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Joined: May 2012
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Hi Shelley,

I have actually, I have an appointment with two different therapists in the next couple of weeks to see which will be a good fit. I knew months ago that I was going to need to talk to someone just from watching my mom go through surgery and treatments, nevermind the grief after she passed. It is all just so traumatizing.


Amy CG to mom Janet - diag w/ early SCC 8/11-surg w/ rad neck dissect & graft from arm/thigh 9/11-evid in nodes tx 6 wks rads (5/wk) w/cistplatin (1/wk for 6 wks) began 11/11-wk or 2 break 12/11 due to severe side effects-done 1/12- 3/23/12 mets to liver lung bone-hospice 4/7/12-lost fight 4/22/12
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It's so good that you have those two appointments, Aimlee - A professional therapist can give you the benefit of his/her expertise and can really help in getting you through the grieving process at a pace that is comfortable for you. It looks like you are taking the right steps in your own recovery. Good for you. Check back here often and let us know how you are doing.


Anne-Marie
CG to son, Paul (age 33, non-smoker) SCC Stage 2, Surgery 9/21/06, 1/6 tongue Rt.side removed, +48 lymph nodes neck. IMRTx28 completed 12/19/06. CT scan 7/8/10 Cancer-free! ("spot" on lung from scar tissue related to Pneumonia.)



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Went to see my mom at the cemetery this weekend, 4th visit since she passed, and its also the 4th time a butterfly has flitted around us during our visit. Sometimes I think it's my mom saying hi, sometimes I think it's just a butterfly.

I have my first therapy session today. I'm relieved to have someone to talk to and get some guidance on how to deal with this grief and trauma but also nervous about talking to a stranger and dredging up feelings that I know are going to hurt like hell frown


Amy CG to mom Janet - diag w/ early SCC 8/11-surg w/ rad neck dissect & graft from arm/thigh 9/11-evid in nodes tx 6 wks rads (5/wk) w/cistplatin (1/wk for 6 wks) began 11/11-wk or 2 break 12/11 due to severe side effects-done 1/12- 3/23/12 mets to liver lung bone-hospice 4/7/12-lost fight 4/22/12
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Hi Aimlee, firstly, I'm really sorry for your loss. I was the last to feed my hubbys dad who passed 4 years ago of pancreatic cancer. I constantly feel him around us and feel he is looking after us. I'm sure he won't let my husband join him for a long time to come. I don't know how I would react at my husbands death if it was a recurrance of oral cancer. I always think I will go too because I couldn't stand him not being around me. Sounds silly, but when my cat of 18 years was put to sleep, I had him cremated, and his ashes and a pic are right in front of me while I write this. I find it comforting, and talk to him all the time. I know my cat isn't the same as your mum, but there are things that can make you feel better - butterflies are a sign....take some comfort in that....Bless you hon, and hope your grieving time passes easily & gently. I'm sorry, I don't know what else to say. I still grieve for my cat, if it was my mum, well....don't know. You sure do sound stronger than me! Lots of love xxxx


Jeanna
Wife/Carer of Rod, 56, Dx 5/3/09, SCC Oropharnyx T4 N2, End Tx 28th 07/09, 7wks Rad, 3 Cisplatin, primary tonsil, 4cm Lymph right of neck, 1cm left, in jaw & soft palate & base of tongue. Peg 06/09. CT & PET scans 02/11 - NED. Dentures 20/09/11, PEG out 28/10/11.
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Thank you Jeanna, you're very sweet. I have so many mixed up feelings about all of this, and I know it's all very normal but I just don't feel like myself anymore. My entire existence changed the day she died, and I know it's an opportunity to become the person I've always been meant to be, I just feel so lost trying to get there. I was incredibly close w/ my mom, and the remaining family members have been a little less than supportive. Last night my dad asked me if I was ok, he must have sensed during my visit that I was upset. When I told him that it is still hard for me (as I imagine it would be for most people after only 6 weeks!) he said he didn't want to see me drown in my grief. I don't think I've been drowning at all, and while I appreciated his concern, it made me feel like he thought I should be over it by now. I don't know how to react to this. I'm assuming it's something that will come up in my next therapy session...

I still can't quite get my head around her being gone, and don't want to seek solace in just any "sign" that comes along so I am skeptical. I went to see her yesterday and no butterfly frown

I'm sorry you and your husband had to struggle through this horribly dreadful disease, but am glad to hear he is doing well.


