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  • silverkitties

    Thanks for the explanation, Mary—unfortunately, I didn’t get a email notification about your posts here even though I signed up. So I only found this after writing my fourth piece.

    But now I understand, even though her oncologist held out the hope, albeit vaguely, that she might get it. She was 82 and declining.

    Btw, how common is it for those suffering from this cancer to be assigned a hematologist? I wonder because I always thought bile duct cancer should be handled by a GI oncologist.

    Anyway,  here is my most recent post that I just published minutes ago:



    Thank you, Mary—

    I still think a lot about her diagnosis and am still not happy with the way she was treated: I keep wondering why my mom was not given the gemzar and cisplatin. I keep wondering why she was bit assigned a GI specialist rather than a hematologist. Not that I can do anything at this point, of course, but I think about it all the same. I do hope things have changed considerably since then!

    I have a new post up about the discovery of her cancer.

    in reply to: My first week of dealing with the loss of my wonderful Dad #86358

    Dear Sammi,

    I am so sorry for your loss–and just wanted to add a few words even though I myself am still going through the grieving process, having lost my mother 3 months ago.

    I won’t describe my situation as I’ve just written about it in the preceding thread, but I wanted to let you that I felt very much the same way and was going through the exact same process, crying every day. It must have been a relief my mother no longer had to suffer–and so like you, I finally started to catch up on sleep.

    I nearly quit my job but, like you, knew that my mother would not have wanted me to stop for her. It was a wise decision as it distracted me in a good way: it reminded me that I have my own interests and that life is worth it. Otherwise, I would have been relentlessly hounded by memories and feel even more overwhelmed. (Trust me, there were days when I just don’t want to climb out of bed either.) I am now returning to the book that I was supposed to have completed before my mom got ill–and I tell myself that she would want me to complete it and dedicate it to her. So at times when I am doing other chores and feeling especially down, I urge myself to return to the project ASAP–no browsing online!

    You are fortunate to have two young daughters. Love and cherish them (as if you need to be reminded!) : that is what your father would have wanted. And one day, when you least expect it, you may see aspects of your father in them–if not already. Or perhaps there are aspects of your father in you that you would like to develop? Whenever I tell myself “try and be as smart and efficient as mom,” it helps me get through tough patches.

    Not least, I wanted to add that I have fond memories of your city. I was there from 1994-2001 and enjoyed every minute studying there. Some of my happiest recollections are of my parents visiting me, particularly my mom when she came to see me over the Xmas hols in 1998 (why not Xmas in England?) We had the best time watching telly (I had just bought one), trying restaurants and pubs, and heading out to London on the weekends.

    I wish you the best and hope you find peace: I second Darla–grief has no time frame as it is very individual.


    in reply to: Overwhelmed with grief over my mother #86296

    I agree, Darla–I think it’s partly because one begins to see a bigger picture. Nothing quite compares to the loss of a life. And as such, we learn to be more patient w/ minor daily issues and even petty people we encounter on the street.

    in reply to: Overwhelmed with grief over my mother #86294

    Wow, Darla–it must have been exceptionally tough for you this year this year, having lost your mother without Jim being around and having to deal with your dad’s dementia. I’m sure you’re giving him lots of TLC. I’m wishing you the best right now.

    You’re right about keeping busy. Sometimes I feel like I only have a choice between feeling too frazzled to be depressed or depressed! I try to tell myself be crazy busy like mom as I sort through papers. I know she’d want me to get on with my life; she was constantly telling me that last year.

    If there is anything positive about death, it’s that you discover who your true friends are. You know who cares about you and who doesn’t. (Granted, the latter is tough.)

    in reply to: Overwhelmed with grief over my mother #86292

    I know they’re human, Lainy–I guess it’s that those little mistakes compounded with what I regarded with what appeared to be less than competence and care just anger me. The only thing I can do is just tell everyone around me to tell other people about my experiences and tell them to go to another hospital if they have a major illness. Oh yes, and write reviews. In fact, I even had my dad find a new GP not affiliated with the hospital.

    in reply to: Overwhelmed with grief over my mother #86290

    Hi Kris,

    For some reason, I missed your post–only saw Darla’s: my apologies!

    The Kubler-Ross book has been recommended to me several times; it may even have been given to me as a present. I think the first time I had heard of it was in 1991 when my first cat died. I’ll probably have to look for it.

    I was going to try a hospice (anything not directly affiliated w/ my mom’s hospital) over the holidays but I ended up not using it as I got to relax a bit after grades were submitted.

    I think I am feeling kind of unnerved right now because I am now having to address my mom’s finances and probate court: there is now no excuse of class-is-in-session-and-I-have-to-teach. I have to finish a substantial part of my book by the end of the month on top of everything so I’m feeling tense: and that’s when I tend to get depressed too. (Btw, it was like this when my mom was still alive.) I have to find a lawyer for probate/estate and am not sure how to find an affordable one. I have questions about my mom’s car insurance. All of this terrifies me. Not to mention that the last few months have been so heavy on our finances even though we tried to keep expenses minimal and some of our relatives even helped us out a little. My dad is pretty oblivious to everything else except his own work so I’m feeling stressed out having to deal with this more or less by myself.

