Should I or shouldn't I?: Hello Ladies... - SHARE Metastatic ...

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Should I or shouldn't I?

Hello Ladies,

I have had a lot of personal issues going on over the past few months (aside from the disease) that has caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. My husband has been a big help and I have done my best to rest and not let things overwhelm me. But now I am stumped about what to do.

As those of you who know me are aware, my husband is American. He wants to plan a trip for us to go back to Montana to visit our family in September. I've not been since 2012 and he hasn't seen them in about three years. One minute I feel like I want to go, but then I feel that he would be better off going alone. I just don't really know what to do. I know that if I don't go I will regret it, and if I do go I might worry about my dad and brothers and if they will be alright without me. My dad is widowed and both my brothers have learning disabilities and autism, so my dad relies on me and my husband for help and support, especially for my middle brother, who still lives at home with him. I think my dad would manage if I went for just a week or 10 days, and if I let social services and others know in case something comes up.

I also feel like I owe it to my husband to go. One of his sisters died recently, and there have been other serious issues going on over there too. What should I do? I just feel so undecided and torn. Oh, and I hate long haul flights!

Thanks for listening to my ramblings!

Sophie

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I would go. It’s 10 days. It will fly by. You’re more likely to regret not going than going xxx

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Hi Ellie,

Thank you! I haven't really spoken much about how I am feeling, but bringing it out in the open makes it easier to deal with. I know that going would be the right thing to do. I haven't seen my in-laws in years, apart from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law who came to visit us a few years ago. So I do owe them a visit. Thanks for helping me think things through!

Sophie x

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Go!! You are entitled to live too!!!

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Thanks for the encouragement!

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From my own experience, what I tell myself...just go. I fly tomorrow and I don't feel like it at all...not packed, still have meds to pick up, easier to stay home, and on and on. So i just go...and I'm always glad I did.

Sending positive vibes your way!

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Hi Anna,

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I know what you mean about justifying staying home. I have my own little comfort zone. I have my own routine for work, appointments, taking my medication, exercise, diet, and so on. I also worry that everything will be out of sync while I am away with different time zones, food and so on. But maybe I should just embrace it?! Enjoy your trip.

Sophie x

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Thanks! Here's to starting another day. Not much time to sit in my "nest"...but I'm packing my heating pad! Here goes...

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You're welcome! Are you travelling far?

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Far for me! Mass to Colorado. It's hard but I have some alprazolam to help relax me and wheelchair assistance to help in big airports. I have aisle seats so I can move at will. But still, im fighting not just to go back to bed...but our son is taking me to breakfast. All good things but Pheeeeww. Just go, Anna and Soph!

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That is a long way, Anna! I love Colorado. It's so beautiful there. I just struggle with the altitude sickness. It sounds like you have got it all planned. Have a great time. x

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I like my heating pad so much that is is also pack worthy. My mini personal food blender is also scoring high on what should not be left behind. The fresh smoothies make me feel very healthy! Faith

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I agree sometimes I feel like I’m not well enough to go out for the evening with friends and once I do I’m usually glad I did. It helps to take your mind off of the big C! 😊 Enjoy

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Hi SophSP, you have so much on your plate! No wonder you feel as if you don't know if you are coming or going. I would say: decide to go and then don't allow yourself to dither further on the decision, it has been made! Your husband will very much appreciate you being with him and a break from your immediate family, while understandingly approached with worry and trepidation, will do you a world of good, enabling you to cope much better when you get back. You are right, you will regret it if you don't go. You say the American side of the family has had some serious issues too over recent years. Well focusing on someone else's problems for a while may take your mind off your own, which again is no bad thing. Do what you can in preparation (is there a Women's Royal Voluntary Service near you, they may help out with your dad while you are away) and then go and enjoy yourself. Your dad is very lucky to have you around nearly always but you need to look after you and your husband too. Can't make the long-haul flight any more pleasant though! Best wishes with whatever you decide xxx

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Hi Louisa,

Thank you! This past year really has been a nightmare with so much going on with my side of the family, as well as my husband's, not to mention dealing with the ups and downs with this disease. But when I think of all the new babies and spouses who have come along in recent years, I need to get over there and meet them all! I know that when I am over there I will enjoy myself. We usually like to take a day trip into Canada as well, as the American-Canadian border is only an hour away.

Sophie

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SophSP. We may only have one life. Some believe differently. But I am constantly asking myself lately, “what would I absolutely LOVE to do?” That is the deeper issue here. What do you want. While you can do what you can do, do you want to do it? Or miss out? Thinking of others is lovely. Kind. A good thing. But giving up yourself is not what you need to do all the time.

❤️

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Hi Tam,

You are right about figuring out what I want to do. I want to relax, spend time with family and friends, take in the beautiful scenery (northwest Montana is gorgeous), maybe visit Glacier National Park and go to Canada as well. That's what I enjoy doing when I am over there.

Sophie x

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Oh Sophie I don't think you will come this far but if you do come to Calgary it would be so cool to meet you.

Sandra

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I would love that! I just Googled it and it's 5 hours!

Sophie x

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Wouldn't that be so much fun...being able to chat in person. Yes I know it's not super close unfortunately.

