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I think my dear Mil is quite poorly

(19 Posts)
Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Tue 21-Aug-12 20:33:23

She's been fighting cancer on and off for two years.

She had an aggressive breast cancer. It came straight back in her bones directly her treatment finished. Then it came back in the other breast. They won't take it off, they want to see how she responds to this stronger chemo.

She is full of retained fluid. She's on oxygen because she can't get her breath. She can't get upstairs. She can just about hobble to the loo and back before she's completely exhausted. She's got no appetite and she falls asleep a lot.

She's still being offered chemo, when she's well enough to have it. Surely that's a good sign? Would she even be offered it if they didn't think her chances were good? She tells us this is all caused by the chemo but I think it's the cancer.

My dh is worried sick. And all I can think about is how I would break it to our dd's. They adore their nanna.

Really need some advice or just a hand hold. sad sad sad

ToothbrushThief Tue 21-Aug-12 20:35:47

Holding hands x

I'm no expert but chemo can be used palliatively - when a cure is not expected but chemo can alleviate some of the symptoms

Children sense a lot and feel scared by lack of knowledge. I know this from experience. Hard as it is you need to sit down and say nana is very poorly.

Svrider Tue 21-Aug-12 20:38:24

I Agee with toothbrush

CMOTDibbler Tue 21-Aug-12 20:44:51

I think what your Dh needs to do is to go with his mum to an appointment and talk to her oncologist tbh. She does sound like a very poorly lady at the moment

Rindercella Tue 21-Aug-12 20:54:26

I am so sorry about your MIL. Sadly

I would recommend making contact with Macmillan. A nurse could be assigned and make all manner of things easier for you all.

Children are incredibly resilient, and tend to see in a very back and white way. Be truthful, but in an age-appropriate way.

You, your family and particularly your MIL are going through a most horrible journey, much of it is actually beyond the control of anyone sadly. But, you can do a lot to engage the right health care professionals who are best placed to ease your MIL and make sure she is as comfortable as possible, with her pain being effectively managed.

When the time comes, there are several organisations that can help you through your loss. Cruse is one - they also have special sections for children and for life limiting illnesses.

My thoughts are with you. Cancer is a bastard.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Tue 21-Aug-12 21:50:21

Thank you all so much for all your kind words.

I think we just need to know whether she's being offered chemo as palliative care or as ongoing treatment as Toothbrush says. DMil either doesn't really know herself or doesn't want to tell us. If you ask her how she is she'll say fine. Just feel so useless. There's lots of family and we're all trying to help out and keep on top of appointments and medicines etc and make sure she's comfortable etc. She's going in for some chemo tomorrow. Well, if she's fit enough for it. I don't think she is. I think they'll keep her in to try and drain some of this fluid again.

I lost my mum years ago so she's quite like a mum to me too.

God this is shit. Can't imagine the family without her.

ToothbrushThief Tue 21-Aug-12 22:04:22

OP Not everyone wants to know if their illness is terminal (or is ready to hear it just yet) so she may not wish to know/discuss if it's terminal or palliative because it means facing it? I'm sure you know this anyway smile

I send the very best wishes for you

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Tue 21-Aug-12 22:30:33

You're probably right.

Thanks. smile

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 22-Aug-12 09:31:32

The nurse came to see her yesterday.

DFil says she said it might only be a matter of days.

I can't believe it.

My poor lovely Mil.

What am I going to tell the dd's? They're 5 and 3. The youngest might not understand but the eldest will.

Gigondas Wed 22-Aug-12 09:34:03

Google winstons wish as that has a lot of good advice on how to discuss death and deal with bereavement in an appropriate way for children.

I am so sorry for your mil and your family.

CestTout Wed 22-Aug-12 09:37:24

So very sorry to see your lastest post. Thoughts with you all.

SomebodySaveMe Wed 22-Aug-12 09:40:22

Thoughts are with you and your family.

madbutnotbad Wed 22-Aug-12 09:45:58

Oh Ilove it is a horrible time for you and your family.

I went through something similar last year with my Fil and my children. At the time my DD1 was 3 and a half and I got a book about a badger that passed away to read to her. It was Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley and she found it very comforting. Also her teachers at nursery were very good at supporting her and talking when she needed it.

I have typed and deleted several times as I just can't find the words but you and your family are in my thoughts thanks

PooPooOnMars Wed 22-Aug-12 09:49:55


This thread made me cry as i have personal experience of this.

Im so sorry for you all sad

Rindercella Wed 22-Aug-12 11:31:19

Ilovemydog I am so terribly sorry. Cancer, once it gets hold, can consume so quickly.

As I said earlier, be open and honest, in an age-appropriate way, with your children. DD1 was 3 when her Daddy died (she was actually at his bedside with me when he passed). She did understand - more than anyone thought she would actually - and she knew he was gone forever. But you know what, she has coped better than the rest of us! She misses him terribly, but children are incredibly adaptable and she has found her own way to remember him and to keep him alive in her memory.

There are a number of books which can help children at this time. I recommend particularly Tear Soup and No Matter What. Both still make me blub like mad!

Winston's Wish is great. And there are other charities aimed at helping children through grief, for example SeeSaw in Oxford, serving the local area.

I would recommend you look after you, your DH and your FIL too. Be kind to yourselves, and spend as much time as you can with your MIL in these final days.

Please PM me if you'd like to ask me anything specific.

Big hug to you.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 22-Aug-12 16:06:03

Oh Rinder sad

I want the dd's to see their Nanny but they're a bit much for her at the moment. I'll go along with whatever she wants.

Thanks for the suggestions of the books. Will be ordering them when I get home. Am out with the dd's today. Trying to make the most of what's left of the holidays. Supposed to be meeting a friend at the beach tomorrow. Don't much feel like it but the dd's want to go.

shanks313 Thu 23-Aug-12 09:20:37

I know exactly how you are feeling at the moment.
My mum has got secondary liver cancer and been in hospital since Friday ,she's had over 5 litres of fluid taken from her lungs,she's sleeping more,not wanting to eat much and can't get out of bed.
Yet she's still wanting to go away to Pontins with us on Monday.
I also have 2 young children aged 4 and 5 and they are very close to her so it's hard explaining to them.
I find it easier to try and get out the house or I think too much.
It's my poor dads birthday today and don't really feel can say happy birthday as its not happy

JodieHarsh Thu 23-Aug-12 09:24:12

I'm so sorry. We lost my beloved MIL in June after a very short (three day) illness. I was staggered by how much it hurt, and realised how very much I had loved her.

I don't have any wise words, but want you to know I understand, and many here will. MILs are so often despised, that it is very precious to know how much you love yours, and nothing can take that away from you.

Wishing your family all the best. I hope there is only good news from now on.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Thu 23-Aug-12 11:41:15

Oh bless your hearts thanks, yes it's shit isn't it?

Shanks and Jodie sad

I think I love her more than I realised. I just can't imagine the family without her bustling round and organising and laughing and cooking her big meals and chatting away. It's like losing my mum all over again.

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