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My mother is in an ALF 200 miles from me. I am an only child and her sole caregiver. I go to visit her for the day each month. I don't want to tell her about my condition and worry her but I don't want her to think I have deserted her. What do I do?

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Philis, wanttoknow said nothing about dying.
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Good grief Philis, Want2know didn't say she was dying. She has a malignant tumor near her eye. People can live for years with malignancies. You have totally jumped the gun with your answer.

My sister-in-law has had malignant ovarian cancer for 6+ years and has had chemo three times and she's still here and going strong. Medicine has been able to do amazing things in the past 20 years with cancers.
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I would make a long video to leave with her after you die, pre pay everything for her until her death but don't tell her you are dying until you are given maybe month to live, THEN have someone ELSE tell her and that is why you haven't contacted her in a while that you are sick and give the video to the other person to give to your mother.
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GardenArtist, I am an only child and I was always tied to the apron strings yet I was also a free-range kid, so it is confusing. The helicoptering got worse when hubby and I parted ways... my Mom was of the old school thinking a woman couldn't live alone in a house without a husband.... my Dad and I would secretly snicker about it because he trained me well to be self-sufficient :) "No Mom, Dad doesn't need to come over to my house to change the furnace filter".

So, I don't know if the original poster, want2know, would run into that situation if she should tell her Mom about her medical issue.
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FF, thanks for the explanation. I must really be "out of the loop" on this phenomenon.

I think your parents are just worried about you when you're ill - that's what parents do is worry about their children! (And now the children worry about their parents). Perhaps in their eyes, you're still their daughter, even if the roles are reversed now.
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GardenArtist, that term been around since the 1970's, but become more used in the early 2000's when parents started to call their college kids in the morning to make sure they were up and ready for classes.... University of Georgia professor Richard Mullendore blames the rise of the cell phone for the explosion of helicopter parenting — having called it "the world's longest umbilical cord"...... but in more recent times it has merged into "drone parents" :)

On my gosh, if I tell my parents I am getting a cold they are calling me repeatedly to see how I am doing... asking if I have this medicine or that, like I have lived away from home for 40 years and never thought of ever having aspirin or a heating pad in the house???.... otherwise, they would bring it over to my house.
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'helicopter parent" - that's a new term! Does it refer to hovering as a chopper might?
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Want2know, I agree with GardenArtist, make up some excuse why you are unable to visit. I never told my parents about a serious health issue back when it was present, I didn't want them to go into helicopter parent overload. They get crazy enough if I forget and mention that I have a cold :P

Here's hoping for smooth sailing with your treatments.
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I'm sorry to learn of your situation and hope that the treatment plan is successful, and permanent in resolving the issue. Hang in there!

Since your mother is alert and still cherishes your visits, I don't think I'd tell her that you have health issues, as she may become very concerned about your health, which could affect her own.

I'd use an excuse such as car trouble, or something like that. Cars can have any unlimited number of problems, so keep changing the issue, or if you're working you could tell her that a big project is pending and you have to work overtime.

Just don't tell her anything to increase any anxiety she already feels just from her own condition.

If the tumor treatment is long and drawn out, and you run out of excuses, I would tell her in person about the situation but explain that the prognosis is good and you'll just have to minimize the amount of time you can drive to see her.

In the meantime, institute other means of communication, whether it's phone calls, cards, letters (Blannie's suggestion is good) or Skyping (although that would reveal your eye situation).
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Poster, I am so sorry this has happened to you. Devastating. And I'm thinking even more so, if that's possible because of your love and sense of responsibility for mom.

I think I'd let her know that you have some health issues you have to address and that you may miss a visit or two. Since you say mom is aware and looks forward to your visits, maybe you can call her on those days and have a good long talk, letting her know that your health is prohibiting the long drive.

I would let staff know that you have a very serious health issue you have to address and are simply broken hearted as to how your necessary absence is going to effect mom. Ask them if they can provide some extra TLC in your place until you have your own issues resolved.

In the end, you must put yourself first now. Top of the list. And NOT allow your own devastation at this news to morph into a guilt trip about mom. She is in a good, safe place. She'll be okay. Concentrate on your own little self and give it all you've got.
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Do you know what your treatment will entail? Will you be unable to see your mom from now on, or only for a couple of months while you recover from surgery or radiation or chemo? Could someone else drive you to see your mom?

If you think you'll be able to resume seeing your mom, you could tell her you're going to be working very hard (you will - recovering) and won't be able to see her for X months, but you will send her cards and letters to remind her you're still thinking of her.

If you don't think you can make the trip again, well, that's a different thing to think about. Please tell us more and we can help you with ideas of how to handle it.
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My mother does still know and she really looks forward to my visits that's why this is so hard.
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Blannie.......sorry
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Blankie gives excellent advice. I would also think about hiring someone to care for mom and her affairs as you go through your medical battles. Make sure all the legal and financial issues are in order for both of you.

I'm also a sole, long distance caregiver to my parents. If something happened to me it would be a disaster for my folks. This has made me think about my own situation. Best of luck to you.
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Want2know I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. I see you posted another question about your mom not eating much for six weeks and that she has Alzheimers. Based on that question, it sounds like she's getting to the point where her ability to think and reason will be gone. Does she know you when you visit? Does she remember your visits? How far along in her Alzheimers is she?

It's a hard thing to accept, but she may not remember that you haven't been to see her. You could also send her greeting cards or a small gift, so she knows you're thinking of her, if she still remembers you. At some point, with her Alzheimers, she won't remember you or your visits.

At this point, it's most important that you take care of yourself and your own health. Do what you need to do for you - mom comes second. Hugs to you...
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