan on doing that for her, but I guess I will end up doing it in the short term. She’s got too much money to be eligible for the services provided by the state, yet not enough to afford this privately for very long. Interesting issue to think about, though.

  4. Thanks Di, I really appreciate your kind thoughts. There is a lot to weigh up, and I’m not sure I have the brain space for it, at the moment. I would love a temporary arrangement, though I’ve had that now for more than six months and it’s driving me (and her) batty! Of course, the doctors aren’t always right and that makes this even harder. One of my concerns is that the predicted two years is wrong and she lives for much, MUCH longer. That sounds terrible, but if that’s to be the case then I think a different living arrangement would be better. Of course, if she only lives two weeks, this is all irrelevant…

    I am trying to take care of myself, though admit some of my skills have fallen down lately. I’m trying not to beat myself up, but it seems harder to fight the inner critic with all her old messages when I’m exhausted and busy.

  5. Wow, that is a lot to deal with, and so many unknowns. It’s hard to make decisions under those circumstances. I definitely can relate to her decision not to have further treatment, it sounds like she is considering quality of life over extending her life. That is admirable to me.

  6. Thanks Harriet. It’s really hard to make any decisions, which I guess is a good reason not to make them. I completely respect my mother for saying “no more” – I don’t like it, but I respect it.

  7. Hi Kerro,

    Well it sounds like you can wait some time to make a final decision, as you said for the next six months she would be staying with you no matter what. I’m sorry that you got a bomb like this dropped on you. We are thinking of you.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  8. I’m so sorry this is happening to you both (((Kerro))). You’ve both had such a tough year, and now this! Far out!!

    As another solution, is your section big enough to put a small “granny flat” on it? This could either act as your office (i.e. escape), or as your mothers living quarters while she’s well enough to do things by herself. I’m not sure what the possiblities are over there, but here we have several designs which include a garage and flat/office, or just a flat/office type arrangement. It could add value to your property, while giving you both space.

    I can understand your mother not wanting further treatment – she’s had such a rough road with this last round.

    Sending you lots of positive thoughts,

  9. My goodness, Kerro, you have been dealing with a lot lately. I’m glad you have a new back-up therapist now so you can have extra support while dealing with all this. I wish you well through deciding about your living with your mom and caring for her. These next two years are going to bring so much. Have you ever seen “marvin’s room” with Diane Keaton? It’s about that decision, to live with an ailing parent, and what that can mean to your own development. Safe hugs to you 🙂

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