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The past few months have been a whirlwind. Mid Feb my 63 year old still working mom went to the ER for abdominal pain. They did a work up and found tumors on CT which they biopsied and sent her home. A week later she was back in the ER with multiple strokes. Left side effected and we found out the masses were cancerous. The on call oncologist thought it was stage IV pancreatic but would need a follow up and scans to confirm.


She was doing well all considering and I got her into a great rehab while I worked on her finances and getting her a new place to live (apartment is a second floor unit stairs only with a lease ending on May).


Then COVID-19. Everything became harder, she got put on lockdown at rehab and her credit was preventing me from getting her a new place. So I adjusted trajectory and started lookin for assisted living. Things were moving, slowly but I was making progress getting her benefits activated.


She was in the facility locked down for 3ish weeks. I got her to oncology and a PET scan scheduled during this. It took extra time because of covid but I made it happen. Then boom.


They called me to let me know she had demanded to go to the ER. Shortness of breath and pain. They did a work up. Embolism in the lungs. Mom stopped talking, stopped asking for essential care and needs. She was unresponsive, wouldn't talk to anybody save yes or no.


Next day her oncologist called (a day early) with the PET scan results... Cancer is everywhere. It's a freight train.


I'm now sitting with her in hospice. 3 days 2 nights in (5 days since she went to the ER). She's still here but is still unresponsive. I'm questioning everything now. I know she wasn't ready for this a month ago. I'm a little broken right now and don't know if I've helped her or harmed her. Is she mad at me? Disappointed?

Quilla,

My step dad had a similar trajectory. In September he went to his doctor for back pain, diagnosed with arthritis in his spine. Beginning of October had what appeared to be a stroke. A few weeks later we learned he was full of cancer. He lasted until a couple days past his birthday in late November 2018.

You did the best you could with the information you had at the time. No one can ask for more than that from you.
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Quillathe,
So sorry for your loss.
You and the doctors did all you could,
but the hated cancer was everywhere.
What a shock for you, after having done
all you could. That was being there for her,
and being there with her at the end.

You can stay with the caregivers on here who have already lost someone...there is support and understanding for you.

There are many threads supporting those who are grieving.
So sorry, your loss is great. 🌹
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Sorry for your loss. Cancer sucks 😢.
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I too offer my condolences for your loss.   Losing someone is always difficult, and made more so by the fact that cancer is involved and complicated in a different manner b/c of the CV lockdowns.    

Please know though that you did everything you could, and if it's any consolation, I think you took all the right actions.   I hope that you and your family can cherish the fact that you were with your mother perhaps when it mattered the most.

Be kind to yourself; you're a very caring person.
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Quillathe,
My deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Hugs to you.
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Quillathe

I am truly sorry for your loss and that you have to go through this.

My dad died from pancreatic cancer about 6 yrs ago. He was Dx May 28th 2014 and passed away June 28th 2014 one day before his Birthday, but that is how fast it moves.

Your mom is not mad at you and you didn't let her down. If anything she probably wishes she could have said or done things for you before the cancer took over. I know that is what my dad would have done had he had a chance.

Lots of hugs!💜
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I am so sorry for your loss and the raw emotions you are going through. My deepest sympathies. All you are feeling right now is totally normal. Please be kind to yourself. You did well. ((((((hugs)))))
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Oh Quillathe - biggest hugs. I’m so sorry for your loss.

You had such a ‘concentrated’ journey. High-impact.

Take good care of yourself. And yes, I know how lame and hollow that sounds. Over time, you can turn the abstract into a reality.

Be patient with yourself. And try. 💗

Keep coming back to AC Forum for support. It ain’t over just because it’s over.

We’re here for you. This is your safe space.
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I am sorry for your loss.

May God grant you grieving mercies and comfort during this difficult time.
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I'm so sorry, Quillathe.
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I'm so terribly sorry to hear this very sad news. While there isn't a good time to lose a parent, I just can't imagine the pain of it happening in the current circumstances.

((((((Hugs))))))))
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Thank you everyone. My mom passed this past Saturday morning. I had been staying with her at hospice everynight and myself, my brother and my aunt (dad's side) were there with her at the end.

I'm truly shattered. Regret and grief gnaw deeply. This was too fast, too sudden. I'm mad and I'm sad. My heart aches. I seriously hate cancer. I hate covid-19 it stole so much time we could have had with her from us because of the facility lockdown.

Thank you all for your support.
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I’m so sorry this is happening now, during the pandemic.

If there is any silver lining, it is that your mom is now in hospice, where she will have the best care possible for this final stage. Some people in hospitals (either with covid or other conditions) are dying without their family surrounding them, as they would’ve preferred. Due to no visitor policy and restricted travel.

You’ve done more than enough already for her. I’m sure she feels your love. Take very good care of yourself during this difficult time. Love and hugs to you and your mom.
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((((((hugs))))) It's normal to question yourself. Nobody would be ready for what you and your mum are facing. None of it is due to you failing her You are doing an excellent job under very difficult circumstances. Be sure of that. Through all of this look after yourself too.
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Because she deferred all medical decisions to you, she knew that you would make the right, hard decisions.

This isn't easy for her and it is happening so fast, which honestly is a God send. My MIL lingered for 3 miserable years, it would have been kinder had she gone straight away, she suffered terribly from the cancer and treatments.

I have to say that I believe that you are doing the right thing ensuring that she receives comfort care. As hard as it is, you have made the best decisions for your mom.

