Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scaredy Cat

Something's eating at me ...

I have Breast Cancer.  I found out the day before Thanksgiving.  I told everyone within a week.  Everyone but my mother. 

My mother is now living in a nursing home.  I can devote an entire blog page to how we got to this point and maybe I will someday, but for this post let's start there.  She's 87 years old and she has good and bad days, but don't we all.   She calls the Lutheran Home a jail, but without it she wouldn't be alive.  Her memory comes and goes and her health is stabilized.  As she's gotten older, she's become more and more self-centered. 

We are all, and I mean all, guilty of coddling my mother.  My mother never drove a day in her life and people would just pick her up to bring her places - my father, my Aunt Viney, her friends, her children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, etc.  That's just an example.  No one would want to upset my mother then and now. 

Here she is in a nursing home and cannot do one thing to help me.  Me, the youngest and strongest of all her children.  The one she would never expect to have this disease in her lifetime.

I'm afraid of her reaction, so I chose not to tell her yet.  I figured I would wait until it was time for me to have surgery and just let her deal with that and not all this chemo stuff.  When my hair fell out, we told her I colored my hair.  My wig is so good, she had no doubt that's exactly what happened. She even commented how close the color was to my hair from 10 years ago!  There's been an upper respiratory infection going around the nursing home and I've been avoiding going in there just as I've avoided going in anywhere.  My kids went to visit without me and my sister Donna and niece Dawn have taken my place several times.  Each of them telling my mother I've been 'sick' in some way or another. 

It's been 3 weeks since my regular weekly Monday visits and Mom is asking for me.  I don't think I can hide it from her any longer.  I have to tell her and let her just have her reaction.  She'll be upset, nervous, depressed, sad, angry, etc. I hate to think that I'll be the reason for any of that but I can't avoid it.  I think I'll make a visit to the staff social worker to alert them to what I'm going to do.  At least they can keep an eye on her for any undo reaction. 

I'm the scaredy cat.


DOI said...

Oh, boy, did this blog ring a bell with me! My mother-in-law, for whom I was the primary caregiver for many years, was in a local nursing home while I was on chemo. Her dementia was advanced enough that I could get away with never telling her that I had breast cancer. She didn't notice that my visits were much less frequent and that I stayed in the lobby while my daughter wheeled her down to visit with me there. Telling the social worker before you tell your mother is a good idea because, as you predicted, your mother will need support. Just remember that you are not the reason for her being upset -- the breast cancer is, and that is not your fault. Good luck...

Kimberly Sabatini said...

I think you are very brave to write it "out loud" because it is very very hard to be a daughter some days. I'd wish you good luck, but I know you'll be fine. ((((hugs))))