By Chandrama Anderson
I Told My Mom She's DyingUploaded: Nov 18, 2014
Yesterday I told my mom she's dying. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. We cried. She thanked me for telling her and said she'll miss me so much (you see, this is why I love her so much).
She's actually my MIL, yet she is the mom of my heart.
Last fall she had uterine cancer and went through treatment, which ended in April. She was pronounced cured. I was her advocate with doctors and insurance companies.
This fall she wasn't well, and many tests were ordered. She now has cancer in her lungs, lymph system and bones. Last Friday we found out there are widespread tumors in her brain.
The docs were still talking about treatment and chemo . . . not palliative care, which is where it sounded like we are, based on my experience.
I'm not a doctor, but I am a therapist and have done grief counseling for many years and had family members die of cancer. I thought we were being given false hope, which is different than hope.
False hope does not allow the patient or family to prepare for the death.
I called Mom's primary care doctor who told me square: there's no cure, she needs to decide about quality of life and treatment options (i.e., palliative care). There is no time for a second opinion. Mom likely has weeks left to live (and no one knows if that's six or 16). The doc asked me if I could talk to Mom about these things. I said I could.
I thought Mom would call her PCP yesterday who would tell her, since a quick decision about care was needed. However, Mom decided not to call since I had.
So I had to tell my mom she's dying. After we hung up, I wailed. Then I called my husband, and he came right home so we could be together.
Mom eventually called her PCP who said all the things I had relayed. Her doc said to spend as much time as she can with those she loves.
One of those will be me.