Great big warm hug! Keep telling yourself that you did the best possible thing, don't let the doubt destroy your head or heart.
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Quillathe, *none* of this is what your mother wanted, or what anyone wanted for her. But what alternatives were there for you to offer her?
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Thank you all. My rational mind knows we'd be in hospice eventually. One day. I just assumed we had more time. I grapple with the fact she was alone in a stroke rehab facility for weeks because of her living situation and covid lockdown. We couldn't get that time with her. I couldn't keep an eye on her. Couldn't see exactly where she was at, and she wasn't always answering her cell or would drift off on me. She had a stroke in Feb (from the cancer) , does she fully understand everything happening. I don't know, it seemed hit or miss some days. My brother got the last good day with her as he went to the PET with her. No I'm not enviously I'm glad he got that time but I'm wrangling with the choice I made for hospice. Badly. I know she wasn't ready for this, she was ever the optimist, pragmatic yes but optimistic. I honestly think she wasn't willing or able to grip this, hell she's still working technically (on fmla) or let go . Since the stroke she's deferred any choice from caregivers & doctors to me. I just know a month ago when we last had a face to face she wasn't ready for hospice or a dnr. I just did both after she asked to go back to the ER with lung embolisms and stopped talking and I'm struggling with it.

My rational mind says you did what was needed my emotional mind says but was it what she wanted.
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I'm really sorry to read of what you're going through, and of your mother's illness.

What is it that you feel responsible for? You didn't give her this disease. Nothing you've done could possibly have accelerated its progress, let alone made it happen.

You've moved heaven and earth to make things work for her. It's horrible that her disease has overtaken all of your efforts, but I don't see how she could have any impression other than that you've worked your behind off to support her and be there with her.

Is anyone looking after you?
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You have not harmed your mother by checking what was going on. It was happening whether you checked or not, and whenever it was discovered it would have come out of the blue just like this. Perhaps not checking would have given her a week or two of just feeling a bit off, but not realising that she had a terminal illness. That’s all it would have done, and she probably wouldn’t have had a great time in those couple of weeks. She is probably focused on herself now, not on you - not blaming you or being disappointed in you. Your own focus should be on being there for your mother right now, and on looking after yourself in a truly shocking situation. Yours with deep sympathy, Margaret
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DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.. DO NOT TAKE THAT PATH!! It's hard to derail that one.. So do not go there. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT... YOU ARE NOT GOD, YOU DID NOT PLACE THAT CANCER...
PLEASE, do not go there... I've been on that track way too long,, and I still feel guilty... she had ALZ, then she was dropped... not by me...
In any case, it happened, you just had it diagnosed... Give her the music she loves, and the tastes she love to eat, the memories you both love to share..
If she can, dance, if not, hold her hand, and play her music and dance....
Do what I didn't do.... BE HAPPY AROUND HER, GIVE HER A HAPPY DAY, MOMENT, EVERY DAY... :) BE THERE FOR HER, PLEASE... BY HAPPY AROUND HER. DON'T QUESTION ANYTHING. THIS IS NOTHING YOU DID.
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Quillathe, you didn't fail her. You have helped her be in care during this difficult time.

My sister had a similar situation. Went to the ER and found that she was ate up with cancer. You do wonder how it all happened so quickly and second guess your every action, that is normal. But know that you could not have changed anything, so please be kind to yourself.

Be with her as much as you can, love her and let her process this awful news. She is probably shell shocked to know that she is dying and she is dying quickly. She can still make her own decisions, make her make them if you think that she would decide differently than you have.

I am sorry that your family is facing this awful disease.

Great big warm hug!
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Thank you. My mind is just running all over and taking me down very dark paths. I'm mostly alone with this, I love my brother but he's very much placed all decisions squarely on my shoulders. I just can't seem to let go of the feeling that I failed her, that she wasn't ready for this yet and I made that call.
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Quillathe
If all the professional healthcare workers didn’t know and your mom didn’t know, then what could you have done differently?

I am sure that your mom is comforted that you have been with her and are still with her to see this through. Our minds will find a million rabbit trails to scurry down when coming to grips with hard truths. Breath deeply. Clear your mind. Be with your mom and know you have done the best you could.
Im sorry for her pain. Hopefully she will find release from that soon with hospice care.
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You've done nothing wrong!

Cancer is horrible and sometimes wildly unpredictable. I had a friend in her 30s who finally went to ER with chest pain and just feeling something was "off" somehow. She'd had a baby 6 months prior so she thought maybe it was a postpartum issue. No, it was stage 4 breast cancer that had spread everywhere. Aggressive chemo got her 2 more years of life and that was it.

Of course you're broken right now... you have every right to be. You did nothing to hasten her illness or make it worse. You did all the right things, just cancer is evil and throws all kinds of curve balls. No one understands why these things happen.

Grieve all you need to, but please don't blame yourself.
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You poor honey. Pancreatic cancer is like this; by the time you know that it's even there, it's everywhere. My 61 year old sister in law was gone in 4 weeks.

Be at peace with yourself; this is not a process that you have any control over, even less so during this pandemic.

I'm so glad that hospice is involved; they will not let her suffer.

(((((hugs)))))))
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I'm sorry. You didn't create the cancer and it isn't in your power to make it go away or even to slow it down, please don't take that on. Nobody is ever ready when something like this strikes out of the blue, the best you can do is hold on and hope the ride isn't too scary or uncomfortable - hospice should be able to help with that.
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