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Being My Mom’s Caregiver

Black and white photo of hand touching pond

Rings on Water

I was the primary caregiver for my Mother while she was terminally ill.

My life was getting back together after a horrible divorce of thirteen years of marriage. I have three children who at the time were in their teens and I had just bought a house. My life had been such a mess through all of this for me and the children. After we bought the house it seemed things was getting back to normal and life once more would go on peacefully, or so I thought.

My Mom and I were best friends and very close. She had not been feeling very well and was having dizzy spells often so she decided to go see an eye doctor. She had not been in a long time and thought maybe she needed her glasses changed. Well when she went for her exam the Dr. could see something not normal in her eye. They sent her for an MRI to see what was going on. I have two sisters and a brother. All of us was very scared and wasn’t sure what they would come across.

They did the test and a couple weeks later called us all to the Dr. office so he could explain his findings. We all went together and as we sat in the room that was so cold, he began. She has an inoperable brain tumor, it is a very slow growing tumor and it is on her brain stem like a doughnut. I can still remember only hearing the words inoperable brain tumor. Trying to hold back my tears for fear my Mom would even be more frightened. I began to stroke her arm. I felt numb from what I was hearing and the only person I saw in the room was my Mother.

We asked all kinds of questions as to what would happen to her, he said she may go blind, have seizures, not remember things, and of course where the tumor was around her brain stem it would grow and cut off her life. These were among the worse symptoms. We asked if there was anything they could do and he said radiation, but other than that nothing. Because it was around her brain stem they could not take it out, one slip and it would kill her. We asked him how long she had to live and he said he could not say, that he thought the tumor had been there for about 10 years already. That made us all kind of take a breath of relief for a minute because maybe by the time the tumor got worse they would find something more they could do to save her.

After the Doctor’s visit things went on as normal except I took more time to spend with Mom and make sure she was alright. She lived alone so that was very important to me. We had all discussed radiation to her, but she really didn’t want to do it. She had lost her partner of ten years to cancer two years earlier and he had had many many radiation treatments and it did not help. She had already seen the horror of radiation sickness and did not want to go through that. After lots of pressure from all of us kids she said okay, I’ll do it.

Read the full story here.

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