Sandra

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I will talk to my husband and maybe make a trip up to Calgary. The Brit in me is saying five hours is the ends of the earth, but we have travelled much longer distances than that before! x

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I just just thinking about Radium Hot Springs. Have you ever been there? How about if we met there? I saw signs for it when we were on our way to Kimberley last time we were in Canada, but we didn't travel that far. x

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Oh gosh Sophie I haven't been to Radium Hot Springs since the 90's. It's quite a tourist area. I will be due for my bone and CT scans in September....should get the booked dates sometime soon so I couldn't make a promise that I could go there until I know that. Stay tuned.

Sandra

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I understand, Sandra. I imagine Radium Hot Springs is a big draw for people. It's just the kind of place to like to visit! Did you like it when you visited before?

Sophie

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I honestly don't remember. It's so long ago. I live in an historic town close to the Rocky Mountains and I'm only an hour from Banff National Park so most of what would be offered there is already at my footstep so to speak. The Hot Springs would be the big draw and honestly I never get in waters that are shared with thousands of people...there are usually inhabited largely by tons of kids and I try to avoid those type of areas.

Sandra

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Oh, OK. I see what you mean. It sounds like a breeding ground for germs! I didn't think about that.

Sophie

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Sandra - my cousin jokingly refers to hot tubs etc as “people stew”. 😀

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I guess it's really about how your hubby feels about you staying home and he can have quality time with family, and you can be comfortable at home; but if he really needs you to go, then go. Sometimes we put stuff on ourselves that our spouse would be perfectly fine with us not participating. It's all about that inner voice, God will give you peace and guide your steps. It doesn't have to be about being sick that makes you decide to stay home, like you said, you are the caretaker of your family. Ok, well I've rambled on enough, I hope you get my meaning ... my hubby went to ER last night and in hospital so I haven't had any sleep and shouldn't be saying anything really ... prayers for my Phil, please, he had afib with chest pains and they're going to shock his heart back into rhythm in the morning. Thank you and whatever you decide, go with the peace of God and you'll never go wrong! <3 God bless you and heal us all in Jesus name, amen!

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Praying for your husband's recovery!

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Thank you for the words of encouragement! I am so sorry to hear about your husband's visit to the ER. How is he feeling today? Is he in a stable condition? My mum had atrial fibrillation too, so I can understand your concerns. The doctors shocked her heart, but it did not work. Hopefully your husband's heart will start beating normally again.

Sophie x

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they found out it was a heart attack. they did the angiogram today and said no mor blocked than it was 2 years ago, can't stint where it's blocked so they said blood flow was adequate and atrial fib could have caused the enzymes/heart attack symptoms ... so he is stable and coming home tomorrow, thank you Jesus! this was no. 4 ... so thankful to still have my hubby! thanks for the prayers! <3 xo

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Oh so sorry to hear the news of your hubby but glad that you got him in quickly and he was able to have the angiogram done quickly to rule out the blockage. My thoughts are with you. Trying times for sure. Take care of yourself though too.

Sandra

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thank you sweetie! <3 xo

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Oh no. How stressful that must have been for you. I'm pleased to hear your husband will be coming home.

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He's home! YAY! thank you!

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oh and Montana IS beautiful! you will see why they call it "big sky country". just stay away from the cliffs!

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Thanks! I've been to Montana on a number of occasions. I have not come across any cliffs though... 😂😂😂

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well I just said that because of all the accidents happening this summer with people falling off "scenic view" places, that's all ...

Here's a "cliff" note LOL

anyplaceamerica.com/directo...

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Eek! That sounds scary! When you hear of people taking selfies on the edge of cliffs and that sort of thing it does make you wonder what is going through their minds! I've not been to any of these cliffs. Thanks for mentioning them! I always think of cliffs right by the coast, not in landlocked areas.

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Yes I would go too. Also you present it as effectively a balance between pleasing your dad and siblings or pleasing your husband I get a sense that deep down there is a tiny bit of pleasing you in going to the States. You need a break and the change of scenery will surely help... Your husband has been by your side through this , it would be lovely for you both to do something you can both enjoy... Yes long haul flights are hell but worth the trouble in this case I would say...

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Hi Marie,

Thank you for your message. I think you are right. If I go, I will be glad I did and a change in scenery will do us both some good. We can stay with one of my husband's brothers, and hopefully get to visit as many relatives as possible.

Sophie x

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I agree a change is good. I’ve never been to Montana but it sure looks amazing. Enjoy. You and your husband deserve this.

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Thank you, Martha. Montana is a beautiful state. It is very sparsely populated though considering how large it is. The population is just over 1 million! In contrast, the UK is densely populated.

Sophie

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Hi Sophie,

I hope you go. I can relate so well to what you are going through. I vacillate every single time I plan a trip. Up until the time I get on the plane, I think of every reason why I shouldn't go. The time leading up to a trip is so stressful. I become very irrational and get everything in order as if I'm not going to return. I really thought that after I was diagnosed, I would become more carefree about traveling, but the opposite has happened. I think I feel safe and more in control by staying home, but that's not a good way to live.

One of my main areas of stress is my middle son. Like your brothers, my son is autistic (relatively high functioning) who also has seizures (under medication and seizures are rare - maybe once a year), but I still worry about him when I'm gone. My husband works from on the few occasions when I travel, so that helps.

I must tell you, though, once I go, I am always happy that I went through with it. I think your idea of letting social services and others know about your plan to travel is a good one. It will give you some peace of mind.

I wish you well, whatever you decide is best for you and your family. You sound like such a devoted and loving sister and daughter.

