My mom who has completely refused any medical help has not been feeling well lately, yet when I try to understand what is it she is feeling she is not clear. She says she feels something “weird”, like a hot wave coming up her torso, and then two days ago she said she had a tingling sensation in all her body. She also has nausea most of the time and burps a lot.

The tingling and “weird sensation” she said she had, made me suggest calling a doctor and to my surprise she agreed. To give some background my mom has refused to be seen by a doctor for years after she was checked up last after her chemo and radio treatments ended. I think her last check up was probably four years ago. Since then, no doctors.

The doctor came and I suggested she should get done some blood work, taking advantage of the opportunity, and she did. Results came showing two pancreatic enzymes high and a possible urinary infection. The doctor is now doing further research to find out origin of the infection. My mom has had no fever though.

The huge dilemma I’m having is that my mom’s nerves I think have collapsed. She cannot even sleep, I notice her in constant anxious state, even her movements evidence she lost control of her anxiety. She takes Alprazolam and clonazepam, but nothing works. She’s always had a very difficult time managing her nerves, and to top things, recently her best friend passed away and yesterday a cousin of hers did too. The death of her friend was devastating for her though, that started the severe nervous breakdown I think, adding now the actual illnesses. Also I’m sure with these deaths she feels she’ll “go” too soon, my mom is 83 and for years she’s told me she can feel she’ll go soon.

The problem is, I have no idea how much of what she feels is a result of physical illness and how much is a result of her nerves. Unfortunately nerves I know affect the stomach tremendously, so the constant nausea could be nerves or the physical problem or both... the tingling sensation I think was a result of the nerves. See, her cycle I believe starts with her feeling for example an stomachache and then she starts getting nervous and the stomachache leads to nausea and that makes her more nervous and the nervousness worsens the whole situation, then she feels other symptoms and she starts thinking of what those symptoms could be, then she feels she’s’s a sad, worrisome and almost desperate situation for her and for me.

On the physical aspect, and as a “result of the results”, I’m very concerned about the pancreatic enzymes being altered because for us who have been through cancer either as the patient or a relative, the mind easily goes there. Although the doctor said to try a zero fat diet for seven days and do the test again. I PRAY it works.

Plus the idea of keeping doing tests on her is not a good scenario for my mom. That’ll affect even more her already critical mental and emotional state.

I guess I’d sum up my questions as follows:

- If the fix for the issues evidenced in the test results is not just a diet and there’s more research required or something not good going on, how OR do I tell my mom? Since I know for a fact she will fall deeper into depression and nervousness.

- Do you have any idea about what to say to someone that’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown and their mind is going a thousand miles/minute thinking of what their symptoms could mean and that what they feel is the beginning of the end to help them calm down?

- How do you handle this as a caregiver to protect yourself? I haven’t slept either, my blood pressure is acting up, my head hearts and I CANNOT GET SICK, I need to control this. But I’m having a hard time doing so. I’m the only person caring and responsible for my mom, and I just want the best for her.

Ps. We are not in the US, not the same medical system, not the same help available.

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Thank you Eyerishlash and Dorianne. The magnesium citrate information got to me before I bought it. And I do realize we should be mindful that everything should be appropriately approved by a doctor, specially with my mom.
Although with the CBD oil I don’t think there would be any negative side effects, but I’m yet to talk to the natural products store personnel, I just finished all the daily things I do at home and for my mom. I’ll go tomorrow though SO hoping they have an idea, maybe they can get it from Honduras or Costa Rica. I really hope there’s a way.

Thank you SO much! All of your input is truly appreciated.
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Rosses - a quick search online shows hemp products, including CBD, are legal in Honduras and Costa Rica, on either side of your borders there. It is often labelled as a dietary supplement (rather than a drug), which might be helpful. Perhaps you can find a CBD product that is labelled "hemp oil"? (But you'd have to know that it had enough CBD in it to make a difference - regular hemp oil is not the same thing.)  If you do decide to buy it online, make sure you buy it from a reputable company.  You might not always get what you're paying for.

That said, you might still be taking a HUGE risk trying to bring or ship it over the border though. Definitely don't risk your freedom or safety for this! Your mother needs YOU more than she needs anxiety relief....I'm sure her anxiety would be much worse if you got into trouble. 