Amy CG to mom Janet - diag w/ early SCC 8/11-surg w/ rad neck dissect & graft from arm/thigh 9/11-evid in nodes tx 6 wks rads (5/wk) w/cistplatin (1/wk for 6 wks) began 11/11-wk or 2 break 12/11 due to severe side effects-done 1/12- 3/23/12 mets to liver lung bone-hospice 4/7/12-lost fight 4/22/12
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Aimlee, First, I am so very sorry about the loss of your Mom. I find your story about the butterflies very interesting. You asked stories about similar experiences, I have one. After a brutal 2 year battle, I lost my Mom to colon cancer when she was 54 years old. My newly married, 36 year old brother, John, died suddenly in a plane accident. Both deaths were extremly (beyond) difficult. After John's death, I started to get scared of flying. Rather than succomb to fear, I followed both of my brother's footsteps and learned how to fly, getting my private pilot's liscense 2 years later. During my first solo flight, I was very nervous. My father (who was still dealing with his son's death), husband, 2 year old son, siblings and friends were all there watching. I got to the end of the runway, on the numbers, added power, took off...and as soon as I got airborne thought, DANG..now I really do have to land this thing on my own! As I got midway through the pattern, on the downwind leg, 2 birds joined me for a while. I explain why, but those birds gave me great comfort and calm. I've always wondered if they weren't a sign from my Mother and brother. In the 15 years since, I've heard a good number of others with similar experiences.

As Americans, I don't think we handle death terribly well. We seem to want everything neat and tidy. You have a death, a wake and a funeral, then everyone expects you to move on. I had friends 5 days after my Mother's death tell me they didn't want to see me moping around. Give yourself a break, six weeks is a very short period of time to adjust to such a loss. That said, I do think talking to someone is a very important step in processing your loss. I did not find grief to be a straight line....today you feel bad, tomorrow a little bettter, then better, etc. The loss will sneak up on you again on certain days; first Mother's Day, Christmas, Birthday without her. It was especially tough when my boys were born. My recommendation is to find someone, a professional, friend or family member, who will let you just talk, let it out, listen to you.

One other thing we've done in our home is we celebrate Dia De Los Muertos, something from my Father's culture. Every year, I set up an "ofrenda", put out pictures on a sideboard in the dining room of the beloved members of our family who have died. It gives us a special time to remember then, tell stories, remember the good times. It's the only way my sons know their Grandmother and Uncle. You don't have to have Mexican heritage to do this...:)

So these are some of my experiences and how we've dealth with our losses. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss, I know how hard this is. Please know that it does get better. Hugs, Ana

Last edited by AnaD; 06-11-2012 07:38 AM.

wife/caregiver to Vince, dx 4/12 Stage IV BOT HPV+ SCC, poorly diff.; T4N2cMo; U of C; Clinical trial, Everolimus; 6 wks ind. chemo (Cetuximab, Cisplatin & Taxol), 50 x IMRT, 75 gy chemorad w/5FU, Hydrea & Taxol; 5 years out, thankfully still NED
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Amy - I think of you often and am encouraged that you continue to join us in expressing your concerns and feelings. It's good that you have family even if they may not be as supportive as you feel they should. Sometimes in expressing our concern to someone surviving a loss, it's difficult to know what or how to say it. The fact that your Dad sensed that you were upset, means he really cares about you and about how you are processing the loss of your Mother. Sometimes the message received is not always the message sent. It's very possible that the words he used may not have had anything to do with thinking you should be "over it by now" but it could just have been deep concern for the hurt you are feeling and wanting to take away some of your sadness. He is probably feeling sad, too. Maybe he needs a hug?


Anne-Marie
CG to son, Paul (age 33, non-smoker) SCC Stage 2, Surgery 9/21/06, 1/6 tongue Rt.side removed, +48 lymph nodes neck. IMRTx28 completed 12/19/06. CT scan 7/8/10 Cancer-free! ("spot" on lung from scar tissue related to Pneumonia.)



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Hi aimee, I totally understand your feelings. My mom was my best friend, I spent more time with her than anyone, I guess other than my husband, but you know, lots of free time was spent together...shopping, gardening, cooking, talking, relaxing,etc. Its been since aug 2010 that she went away and I find with every new Season or holiday I miss her the most because everything reminds me of things we did together. I can say with certainty I do feel her with me at times - I also do not come from a religious background although my mom was a christian. I remember questioning SOHARD and so much when she passed, and being so sad at the thought of never seeing her again. I even convinced myself I needed to join a church, which I never did. Im still not convinced prayers are worth a damn.
After many months she began visiting me in my dreams. Sometimes sick, sometimes not. I treasure those dreams and always wake so happy that I got a visit from her, it always seems to happen when I need her the most. I was 2 months pregnant when she passed,my daughter is now 15 months and I need her help and guidance so bad. I think all you can do in your down moments is just be positive with hope that she can hear you and just talk to her, cry to her, yell and hit pillows!, tell her you miss her. She always said theres nothing a good 'boohoo' wouldnt fix

Best
Emily


my mom, age 59.