Barbara

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Hi Barbara,

Thank you for your kindness and words of support! It is so good to be understood by someone else in my position. I sometimes feel guilty going away and leaving my family, thinking about how I could have been there to help my dad or done more with my brothers. But I do need a bit of a breather.

My middle brother is in respite tonight until Thursday, and just before 4:00pm I was thinking "The taxi will be dropping him home from his day centre soon". So I was planning to go wait with my dad for him to come home (they live three doors away). Then I remembered he wasn't coming home tonight! So I get what you are saying about your son. My middle brother's autism is moderate, and he can function fairly well, but my oldest brother needs a lot more support. He moved out of residential care in 2017 and now lives in an assisted living facility two miles from here.

Thanks again,

Sophie x

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First of all, so sorry for the loss of your sister in law.

Bless you, you're torn every which way aren't you. One of my daughers is severely autistic so I know only too well the challenges involved. Have you spoken to your dad about it? I know you say he relies on you to help, but I'm sure he wouldn't want you to miss out. My daughter lives away from home now but when she was at home, she used to go into respite care occasionally when we were desparate for a night's sleep - is that an option during your absence? If not for the whole time, maybe for a few days to help. Also as you say, let the social worker know, and anyone else who's involved. Maybe you prepare some meals before you go and freeze them for dad and brothers to have while you're away - that way you're still helping even if you're not there. Divided loyalties are the worst but, let's be honest here, we need to live for today and take every opportunity that comes along. And also, your hubby hasn't had the best of times recently has he so he'd probably appreciate the support too. I say go for it.

As for not liking long haul flights, I can't help with that, only to say have a stiff brandy beforehand :).

xx

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Hi Mindy,

Thank you. The loss of my sister-in-law was unexpected. She asphyxiated when her oxygen supply was somehow cut off (I don't know how that could have happened) and my niece found her. But it was too late by then to save her.

I haven't actually spoken to my dad about our plans to go to America. He will probably encourage me to go. There's been a lot going on with him too. He has been recovering from a broken ankle and other injuries, and there have been lots of hospital appointments following his recent cataract surgery too, with two more coming up and another one booked in with the diabetic clinic (we didn't even know he was diabetic. I need to find out for sure during the appointment) at the end of the month.

Thanks for the tips about how to help while we are away. I hadn't thought about freezing some meals for them while we are away. That's a good idea. My brother's September dates are not until 16-18th though, so I don't know if I could possibly change them around to coincide with our trip. I can ask. Respite makes all the difference, don't you think? When my brothers were children we all needed a break, as I am sure your family did too. It is a lot to cope with.

Thanks again!

Sophie x

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oh blimey Sophie, that's so tragic and how awful for your poor niece. I can't even imagine it.

That's a lot for your dad to cope with so I can understand why you'd be so worried about him. I would definitely enquire about the dates for your brother - I'd even ask for them as extra dates, rather than changing them. It's not as if you're landing it on them at the last minute and respite is set up for these eventualities. I'd say your family sound like very worthy candidates and there are very real genuine reasons for asking. We were always so grateful for respite, it really was a life line for us. Without it, I think I'd have gone mad. I spent years sleeping on the landing, keeping her contained in her room so she didn't run riot around the house disturbing everyone else. I could have slept in her room with her but I refused to start that one off - I'd still be there now lol. Definitely impacts the whole family. On the plus side, Amy's brother and sister are the most understanding, caring and compassionate people I know and I'm sure a lot of it is down the our circumstances. :). xx

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Yes, it's been a tough time lately. I asked my husband if he wanted to go over right away after his sister died, but he said he wanted to wait until things had settled down a bit more and keep to the original plan of going in September. I'm sure it will still be an emotional time though. She was my matron of honour at our wedding and I have some really good memories of her.

We will start looking at flights after Thursday. Another thing we have been dealing with is a health scare for my husband. He found a lump on the back of his head recently, so he is having an ultrasound to see what it is. When the doctor examined him she said it feels like a lipoma, which is basically a piece of subcutaneous fat. So it's not been easy trying to plan anything until we know what we are dealing with. If it is cancer then I don't know if we will have to stay put as he has more tests or starts treatment.

I will see about changing the dates. I can't ask for any more, as my brother is booked in all the way through to March 2020. I even asked for a swap recently when I had to go down to London to see Dr Callebout and they said no, so if they don't have the availability they won't give us someone else's slot. It sounds like you went through a lot with your sister. I can relate. My brothers did not always sleep well either.

Sophie x

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never ending xxx Good luck to you and your husband for Thursday. I truly hope it's the a lipoma like the doctor thinks it is. Ah shame about the respite dates, I thought perhaps there'd be some emergency dates left open but I suppose they perhaps wouldn't class a holiday as an emergency anyway. Like all the other ladies say though, you have had such a lot on and as much as we care about everyone else, sometimes you have to put yourself first and do what you want to do. xxx

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Thank you. We are trying not to worry. I am hoping the doctor calls back the same day with the results. If we are called in to see her in person, then I will worry.

I will try to change the respite dates, but I am not holding out much hope. When my dad was hurt I asked if we could change the dates and they said no. Then they turned round and said "If there's anything we can do to help..." Erm, yes, there was! But they refused to help when we could really have done with their help. Sorry for the mini rant. I just don't like the false offers of help, if you know what I mean.