    I am wondering how others here have tackled these problems, especially if they were not the ones handling finances and other logistics.

    in reply to: Overwhelmed with grief over my mother #86289

    Darla, thank you for your kind words–and I am so sorry about Jim. Many say they’d rather be the ones dying than those left behind. If you don’t mind my asking how long did it take for the grief to subside? And what helped?

    All of this happened so quickly that I find it difficult to wrap my head around it. There are still a lot of questions in my mind even though I know it’s mostly useless on my part by now.

    Sometimes I wonder if the diagnosis itself sent her downhill–if only because she seemed like she was doing so well the week before. Part of me wonders about the decision to do chemo; I remember reading about a woman here slightly older than my mom who got the same prognosis but chose to do nothing and ended up living a few more years! One of my friends also told me that a few of her friends wound up doing worse after chemo, albeit for other cancers. But at the same time, I wonder if I should have been more aggressive about having the oncologist do Gem/Cis. Maybe it should have been one or the other and not the plain Gem as it seems to have just weakened her without providing any benefits.

    Anyway, I hope others will read this and think about their treatments if they have any doubts. I want to echo much of what has been said in other pages: don’t take no for an answer and always question. Get a second opinion even if the first looks perfect. No one knows, of course, if things would have turned out any different, but maybe, just maybe, it might have helped.

    I think what hurt more than I expected was the lack of response from those who “cared” for my mom: it’s why I refuse to ever use that hospital again. None of her doctors sent us a sympathy card: maybe that’s just not done–although I will say that when my cat died a few years ago, I got a very nice card from the vet and the hospital as well as from 2 other vets who had helped him.

    Instead, do you know what happened? Someone from my mom’s personal physician called up and asked why my mom did not show up for an appointment last month. Another doc from the VERY hospital where she died also asked why she missed her neurology appt. It’s as if they totally forgot that she died under THEIR “care.” (If there are any doctors reading this here, please be considerate and USE YOUR BRAIN! M.D. should not stand for Mentally Deficient!)

    in reply to: Overwhelmed with grief over my mother #86287

    Thank you all for your quick responses–and your good wishes. I feel for all of you who’ve lost–Lainy and Darla. Melinda, you have my best wishes and almost know what it must feel like on your end with 6 children–if only because my mom worried so much too, even though I’m probably much older!

    Some days are better than others….and this was not one of them.

    I have to say I’m one of those who are always haunted by memories, or rather–always recalling moments in the past. I suppose this is partly what makes my grief so overwhelming on bad days. Sometimes the skies will remind me of sometime last year when I was visiting my mom in the hospital and feeling hopeful. Or when I’m vacuuming my room on a partly cloudy day, I’m reminded of the time I was vacuuming the day she returned from rehab. Even looking at clothes and makeup I bought last year can trigger memories. Similarly, when I’m browsing online and see something I know she’d like, there’s a split second when I want to show it to her–and realize I can’t. Ditto when there’s good or interesting news.

    In some ways, the problem is that I have so many good recollections that I can’t help but contrast those happier times with the loneliness I’m feeling now. I felt especially miserable the day classes ended because in the past I would have gone out with my mom to relax: it was a favorite ritual where we have lunch and shop before returning in the early evening so I could begin grading papers.

    I guess I’m fortunate that I’ve not thought about her really bad days as much: actually, whenever I think of her last day–when she was unconscious and yet had difficulty breathing–I am almost relieved that she passed. Or when it’s bitterly cold outside, I think thank God she cannot be affected. (She became very cold sensitive in her last month.)

    Nonetheless, I still wonder if maybe, just maybe I hadn’t called the nurse in Sept., maybe she wouldn’t have died in the hospital and maybe not so soon. Although of course, I know too that if she wound up having a stroke at home, I would be kicking myself for not having sent her to the hospital. Btw, Lainy, I did not know that CC patients were sent to the hematologist; I thought they assigned one to my mom because of her stroke.

    Anyway, the last few days have been terrible: just when I thought I was getting better. It started about 3 days ago when I was vacuuming the dining room and found a receipt for lunch from the day mom died. Then when I was getting something from her room, I found a bag with the clothes that I brought to her when I thought she was coming home. Yesterday and today when I was sorting out the draft for my book and going through all the notes, I was besieged by one memory after another as I remembered all of the stuff I was reading when I was visiting her in the hospital. I tell myself that she would want me to finish this book, but right now those memories are making it so hard for me to concentrate.

    Thankfully, my cousins and friends have been pretty supportive–but I am also careful and afraid of outstaying my welcome. After all, every one is busy too…i am already feeling a certain distance from some of my parents’ friends in our local community. Since I’m not religious and also refuse to go to the hospital–I know it will bring back so many memories, I just wish there were some kind of anonymous grief hotline. Unfortunately, there are only grief hotlines for those who’ve lost children or suicide hotlines and I would feel guilty using it since I don’t feel suicidal at all.

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