- 3 years ago
My mom has stage 4 of a very aggressive cancer. She was diagnosed last June. She was first given the most powerful chemo on the market, and it worked for about 4 months. Then they tried this new form of radiation on her, and it worked on all tumors except for her liver. And then they put her on this chemo that was given in a pack. She had her scan recently and there was new growths on her liver. There were so many that the doctor said “it’s a lot”. The doctors wanted to put her on this new immunology treatment, but it wasn’t approved for her type of cancer. She’s the first one ever to have it. They told us to be pessimistic about the insurance company approving it, and said it might be weeks, but it was 2 days.
I was out of the country when we found out the chemo failed, and that the doctors wanted to try this immuno therapy drug. I was excited because it got approved, but had a feeling my family was keeping some information from me. I came home a few days ago, and was told that the doctors, while excited, kind of gave my family a reality check. They’ve been good to never give us a timeline, saying it’s not going to help anything because everyone is so different. We all know that the stats suck (less than 5% make it after a year of diagnosis). The doctors told my mom they were “very worried about November”. I told my mom we’d move the wedding, and I immediatley contacted the venue. I asked what she wanted to do and said she didn’t know. They have an opening for October — I told my mom the changes in budget (we’d be on the on-season package, and have to invite 50 more people). Unfortunately my mom wanted to “take care of things” and she and my Future Mother-In-Law paid off the venue and catering bill immediately — we can’t get the money back. She also told me “I don’t care about the ceremony. You guys are basically married. I care about the day, the leading up to it, the party. Seeing everyone.”
So this was an awful day. I had been out of the country for months, thought we were at a good point, and then get hit with this. I feel like I’m going to vomit. And my mom and I went to do errands, and in one sentence she’s asking me about centerpieces, and the next, she is asking me when she is going to die.
My mom made me call her doctor and hear it on my own. I asked her why, and she said she’s having trouble taking it seriously. I said “so you want me to ask your doctor if you’ll be dead by November?” and she said “yes”. I told the doctor the logitisical issues: the finances of it, that there’s another out of state family wedding the week before, etc.. She said it would be a thing to think about, moving it up. That there’s no way to know what happened, but that the team felt they had to say something. They didn’t want November to come, something happen, and us be surprised. I told her that they scared my mom, and she’s afraid she’ll be dead or on hospice. She said there’s no way to know, we should be thankful she’s on the drug, and if this one doesn’t work they have one more pill that they can try. There’s no more trials coming up, and my mom’s pathology is very unique, so they likelihood of her getting on a trial is slim. I told them I felt like moving the wedding would be like telling my mom I don’t think there’s any hope, and that we’d be paying for a “death party”. Everyone knows what is going on (except for this latest development), and the tone of the day would be changed. It wouldn’t be fun for her. They said they know what I mean; my mom is one of the most positive patients they’ve ever had. The doctor kept saying there’s no right answer, but that we should really think about it. That if this drug doesn’t work, there’s complications like blood clots, that her tumors are aggressive; some people can last in a healthy state for a while, even with tumor growth, and some people can’t. I asked if she would be on hospice, and they said she could be. There’s no way to know.
I hung up the phone, and thought about it. My family has tried to approach this with positivity and normalcy — there’s nothing we can do but charge forward and put all we have into it. I’m always the one to remind my mom on the bright side of things, in a joking manner, and trying to keep her happy. In the past year, our wedding has been her joy and focus. After a long conversation with my fiance, we decided to not move the wedding. We decided that it would be out of character for us. If we need to, he and I have a plan B, where we will have a small private family ceremony and dinner, and then redo the wedding in November.
I called my mom and said “we’re not moving the wedding”. She said “why?” and I said “that’s not how this family does things”. She immediately said it’s what she hoped I would say, but didn’t want to affect my decision. She said “Of course I’m going to be there. I have too much to do.” I feel like telling her it was on was a validation for her, teling her she had a shot. My stepfather said he had wanted the same thing. I felt ok with the decision. Not happy, obviously, but ok, and felt like it was the right thing to do.
Please tell me I did the right thing. I feel like I did the right thing for my mom, but that I basically went against the suggestion of the doctor. My mom wanted me to call them basically to make sure she wasn’t ignoring what they said. It’s kind of like we did … is it?