Sophie x

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I pray that your dad's issue is just a lipoma. Sending hope for a good outcome.

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Also Sophie maybe you can book a flight with layovers so you get breaks from what would be a really long direct flight!

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Sophie

The right decision is what brings you peace and no regrets even if it’s uncomfortable. Since your husband supports you with your family I would do same for him.♥️♥️Love

Frances

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Hi Frances,

You are right! My husband moved thousands of miles away to be with me and my family, so I should be prepared to go back with him for a visit. I called him up at work earlier and told him that provided nothing else happens (we have had some major issues to contend with recently) I will go with him.

Sophie x

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♥️♥️♥️

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Go while you are in good health yourself ...You deserve it and so does your husband . x

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Thank you! I think I probably will. I will keep you ladies posted! x

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Poor Sophie...but remember there’s only one of you!!.. you can’t do it all

If you hadn’t been born for example then what would they all be doing now?...exactly...they would be getting on with their lives somehow maybe with the help of social services or whatever else that’s available

You deserve to have a holiday with hubby...but only if that’s what you want though...be selfish and please yourself

Whichever way you decide to go...you’ll feel like you’re letting them down...well you’re not!!

I sound as hard as nails but I’m not...women have a tendency to try to please others...I always ask myself ‘what would s man do?’....they would put themselves first

Barb XX

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Hi Barb,

You're right. If I had not been born my parents would have figured something out. As it is, my mum did a lot during her lifetime. Even while she was going through cancer treatment she was my middle brother's primary carer as my dad still worked. I would cook meals, do their laundry and take my brother off her hands for the odd weekend or day to give her a break, as she had a hard time with chemotherapy.

When I moved to America the first time, my mum was around. But the second time was after she died and I always worried with how my dad was coping. I would come home every year, always worried about what needed doing, how I could help in the 4-6 weeks I was here and then go back knowing I had to move back as there was only so much I could do across the Atlantic. So we did, back in 2012. Social services, respite, and the day centre all seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief when I moved back as I could take over and make sure they were alright. It had to be done. So I suppose what I am trying to say is you are right. My family coped with my brothers before I was born and also during the time I was living abroad, so a holiday won't make much difference. I took short breaks last year and the beginning of this year, but I have not gone away for a week or more in years.

Sophie x

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Dear Sophie....your life is a world wind isn't it and you spend so much of your time putting others first. You deserve this vacation with your hubby and I say go for it.

Sandra

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Hi Sandra,

Yes, you could say that! I just wish things would settle down a bit and I could live more of a "normal" life (whatever normal is with this disease!) I think I know what I need to do!

Thank you!

Sophie x

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P.S. Which Canadian province do you live in? I have visited British Columbia a few times from Montana. It's only about an hour's drive to the border.

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I'm in Alberta.

Sandra

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Ah, OK. Your country is beautiful! The last time I visited Canada we went to Kimberley in British Columbia. It felt so strange seeing all the Union Jacks and talking to people about the Queen on such familiar terms when we had just been in America earlier that day.

Sophie x

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Yes it is thank you. Montana is about a 8 hour drive from where I live though unfortunately.

Sandra

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That is quite a trek! Montanans can drive for 10 hours and still be in Montana! Distances over there are baffling. It used to take us 17 hours to drive from northern California to Montana.

Sophie x

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I visited Calgary and went to Lake Louise and Banff. Absolutely beautiful part of the world :)

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Cool. I live just over a hours drive outside of Banff. The mountains are beautiful.

Sandra

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Can you have a home care service Che k in on them? How long does your husband want to be away?

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Yes, that's a possibility. I will probably let social services know. My husband wants to be away about a month, but 7-10 days would be my limit. He doesn't mind that. x

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Hi Sophie... first of all thank you for sharing your story with us. Although many of our questions and concerns are about our health or the treatments we are enduring, but we are also faced with many other personal challenges. It seems like your husband is very supportive of you. I am in a similar dilemma. My mom (82 years old) lives with me and suffers from dementia. I am an only child and I am all she has! She was my rock my entire life and retired when I had my first son...then went on to taking care of my second son. My boys are 17 and 11 now. She has been by my/our side my entire life and I cannot find words to describe all she has done for my family and I. She has traveled with us since my first son was born and this year will be the first she will not travel with us. She doesn't know I have cancer. How can I possibly tell her? My family and I will be going away for a week soon and I am so heartbroken. My stress and anxiety levels have been through the roof last couple of days. At times, my heart feels like it's coming out of my chest. My mom will be taken care of, but I am still going to worry about her, BUT WE need to continue our lives. With this said, GO ON THIS TRIP with your husband. You will check in with your dad and have plan A, B or even C in place. Take the break, it will do you good! {{{hugs}}}

Maria.

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Hi Maria,

Your mother sounds like a very supportive and loving person. I can understand your reluctance to share your cancer diagnosis with her. Telling my dad was so hard. My husband and I broke the news after this all started when I was being told I was early stage and would be cured. That was bad enough. But when I found out just a month after telling him that my disease was in fact metastatic I could not bring myself to tell my dad. I still haven't told him. We took my dad to the beach with us shortly after I started treatment. As we walked up to the beach we walked past a trampoline where a little girl had fallen off and been tragically killed. My dad mentioned that it would be unbearable to raise a child and then outlive them, so I knew then that I couldn't say anything to my dad. I am not saying I want my dad to die, but I would not want him to outlive me, as I don't think he would be able to handle it. So I do get where you are coming from.

