Facing the idea of losing my mum and not sure how to cope

Hi everyone

Im 34 and very very close to my mum (she is 78 but looks and acts about 40!)

2 years ago my mum went from being a very independent and active lady to disabled overnight due to a near fatal infection in her hip replacement which has to be removed and she now has no hip joint at all.

fast forward a year to the day and we find out she has stage 3B cervical cancer

we were blown away and devastated. 
I live with my mum and she has carers 4 times a day who are great 

my mum is being so strong and positive which is amazing but some days I am so overwhelmed and devastated at the fact she will never get better.

she had 10 sessions of palliative radiotherapy to try and shrink the tumour and renounce symptoms such as bleeding etc.

she feels well in her self which is great but the doctor and oncologist advised they wouldn’t do any follow up scans to see how successful it was as they don’t want to subject her to further radiation 

therefore I feel like I’m in no man’s land - not knowing how well it worked or how long I have my mum for

some days I feel so upset and scared as the idea of losing her is just incomprehensible 

it would be great to hear some of your coping skills and/or similar experiences as I don’t know anyone in my friend group who has gone through this


holly xx

  • Hello Holly, 

    You've come to the right place to talk to others who have gone through something similar and I hope that they will share their coping skills or give you tips to help you get through this incredibly difficult time. Your mum seems great fun and to have a real young spirit despite what happened to her with getting an infection in her hip replacement and becoming disabled overnight. What a blow it must have been to you to then find out a year later that she has stage 3B cervical cancer . I am sure your mum appreciates having you by her side and I am glad that she is receiving the help and support of carers 4 times a day. It's totally understandable to feel you are in no man's land and this is a feeling many members of our community will have experienced too. It must be frustrating after she went through all these sessions of palliative radiotherapy not to be given any follow up scans to see how successful the treatment was. 

    It's a very difficult time for you especially as you seem to have such a close bond to your mum and the idea of losing her must be very painful. Our website has helpful information for Family, friends and caregivers with helpful advice to help you support someone with cancer without forgetting too to take care of yourself. Finding time to focus on yourself can be really hard in a situation like this but it is really important so you can recharge your own batteries and have a little bit more strength to help your mum and be there for her. 

    I will now let our members who have looked after a loved one with cancer come and say hello and share their own thoughts and stories with you. 

    Best wishes to you and your mum, 

    Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator

  • Hi Holly,  

    I'm in a similar situation to you. My mum started having really bad pain in her ribs in October, doctors told her it was plurasy and gave her pain medication but it just didn't go away and in January this year my mum couldn't take the pain anymore and went to A&E where they told her she actually had cancer. Two days later she lost the use of her legs after scans it was revealed she had a massive tumor in her spine and smaller ones in her hip and both lungs. They gave her one very high dose of radiation on her spine to see if she would regain movement in her legs which it didn't. So after that they sent her home and basically said there is nothing they can do. They couldn't even give us a time frame of how long she would have left. My mum is my very best friend and I can't imagine my life without her and watching her in so much pain is breaking my heart. I just wish they would have done something for her.


  • Hi Vikki

    im so sorry to hear about what your mum is going through, I’m sending you a huge tight hug 

    it is such a scary and helpless feeling. have you been offered any counselling with a local hospice? I was advised to do this so I can process what mum has and what to expect later on down the line. I need to get that sorted I think as all of the unknowns cause me a lot of anxiety. 
    I don’t know about you but I find some of the medical staff great and others that just don’t seem to want to help or give any advice?

    holly x 

  • Hi Holly,

    I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through. Your mum sounds lovely and so strong. My mum (69) has stage 4 and the feelings and emotions that come with it all are unbearable aren’t they. I’m 35. I don’t have any coping strategies to share as I’ve not really worked that out for myself yet, it’s only been two months since I found out. What I try to do is spend as much time with her as I can and be so very present in that moment but also give her and myself space when needed. I’m focusing on making as many nice memories as we can, we are going to make hand casts and make memory books but that in itself feels emotional. I try and make her laugh and do normal things too, although it’s always there isn’t it. It feels very unfair, the pain of not having them in our futures, that was never the plan. I presumed I’d have her for another 20+ years. We’ve all started eating healthy together which makes us feel that we have a bit of control, we have considered repurposed medications but the research base isn’t as strong as we would like. I go to Maggie’s sometimes when it feels too much or text a close friend who I know will always listen. I did get a short prescription of diazepam from the doctor to help me manage my initial insomnia and stress, that did help calm me when I felt hysterical but trying not to use it now, still hysterical at times, I think that’s normal considering the circumstances. I have also taken time off work as I can’t do what I need to, my priorities have changed now. I also find spending time with my cats calms me a little. My mum joined a group for women who have secondary cancer, that gave her hope as there was women there who lived way past their originally prognosis. I think hope is something that really helps us. I noticed after her hearing this me, my mum and my dad all felt a little bit more upbeat knowing that she may be here for longer. It’s just unbelievable how life can change and it become the worst thing we have ever imagined.

    i am sending you the biggest of hugs, and although it may feel lonely know you are not alone. Happy to chat x