12/08 surgery & 33x rad
4/09 recurrence
5/09 surgery & 35x rad
12/09 recurrence
1/10 surgery. peg tube, trach, fibula free flap
6/10 recurrence. double chemo treatments.
8/10/10 finally at peace in heaven
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Thank you Ana, Anne Marie, and Emily! Your words are so heartfelt and appreciated. It really does help to know I'm not alone. Because losing my mom has made me feel a bit like an orphan, if that makes any sense. I know I'm an adult and have been for some time, but your mom will always take care of you in any way possible, even just with the smallest gesture as we need them less and less as we get older. My mom always would buy extras at the supermarket if something was on sale and give it to me on my Sunday visits, or if my favorite gum was on sale she'd pick up a couple of packs. The little things like that that always made me feel looked after. Last fall right before she went in for her surgery, she even bought my snow boots for the winter because I didn't have any good ones and living in the city walking to and from work I had a mess of a winter the year before. She was afraid she wasn't going to make it through her 10 hour surgery so she bought them in September to make sure I would be taken care of in her absence. She devoted her life to being a mom and was the best possible mother I could ever imagine having. I miss her so darn much, it creates a lump in my throat just as I write this.

I talked to my dad yesterday... he texted me in the AM to see how I was doing. Turns out Mondays are hard days for him, neither of us are sure why but I felt better knowing I wasn't the only one still struggling. Ann Marie, you said it right in your post, the sentiment was right in his message it was just misconstrued. I think I am hypersensitive to the fact that there has always been some lack of support from my father and sister throughout the entire illness with my mom so I just expect it to be that way now too. I know he is trying and I appreciate it. It's just hard because my mom was my counterpart in the family and w/ her being gone, there is nobody quite like me/her to share this grief with. At least not in the way that she and I would have shared it. If that makes any sense.

Ana, thanks for sharing your story and for the suggestions on how to honor and celebrate my mom. I love that you had two birds soaring alongside you on your first solo flight, I think that is a true sign that your mom and brother were with you. I am hoping some day I will have a similar story to tell.

Emily, I'm sorry about your mom too. We definitely had a similar relationship. Were you pregnant with your first child when she passed? That must have been so hard frown I'm not married and don't have any children yet myself and that has been one of the hardest things to accept... that she will never be there to help me like she was able to w/ my sister, and that she won't be my children's grandmother frown

Last edited by aimlee311; 06-12-2012 06:10 AM. Reason: addition

Amy CG to mom Janet - diag w/ early SCC 8/11-surg w/ rad neck dissect & graft from arm/thigh 9/11-evid in nodes tx 6 wks rads (5/wk) w/cistplatin (1/wk for 6 wks) began 11/11-wk or 2 break 12/11 due to severe side effects-done 1/12- 3/23/12 mets to liver lung bone-hospice 4/7/12-lost fight 4/22/12
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Aimelee, what you say about feeling orphaned makes perfect sense. I don't care how old you are when it happens, your mama's always your mama. When I lost my Mom, someone gave me a wonderful book, "Motherless Daughters". I highly recommend you have a look at it as it may speak to your heart as well.

As you know, my Mom passed well before I was married and children as well. Although they do not know her in flesh, I've made sure they know her in spirit and through little daily things in our lives. The peonies planted in the front flower bed, next to where my son waits for the bus, are her favorite...and he knows that. They know her and her sisters (my aunts) cheated at cards, drank grasshoppers and giggled way too much. They also know she was an incredibly bright and strong woman. Your Mom will always be your one-day children's grandmother, nobody can take that away.

I know you're looking for signs/proof that she's nearby...I've done the same with my brother and my mother. Things happen that make you wonder...was my son looking over my shoulder and laughing, a lot, as a baby a sign? My sister reported almost the same thing with her baby, was that a sign? I don't know. Here's what I believe....if they are able to be around in spirit, I can think of no other place they would want to be than near their loved ones. I don't know if that gives you any comfort, but it helped me. Hang in there, Ana

Last edited by AnaD; 06-12-2012 07:15 AM.

wife/caregiver to Vince, dx 4/12 Stage IV BOT HPV+ SCC, poorly diff.; T4N2cMo; U of C; Clinical trial, Everolimus; 6 wks ind. chemo (Cetuximab, Cisplatin & Taxol), 50 x IMRT, 75 gy chemorad w/5FU, Hydrea & Taxol; 5 years out, thankfully still NED
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