Thank you so much for the support. I feel overwhelmed by all the kind words you have all shared with me.

Sophie x

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Find someone that can help with your family and go with your husband create good memories God bless you

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Thank you! I have some good friends that I have called on for help (wasn't easy!) in the past so I know they could help again if I asked.

Sophie x

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Oh Sophie, none of us has any reason to complain after hearing about all the things you deal with. I have the daughter in law from hell but she is small potatoes compared to everything going on in your life.

The only thing I can add to what everyone else has said besides my recommendation that you do go, is to ask how you would feel about your husband leaving before you did to deal with some of the stuff going on in his family. Would you feel comfortable traveling alone one way and then coming back together? It might make it a more relaxing break for you if he could get some of the family business taken care of before you got there.

Whatever you decide, I know it will be the right decision for you. You do need a break and getting away will allow you to come back and deal with the home fires with more energy.

Elaine

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Hi Elaine,

I am sure that having a difficult daughter-in-law must come with its own challenges. I am sorry to hear that. I hope things improve between the two of you. Does she know about your diagnosis? Maybe talking to her about your health will make a difference.

As far as travelling alone, I don't mind that. It looks like we will be travelling alone both ways. My husband wants to go on 31st August and I can't go until after 3rd September as I am due my zoladex injection that day. It is always a tie, but I chose that as I haven't had an oophorectomy. So I am not complaining. I agree that it will be easier if he gets there first. It will be hard dealing with the aftermath of his sister's death, as we did not go back for the funeral or memorial service for her. But if he goes ahead of me, he will be waiting for me when I get there and give me an idea of how everyone is getting on before I see them. So in that sense it will be fine.

A break is just what I need. As well as everything else that has been going on, I still work Monday-Friday. Before long, I will have to make sure I remember to set aside time to sleep!

Sophie x

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If you feel you will regret not going, I would think about going--especially since it won't be more than 10 days or so. Just a thought, take care.

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Hi Susie,

You are right. My husband wants to go for a month, but he didn't mind when I said I would prefer to go for 7-10 days. Over the years I have figured out that this is my "holiday limit". Any longer than that and I am climbing the walls wanting to return home.

Sophie x

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100% go , plan some respite care for your dad . Go and escape for a needed break x

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Thank you! I am about 95% sure I am going! We just have to get through tomorrow and then decide.

Sophie x

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My only concern in your writing was that you kept mentioning what you felt you “should” do or the fact that you “owe” it to them to go. The guilt. The worry. I’m with Barb on this one. Do what you “want” to do. Get quiet in a room or some other place of solitude and tune into how you feel then ask yourself what do YOU want. If you really want to go then bon voyage and enjoy it all! Life goes on with or without us. I have been in a similar situation so speaking from experience. Please yourself. It’s ok to do that.

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Yes, I suppose my post did come across like that. I do really want to go. It isn't just a "duty" visit. It's just everything that goes along with it that I don't like: leaving my dad and brothers behind, the long haul flight, dealing with the jet lag and so on. But all of those issues are temporary when I think of all the wonderful opportunities I will have when I get there. I will get to reconnect with friends and family I have not seen in several years, go to Glacier National Park and hopefully to Canada as well. I also know it would please my husband if I went with him.

Sophie x

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Is it possible that your father will find some new resources within himself while you are away and not right there helping him? You may be surprised when you get home again! I'd suggest telling him sooner rather than later about your plans so he has time to make some plans himself! Do you in-laws know that you have an advanced cancer? I think it would be reasonable for you to ask to have a quiet room with a bed to go to as needed while you are there! You'll likely be pretty tired out when you arrive and knowing that you can nap or even just lie down in a quiet room for awhile could be a big help! I lived in the Rocky Mountains when I was a teen ager and now have lived in Michigan for most of my adult life. I miss the mountains! So beautiful! The last time I was there, I got altitude sickness and needed IV fluids at a hospital emergency room. That can be an issue going from a low to a high elevation so familiarize yourself with symptoms of that. Not that you will get it, but be prepared just in case! And I agree with others that figuring out what you want to do is a great idea rather than doing what you think will most please those you care about. You are wise to ask for wheel chair assistance at airports! And not just the "big" ones! The "little one" closest to me has gates far enough from the check in area that walking there can wear me out! I hope you will be at peace with whatever decision you make!

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Hi PJBinMI,

My dad may well surprise me! I think because I am here, he knows he can rely on me and my husband, so he doesn't look around for resources and things to do. I have been thinking about looking into clubs he can get involved in while my brother is away during the day (he goes to an adult day centre for people with learning disabilities Monday-Friday).

Sorry to hear you suffer from altitude sickness. I do too. I am fine in Montana, as it's not such a high elevation where my in-laws live, but it's when I would visit other in-laws in Colorado that I used to really suffer. The first time it happened I didn't know what was wrong with me. I just felt out of breath and developed a horrible headache. Even a short walk was too much for me.

That's a good point about asking for a quiet room where I can rest. My in-laws all know I have breast cancer, but none of them know it's advanced. Eek! I hadn't really thought about how to handle that. You have given me a lot to think about.

Thanks!

Sophie x

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Sophie,

Wow you have so much on your plate. So sorry. Amazing how much you have to cope with!

I think you must go with your gut. But, sounds like you can get care for your family while you visit your husband's family.

