Does anyone have a mother who is going... - Melanoma Caregivers

Melanoma Caregivers

Does anyone have a mother who is going through treatment for Melanoma?


I am 29 years old and my mother is only 50 years old. Has there been a time in anyone's life that struggled dealing with their emotions and day to day needs? After meeting her doctor and seeing her PET scan, it's all real and all I want to do now is break down at cry. I have a family of my own but now I don't know how to balance everything out anymore. Any advice from anyone??

2 Replies

I relate to struggling with emotions. Especially in the early part of diagnosis. I had lots of melt downs and highly recommend letting yourself have all your tears. Trying to stuff all that emotion is exhausting all by itself. Is there anyone else in your family that can help? Balancing your family, moms care, and self care is a lot for one person. Let us know how we can support you.



This is a lot to shoulder, and finding a new kind of balance may take a while, and it may be that being off-balance may be the new balance?

When my children were 2 and 4 years old my mother in law was diagnosed with cervical cancer which eventually ended her life early. For a number of months we were intimately involved in helping as caregivers with other siblings, and then we were the hospice home until her last hospitalization where she died. Here are a few of my takeaways from that experience:

1. I should have asked for and accepted help offered by others sooner and more often. The toll of being a caregiver in multiple roles (wife/mother/daughter-in-law/person who asks medical questions and keeps track of medical details/part-time employee) just snuck up a day at a time. Now when folks ask "How can I help" I can say things like: come play with my kids, run the vacuum, fold clothes with me, send me jokes, bring dinner/ part of a meal, pick up these things at the grocery/pharmacy/school..., pray for us, pick up a pack of cards for all occasions and stamps, come visit my family member for 30 minutes, cut my grass, iron these shirts, get this present for a birthday party my child is attending and maybe take them with your child to the party. It took me months to recover from the load I carried in addition to the grief of losing Midge when she died.

2. You cannot, absolutely cannot, do everything you were already doing before you became a caregiver. Allow yourself to grieve this. There may be another season when you can return to this "pre-cancer" state, but not right now. Then assess, and regularly assess against your values: what is the most important use of my energy for the next week/ month/3 months? What do I need to give myself permission to say no to, and what stuff is just going to have to go by the wayside for a while (ironing, planting a garden, volunteering in the classroom, church choir practice, pharmacy pickups ) and which things do I need to continue and why (baking with the kids occasionally because it's fun and therapeutic for all of us, sitting with mom to watch something together because we laugh together, attending appointments because I'm the better tracker of information, going to bed a little earlier because I'm tired and need quiet time with my partner to decompress).

3. It will be worth it. I have never regretted a moment of the honor it was to walk these last days with my mother in law. It was a privilege to be present with her when she was actively dying. She was not afraid then, and neither was I.



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