My mother's fight against cancer.

by Gretchen
(Pittsburgh, PA)

I am twenty five years old. I lost my mother on March 15, 2013 to Stage IV gastric cancer. She was 53 years old. The loss I am experiencing is deeper than any feeling I have endured. While coping with the daily reminders of my mother, I am struggling to find acceptance in the way that this terrible disease weakened and destroyed such a strong and wonderful woman. About a year ago we started taking a fitness class together. It was so nice to see my mom 3x a week and work out together. In June she started complaining that she was getting tired more easily and she couldn't understand why. I told her it was probably what she was eating and didn't think anything of it. When she started to lose weight we thought she had finally overcome the obstacle of thyroid regulation and begun to see results from the fitness class. When I learned in July that she was getting additional tests after a doctor diagnosed gastritis I was worried. But I had no idea that she would be diagnosed with late stage cancer on the 13th. I felt totally deflated. She said it was like someone pulled the carpet out from under her. I was with my mother and father through every subsequent doctors appointment, chemo treatment, and medical consultation. She battled hard against this disease and against the effects of three different chemos. The final regime of chemotherapy put her in the hospital for 5 days due to dehydration. She had lost so much weight and struggled to walk. I stayed by her side almost all day- only breaking to catch a bus to work or to go home and sleep. When she was released from the hospital we met with the oncologist once more who talked to us about hospice care. The nurses all hugged me and squeezed my hand behind my mother as my dad pushed her out in a wheelchair- but I still had no idea how to comprehend that this was real. My mother struggled hard for another few weeks. The day we called in home hospice care, she was reluctant to use the hospital bed and was very visibly upset. But I stayed with her until late that night and told her I loved her before she left. The next day my dad was calling me to tell me to meet him at the emergency hospice. Within an hour we were in the room with my mother watching her last breaths. She told us she was okay and that she loved us. But I cannot get those last breaths out of my head. She struggled for every gasp. My heart breaks every day. I beg every day for my mother to come to me in a dream, or in some form. There are times that I am convinced that she is with me, and other times I am crushed by the weight of grief. I am getting married to my long time boyfriend in June. Although she helped me to plan every detail and even made arrangements up to the day before she passed I am not sure how I am going to get through this time in my life. The day of my mother's funeral- her brother also suffered a fatal heart attack- so I know this time is going to be especially dark for my entire family. Work and my daily life seems so stupid and unimportant. All my days as a caretaker at least held meaning. I'm also struggling to support my father who had been married to this beautiful woman for 32 years and my 17 year old sister who is racked with anger for what has happened to her, to her mother, to our family. The days feel so dark that I struggle to breathe. I wish this on no one and I pray that my mother is watching out for me and will help me to get through the days without her.

Comments for My mother's fight against cancer.

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Apr 17, 2013
by: Jen

I'm so sorry for your loss, I lost my Mom to lung cancer on April 3, 2013. We knew for a long time she was going to die but nothing prepared me for actually losing her. I can not get the last day out of my head either and wacthing her struggle to breath was the worst thing I ever saw.
Our Moms are no longer struggling so we need to find peace with that. Its hard I know, you are not alone though, we all are with you as is your Mom shining down on you and at your wedding that she planned with you. Put a single rose on the alter in her honor.

Apr 12, 2013
Mothers fight against Cancer
by: Christina

I am so sorry for you loss. I also lost my beautiful Mother on January 25, 2013. I am not married nor have any Children so my Mother was my everything. I have a loving partner but a girl always needs her Mommy no matter what age. I can tell you for sure that your Mom is definitely with you. It may take a little while but she will give you signs. I had two lucid dreams where my Mother came and said good bye to me, she told me she was leaving and she gave me the most beautiful hug, it was so real. I also see little signs that lets me know she is still with us and thinking about us. Keep your heart and mind open and pray to your higher power that you see the signs, they will come. God Bless and may God give you peace and strenth.

Apr 12, 2013
My mother's fight against cancer.
by: Doreen U.K.

Gretchen I am sorry for your loss of your mom so suddenly from your life and family.
I know only too well what you are going through. I lost my husband to cancer 11 months ago and I was his caregiver for 3yrs.39days. It was a most painful cancer journey. To see the one you love fade each day and leave this world. I had to watch my husband deteriorate daily and lose the will to live with pain and suffering.
You will need to watch out for your dad as his grief will be great having lost his wife. Somehow the grief is different for each of us. You will one day get your life back and learn to live with the memories of a mom who was such a strong part of your life as the nurturer and homemaker. Almost one year now and I am only now starting to feel my grief more. I have for the past few weeks been having my husband come into my dreams. I dreams about him last night again. He was as clear as day. Turned fat and running in the park. I could feel every moment of that meeting with him. It is good to have these dreams because all I can remember is the cancer journey and the pain he went through. Yesterday was my weekly shopping day and I had a cry in the supermarket when I passed the foods he liked. Then further along I met my husband's nurse who cared for him during his cancer. Every day will be different. Some good, and some bad. I just hope the days ahead will be less lonely than I feel now.
My daughter works in retail and a lady came in and bought a lot of things to cheer herself up since she had just lost her husband one month ago. Death is all around us and we each handle this in different ways. But let us all hope we can lend a hand and a heart that goes out to each other to help us through our grief.

Apr 11, 2013
Unfair how life can be
by: Anonymous

First I am very sorry for your loss your story is so simalar to mine,My Dad had cancer and won the first two battles only to watch the complications of the treatments take over his life. I too thought he was getting better things were looking up only to find out later that it was worse...My Dad never went to hospice official we were never told we may lose him.. When he did he lasted 4 hours as soon as he knew there was no hope it was like he just went to sleep. I still haven't found a way to cope with him gone, I am angry and have the same questions you do. I was in charge of his medical care but just can't rest. I like to think that he went so fast because he made peace with his fate.. but I do this daily. Knowing that other people are out there and that they understand the confusion helps.. I hope that this blog helps you in some way too. We may never know or have these answers but sometimes gifts come differently to us, I'm not super religious but I do believe or want to believe that he left so quickly to not hurt anymore. Sometimes it gives me peace to think of all the little things before he got sick.
Venting... helps if nothing else good luck. Rhanda Mejia is my post- My Dad

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