The break will probably be good for you and I'm sure it would make your husband happy if you go and I'm sure his family would love to see you!

The flight is long but your husband will be with you and he'll help you through it.

I wish you the best with your decision.

Love and hugs,

Marianne

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Hi Marianne,

Thank you so much! In all honesty, I would love to see my husband's side of the family and get away for a bit. I just feel like I never get a proper break. OK, so we have been to Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark since last November, but they were short trips, so I was not stressed about leaving my family behind.

We will have to fly separately though. My husband wants to go on 31st August, but I am due my zoladex injection on 3rd September, so the earliest I could get away is 4th September.

Sophie x

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Oh. Harder to fly separately. Well, I don't know your flight route but if you fly anywhere near Connecticut and have a layover I am here for you.

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I don't really mind flying alone. I will just try to sleep on the way over if I can so I don't look like a zombie when I land and then start rambling on at the border! We don't normally go through Connecticut on the way over to the West, but thank you for the offer! We will probably have a layover in Seattle or Denver.

Sophie x

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Go...never want to have regrets. Don't feel guilty about it.

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Thank you! I don't want to have any regrets. x

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Dearest Sophie,

In my honest opinion, go to Montana. You have done all the pre-planning and will be supporting a loving and supportive husband. Go fly fishing and bask in the Big Sky of Montana! ❤️❤️Linda

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Dear Linda,

Thank you! You sound like you have been to Montana. If so, what did you think of Big Sky Country?

Sophie

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It’s a beautiful state. I have visited a couple of times, once to spend a week at a “dude ranch” with a few other couples. Went horseback riding and fly fishing (which is really fun) and learned how to throw a lasso! 😂😂 It’s a lovely, peaceful slice of rural America!

You have so much on your plate, Sophie. You need a respite/escape. God bless your loving, caring heart!! ❤️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻

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Thank you, Linda! My husband is always so pleased to hear people like his state, and I am pleased too. It is a beautiful part of America. I remember going bareback riding the first time I went to Montana. I think I would prefer to stick with a saddle and do things properly! I also saw a Grizzly bear in the wild on my first visit to Glacier National Park. My husband had just got through telling me that I was very unlikely to ever see a Grizzly up close and personal. Then as we stopped the car and got out, a young Grizzly comes trotting along in front of us! I wish I could have reacted more quickly and taken a picture, but it walked off before I had a chance to do so.

My husband had an ultrasound this afternoon, as he found a suspicious lump on the back of his head (No, I didn't hit him with a frying pan!) so based on the results we will make a decision. His doctor seems to think it's a lipoma, which is a non-cancerous growth. But if it is cancer, we will probably stay put and not go away. We should hopefully get the results by tomorrow.

Sophie x

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Why not feel your husband out and determine if it is important to him that you go. Then base your decision on how you feel and what you really want to do. I am finding that ,being a people pleaser , I did so many things I didn't want to do. Now I do what is in my best interest to do.

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When we were first talking about going back to Montana, I felt so undecided. One minute I wanted to go, then I would think of lots of reasons why I should stay behind. What if I felt too tired after such a long flight? Too achy? What if my dad needs me? My husband went back alone last time and I want to go with him this time. I know that I will have a great time if I go. I always do in Montana! I already have a wish list of what I want to go over there. He has already said that he will support whatever decision I make, so there is no pressure to stay put or go with him. He is really understanding. We have been on some mini European breaks in recent months, which were great fun, but quite tiring. I haven't been on a long haul flight since 2012, which was (probably) pre-cancer.

Sophie x

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Happy decision making!

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Thank you!

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I say go go go, be as supportive of your hubby as he is you. Have a friend stay with your dad and call him often, or hire a short term caretaker.

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Hi Becca,

I agree that I should be as supportive of my husband as he is of me. He has been a great support to me through this disease, my family issues and so much more. I could not have asked for a better husband. If I had known what kind of husband he would turn out to be, I would have snapped him up right away! As it is, we were friends for nearly a year before I even showed any romantic interest in him!

Thanks again,

Sophie x

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He remained just a friend. He was waiting for you - he knew!

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Thank you! We will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary next month. It's been tough trying to figure out how to mark the occasion. We like to plan something special, but we haven't settled on anything definite yet. I have already bought him a gift, and asked a friend to bake us an anniversary cake. We will probably visit an animal sanctuary or an animal safari park, as we both love animals so much.

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17 years - woohoo! Sounds like you have a start on a great celebration already.

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Thank you! I hope so.

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Gosh Sophie

You are one hell of a woman. Having to juggle all those balls, and keep yourself well is no mean feat.

I say dose yourself up and sleep on the flight, and then tune into America. I have always wanted to go to Montana. The scenery alone will be good for your soul. Plus you have family to catch up with.

You will be surprised how well men can cope without us. Do you have any other family or neighbours than can keep a check on things at home for you? Are there any more clubs or activities going on for your brother’s as it’s the summer holidays?

Perhaps if you get away from all these added pressures, you will feel more energised to continue when you get back.

Did you know we can claim disability as we are under treatment for cancer? I haven’t looked into it yet. But t might be good for rides to the plane. Ooh what about an upgrade? Do they still do that?

I’m off to Turkey, so thinking about getting a Dr’s letter explaining my medication, and hoping I can google translate it!!

Enjoy the Cinnabons 😀

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Hi Bella,

I don't know about that! I just get on with things as best I can.