Talking to staff at a natural health/supplement store seems like a very good idea, for sure. They probably have a better idea than I do if it's possible to get it there, and how.
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With all due respect to the poster's suggestion, magnesium citrate is what doctor's prescribe prior to a colonoscopy and will put your mom on the toilet with diarrhea for the next 12 hours. It's not even a "mild" stool softener. It's very strong and will deplete your mom of fluids. 

We are not doctor's and anything that is suggested should be checked out first by a doctor before administering. 
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Thank you so much for your answers. VERONICA the problem was breast cancer detected in 2010, treated between 2010 and 2011. She received a very aggressive treatment (as it was a very complicated case) and although incredibly hard I think the doctor gave her an effective plan.

After that she got checked for a couple of years, I’m not even sure for how long because some of those memories are like a painful cloud in my mind, after a certain point she decided not to get checked anymore, I think she’s been unchecked for about four or five years. She was done and tired. And since then she also refused to see any doctors for anything, unless it was something relatively simple like a dentist (still not exactly willingly but she’s gone). My mom is pretty aware so she knows not getting checked up is a risk, but she was, and is, beyond tired and I understand.

If something not good were to be found, my mom would not do chemo or radio. So we both know that if there’s an issue, that would be it.

ISTHISREAL, thank you so much for the idea, today I’ll go look for marnesium citrate, I hope it helps both of us!

DORIANNE, I’d pay anything (well, within my means) to get CBD oil! I remember reading a very informative and comprehensive post of yours that explained in detail all about it and I know that’d be of tremendous help for us.

I get so angry knowing that certain medications, such as alprazolam and clonazepam  (to Jeannegibbs’ point) can be acquired here in Nicaragua, depending on the pharmacy, even without a recipe. 
But you cannot get CBD oil!! I’m doing research and I’m going to go also today to an store where they sell natural medicines, not with a lot of hope to find it but maybe they can give me an idea.

Could I order it online from the US or Canada? Praying the the customs people here can’t read English and don’t know what it is..I’m not sure if it’s illegal here as a medical resource (marijuana is illegal).

But I’ll research  to see if I can get it somehow, I’ve a feeling it’d be a lifesaver for my mom..and myself!!

Thank you All and I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully in seven days I’ve better news. My mom is still very, very depressed and nerves are just taking over. But I pray she’ll improve a little if in a week we’ve good results.

It’s a big help to have people to share this with. 

Thank you and may God bless you all.
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In America stats show that 80% of the population has magnesium deficiencies , this is an important mineral for our nervous system, get a good brand you trust of magnesium citrate. Mag oxide is not easily absorbed so is far less effective, read the labels carefully and avoid oxide. Anyway, give mom and yourself 400mg 30 minutes before bed, you should feel a difference right away, within 1 week, no worry about to much as it will just loosen the bowels if it is to much for the body to use. It has been a life saver for me on many health issues, headaches are the #1 thing that I started using it for, the natural sleep aid was an unknown but very welcome bonus.

I pray that your mom has nothing serious and that you both find peace on this journey. Hugs and love to both of you😚
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She takes Alprazolam and clonazepam, but she hasn't seen a doctor in 4 years? Hmm. Maybe things are different where you are, but here she could not keep getting these prescriptions renewed without visits to the doctor. How is she getting these drugs?

The symptoms for a uti in an older woman can be VERY weird. I know; I'm dealing with that for myself right now. With treatment, they usually clear up in a week or so. I'd focus on that with Mom right now. The doctor is figuring out which drug will work best and it will be under control very soon. She'll feel much better then. The other test results will be more meaningful then, too. Address one thing at a time, and the first thing is pretty easy -- the uti.

Try to focus on the present. Follow the doctor's order for diet and have Mom take the uti drug as directed when it is given. The doctor will probably recommend lots of fluids. Help Mom with that.

There may be something else wrong. Deal with that if/when it is diagnosed.

I find that the mind going at warp speed can often be calmed through diversion -- thinking about one specific topic. Have a normal conversation with her, without mentioning anything medical. Plan the garden changes for the season. Remember a great trip you took together. Have her help with some cooking.

Come back and let us know how things progress for Mom. We care!
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My take is that Mom is anxious because she as been that way since her bout with cancer. I formed that opinion from the fact that she has refused medical care since she finished her chemo and R/T. She has her head in the sand and thinks if she can't see IT, it can't get her again.
She has been four years cancer free so try not to meet trouble half way. Follow the Dr's instructions, another week is not going to make any difference even if something bad is happening. Tests are frequently incorrect and labs do make mistakes and mix up results, plus different labs use different standards for various tests.

