Keeping it Together

How do I keep it together while she battles Cancer and Dementia?

I don’t even know how to begin this one. I’ve held such a heavy heart the last few weeks with the cancer diagnosis and just regular everyday stresses. Now the suspicions of what lay before me are an ever present reality.

It started with little forgetfulness every so often. Forgetting what day it is, forgetting conversations. Now with the added stress of her cancer and the constant phone calls and barrage of appointments the anxiety has kicked us into hyper-drive. I keep hoping its just the lack of oxygen with her COPD and the anxiousness. But having watched my grandma (her mother) with Alzheimer’s I know this is just the beginning of something much worse.

I have such love and support from my friends who have also witnessed this Evil disease. The horrors that are yet to come with my mom are all memories of our grandmothers. So I have them to lean on and cry to and commiserate with. It helps a bit but then the phone rings and I’m repeating a conversation with my mom that I just had hours before.

I’ve started going to doctor appointments and being the contact of care for her to help my dad out. It lessens his stress while he deals with her anger and confusion on a much more personal level than I get to see. He’s surrounded by it constantly. I am aware of it but not with her 24/7 so the poor guy gets the brunt for sure.

We have good days and bad. The bad are starting to outweigh the good.

It’s become a game of pulling doctors aside and making phone calls behind her back to establish care. I do so to keep her dignity. I know at times she realizes that she’s confused and struggling but, I don’t want to throw it in her face.

The other night I finally had a melt down. Melt down would honestly be an understatement. I’ve not cried so hard and helpless since Kevin’s cancer diagnosis so long ago. I felt so selfish bawling like a child over something I cannot control. All the while I just kept repeating. “I’m not the bad-ass everyone thinks I am…I can’t do this!”

Bad-ass is what my mom always was. If she wanted something done. She did it herself. Rarely did she depend on the help of anyone. She didn’t sit by and wait. She took charge and handled shit. She taught me everything but did she teach me how to be strong enough to handle this?

“You have been assigned this Mountain to show others that it can be moved.”

Anonymous

My heart is so heavy and my entire body aches with sorrow. All I want to do is lay in bed for a week. But that’s giving in and letting this beat me down. There are so many depending on me. At a time in my life when my girls are grown and my life should be my own to live…I’ve taken the place at the helm of a ship heading into the next battle. I feel so guilty for having such selfish thoughts. Again it just goes back to the self doubt of can I really do this?

A Sign at my mom’s Oncologist!