I haven't looked into disability either. I am still working though, so I don't know if I would qualify. The idea of dealing with reams of paperwork to "prove" I am ill fills me with dread.

Have a good time in Turkey.

Speaking of Cinnabons, I am not really a fan of them. They are too rich for me.

Sophie

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I know what you mean. I am grateful I am able to work.

I have a much sweeter tooth than you!

I hope you will be settled with your decision.

🙂

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Thank you, Bella. It isn't easy to make some decisions. There is a lot to take into account.

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go - you will always regret not doing this

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Thanks for your response!

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Go, have some fun and be with family. Set up as much as you can before you leave so you can take a break from your normal routine. Sounds like your husband would love the support.

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Thanks for your response!

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Wow. You got a lot of responses on this one Sopbie! My vote would be for you to go and enjoy every moment! Faith

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Thanks, Faith! I am hoping to go. My husband is having an ultrasound this afternoon on a suspicious lump and provided it's nothing serious we can press on with looking for flights.

Sophie ❤

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You always regret what you don’t do. Bless you. Hope you have a great time. Reenie

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Thanks, Reenie. I would regret not going.

Sophie ❤

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I really think you should go. You have to take care of yourself also and this would be a nice little break from the pressures you are dealing with. Look at it as self care. Wish I was closer to Montana. Would love to meet you.

Kim

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Thanks, Kim. The pressures have been coming thick and fast. I was having a bit of a wobble yesterday. I stopped by my brother's day care centre to drop off his lunches (as he's been away at respite since Tuesday) and a couple of new members of staff were telling me that the Mental Capacity Act means they are unable to refuse my brother if he asks for cake, chocolate, coke etc. In the past, we have expressly told them not to let him have these things (he will overeat). They will only say no if there's a letter from the doctor or dentist. They have said they can't say no to a diabetic either! I was quite annoyed, so a meeting will be called. The point is my brother doesn't have the mental capacity to make sensible choices about his diet. If you put a whole cake in front of him he will eat it! Sorry for the rant.

Sophie ❤

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Oh its not ranting. Glad we are hear to help. I can see why you would be reluctant to go. I have not heard of the Mental Capacity Act. I can't imagine that they would give something to a diabetic they know shouldn't have it. I hope if you go, you can make arrangements at home or you will be worrying the whole time and not able to enjoy yourself. Do what you think is best for you and will cause you the least amount of stress as that is one thing we don't need in our lives. Wishing you the best.

Kim

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Thanks for listening, Kim. Fortunately my brother is not diabetic, but they mentioned a customer who is and said they have the right to eat or drink whatever they like! It's so illogical and potentially harmful too. Hopefully we can have a meeting soon and straighten out all this madness.

Sophie

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I hope so too!! Take a deep breath - and keep your pecker up. Okay - my boss told me that is what is said in England and it means to us keep your chin up. Is that the case. Because in America, your pecker is definitely not your chin!!! :)

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Yes, your boss is right! It's not a term you tend to hear very often though. I understand American terms too; it comes with the territory after being married to an American for nearly 17 years! I put my foot in it a few times! I was once asked how I was doing and I responded by saying I was hot and bothered. In the UK, this means you are annoyed with the hot weather, so it basically means what it says. It wasn't until someone pointed out that it has another meaning and then I checked with my husband that I realised that I shouldn't have said that over there! Oh dear! I didn't mean to cause offence.

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Oh you made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that. For me I still think its funny that a jumper is a sweater. Especially when a man refers to putting on a jumper. I just love the differences. It's fun to compare.

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Yes, it is fun to compare. Didn't George Bernard Shaw say that America and the UK are two countries separated by a common language? There are more differences than you might think. I don't correct my husband, as he is not wrong, and he didn't correct me when we lived in America. We're both correct. The only time I say something is when my husband is speaking to my brother and he uses a word he might misconstrue. For example, he doesn't say "pants" around my brother, otherwise he would think he was referring to his underwear. He says "trousers" instead.

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Oh that's a funny one too. I love it. I hope you are comfortable with whatever decision you make. You are an inspiration. Always so upbeat and positive so it's okay to rant occasionally. We are all just trying to get through this life with our buckets of shit as my friend says. Some buckets are just fuller than others, Hope they don't ban me for saying a bad word.

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Thanks, Kim. I try my best to be positive, but I have my moments too! I do get annoyed about stupid things and this issue with my brother really got to me. I also stand up for myself with regard to the disease and try to make sure I am getting best care I can.

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You’re awesome!!!

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You really have a lot on your plate. I think it all comes down to what you yourself want, not what your husband or father need. If social service can help your dad than don’t let that be a deterrent but if you physically or mentally don’t feel up to the trip than your husband may be better to go and visit his family alone. Not much of a help I know but you have to take care of yourself once and a while

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Thanks, Sarcie. As I was telling my husband recently, if I just had this disease to cope with then I would be OK. I have a handle on that and have my own routine that I am comfortable with, I know what's coming up, what I'm doing, when to take my medication and so on. I think I could make the trip, but as it's such a long journey I will just have to get lots of rest beforehand and try to sleep on the plane. It's not like a quick trip to the Continent!

Thanks again,

Sophie x

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Those flights take the good out of you when you are healthy. You are right, lots of rest beforehand and maybe something to help you sleep the entire flight so you can arrive rested and ready to tackle the time change.