Where and what was her original cancer?

The urinary tract infection (UTI) should definitely be followed up. It affects the elderly in very different ways than someone younger. There is frequently no pain or burning and the patient may not have a fever. The only things caregivers will report is that their loved one's behaviour has changed for the worst so the first thing to check is for a UTI which of course can be treated with antibiotics. The nausia can of course be treated and the anti anxiety drugs can be increased or changed.

Naturally the two deaths have greatly upset Mom not just because of their closeness to her but it reminds her of her own mortality. Encourage her to grieve those losses. let her talk about them even if she starts crying. A good cry really helps relieve the stress.

As far as telling Mom, it really depends on the outcome of the Dr's research and Mom's general health, treatment available and prognosis if anything is discovered. It is harmless to mention the UTI as she won't see that as an imediate danger and the treatment just means taking a few pills.

After that it depends if the treatment for anything they find will involve major surgery and a long recovery with no certain good out come. Keep it to yourself for the time being. If and when you get a definite diagnosis she has a right to know if she is of sound mind and still capable of making her own decisions. If she decides she wants to go ahead with something risky then support her decision and be there for her. She is 85 and of course death is more likely for someone that age which many fear, others accept it and take it in stride and even welcome it as their abilities decline.

Try the calming music and possibly soothings scents such as lavender as long as she does not have allergies. Let her do things her way and when she raises the subject don't wring your hands stay calm give her a hug and reassure her that you love her whatever happens and when it is her time to go you will be sad and miss her but you will be OK and she will be reunited with those who have gone before. 

Follow that fat fee diet as much as possible but don't get paranoid aout it. Don't give her bacon and eggs but if she asks for a pat of butter on her toast just go easy but be generous with the marmalade. If you don't already read labels you will have to this week. Keep away from take out and resteurant food.

Stop worrying and do something fun this week it will do you both the world of good, if you must eat out find a vegetarian eating place
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Rosses - This doesn't really answer your questions, but it might help your mom. I don't know how much access you have to it where you are, a lifelong anxiety suffer, I really recommend trying CBD oil. It's oil made from the cannabis plant, usually suspended in a vegetable oil (like grapeseed)'s from the part of the plant (hemp) that DOESN'T make you "high."  It's not illegal in a lot of places because it contains no THC, but I don't know how it's regulated everywhere. CBD is also available in different forms if the oil isn't her thing, but the oil is most readily available.

No guarantees it will work for everybody, as everybody's anxiety is different. But I tried it on the recommendation of a friend who takes it for his anxiety, and it's the first thing that ever worked for more than a couple of months. (Pharmaceuticals did nothing for me....and ended up making my anxiety worse.)
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You are doing great. Hugs.

Can I suggest that you plays some tranquillity music for you both. They have it free on Youtube if you can? You can also get screen savers that of of tranquil places, with streams etc. Pets that can be smoothed help too. Can you borrow one? Just tell mum you are looking after it.

Take care
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As a basic minimum, don't try to make decisions about things that haven't happened yet. For all of your most pressing questions, the only honest answer until the results come back is "don't know."

Oh! - so, what Eyerishlass said, basically :)
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Thank you, I think I do project calm, but inside I’m worried not only about my mom, but because I feel myself getting very tired when I need my strength the most. Your message is reassuring and a good reminder that today is all we can handle.
Thanks again and God bless.
Helpful Answer (1)

The only thing that is known for sure right now is that a test for a pancreatic enzyme is abnormal. The doctor suggested a zero fat diet for 7 days then re-test.

There's no need to worry about what to tell your mom IF the no-fat diet doesn't work. It's not necessary to borrow trouble at this point and to get upset and begin worrying about something that may not happen.

To help your mom stay calm, YOU must stay calm. Make sure she is taking her anti-anxiety medication as directed and reassure her that the only thing that is fact at this point is her pancreatic enzyme test was abnormal. In someone your mom's age blood tests can be abnormal. The doctor doesn't appear to be alarmed so follow his lead and don't you become alarmed. Keep your mom's mind focused on other things.

You've done everything right. You got your mom to the doctor, you did the right thing. So in order to ensure that your mom stays calm, YOU need to stay calm. There's nothing to get upset about at this time. If you project calm, your mom will be calm.
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