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Yes, you're right! The flights I've taken this year have been very short flights across Europe, so it's easy to bounce back when you are only in the air for an hour or two.

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I understand your concerns but I would go. Traveling totally wears me out but I am always to greatful that I made the trip. I have a friend in Weston super Mare that wants me to come over ( I live in Indiana) and the thought of the long flight then getting from London to WsM seems a bit daunting for me, I have been there twice but not since I have been diagnosed, but I am tentively thinking of next spring. I say go for it.

Hugs

Robin

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Hi Robin,

Thanks for the encouragement. It is hard to look forward to trips when you know you will be travelling all day and all night, then dealing with time zone changes. But the end result is worth it! I hope you get to see your friend in Weston-super-Mare. Wow! You fly into London and then on to see your friend? That is a very long journey. Bristol airport is much closer.

Thanks again,

Sophie

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I don't know why we go through London and not Bristol. She is American and her husband is from WsM although he chose to stay in Oklahoma and she has always wanted to live in the UK. They have a wonderful long marriage. I will have to call her and ask about Bristol. Bristol is nice, my favorite town is Glastonbury we always go there. I could live there. My friend is in the process of getting her perminate residency she has been living there for 5 years.. She has really picked up the English slang. I love the UK and want to explore the area more.

🌅😊

Robin

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Maybe it's because your friend wants to stop off in London and show you around? That's my guess. It's interesting how your friend and her husband chose to settle in each other's country, but not together. I would have missed my husband too much if he had stayed in America. Hopefully your friend's application for Indefinite Leave to Remain will go smoothly. My husband came back with me in 2012 on a Settlement Visa, and in 2014 was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. It's a pain of a process, but well worth it! If you are ever over here again, let me know. I live in Suffolk if you fancy coming over to the east.

Sophie

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We have always flown into London. They are both very independent souls. Been that way since they were my neighbors in Texas over 20 years ago. I would have missed my late husband too. I would love to meet you and will keep you posted. My treatment is working so far. Had PET scan last month. Two tumors shrunk a bit but one grew a bit over a quarter of an inch. They sent my original tumor off for DNA testing so they can have a better idea for future treatments. It will also tell if it's inherited gene which is great because I am adopted. I am fortunate that I was approved for funding because test was like $7,000.

Going in a bit for annual visit with radiation oncologist. She will probably gasp at the size of my right arm due to lymphdema.

Hope you have a super blessed day. Always enjoy chatting with you.

😎

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It sounds like your friends' living arrangements works for them. I know it wouldn't be for me. My husband and I lived apart the year before we were married, but that couldn't be helped. Once I had my visa I was able to join him and get married in America.

That is brilliant that you were able to see such a great response to treatment and have DNA testing done. I have wondered about having genetic tests done to see what else I can find out about my cancer. My mum had cancer and so did her father, but as far as I know no one in my family has ever had breast cancer, so I don't think it was genetic in my case. As my GP at the time said, it was a lightning bolt and I am a woman.

I hope your visit with the radiation oncologist goes well. I would see what can be done about the lymphoedema. I have seen support services for people suffering from the condition over here, but I have never looked into it myself, as I haven't had any lymph nodes removed.

Enjoy your day too. It's baking hot at the moment, so I am just trying to deal with the heat as best I can. I started work early, so am done early thankfully! I enjoy chatting with you too.

Sophie

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I have compression sleeve I wear but only at night because it's hot and cumbersome to wear. Been in and out of therapy but I am stubborn. Been extremely hot here for the last 4 days. Getting reprieve this week back to normal temps.. I am a winter weather person.

Stay cool and I will keep in touch.

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I prefer winter too! I even resist putting the heat on for as long as possible, as I can tolerate much colder temperatures in the house than my husband. I don't like to feel too hot and never have. I hope you enjoy the cooler weather that's coming. I am going to have to pace myself and be really careful, as I am prone to heat exhaustion and I am out in all weathers due to my job (I run my own pet sitting and dog walking business). We were meant to go along to a forest walk tomorrow evening, as my brother volunteers at a local country park one day a week. But I think I am going to cancel, as it's going to be hotter tomorrow, even in the evening.

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My cousin in Utah just started het own "Pampeted Pets" business🐕

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You deserve it, and your husband deserves you to go with him. I'm sure they will survive without you for 10 days. Go and enjoy! No guilt.

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Thank you. We are just waiting on some test results for my husband and then we can decide what to do.

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Hi Sophie,

What a dilemma, I totally understand your apprehension. Dealing with this disease takes so much out of us, so having a routine that we are used and changing it is challenging. Plus the fact that your dad and brothers depend on you is hard. I think you should go with your husband as I'm sure it he would be most grateful for your support. As you know Montana is absolutely stunning at this time of the year. I just came back from Colorado and Utah, I almost didn't go on the trip (I love the comforts of my home) but I'm glad I did. I had a long flight but I called the airlines and was able to get a seat with extra leg-room, I also bought some super cute "compression" socks. During our vacation, I got tired but I rested when I needed to and had a wonderful time enjoying the west. In the end, you have to do what is best for you.

xo Jade

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Hi Jade,

Thank you! It sounds like you had a good time in Colorado and Utah. Both states are beautiful, aren't they? I have family in Colorado and Utah, but most of my husband's family live in Montana. If I was there right now I would probably be picking huckleberries!

Thanks again!

Sophie x

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