How to avoid being stuck in the middle?

ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,942

Having been sworn to local silence, this is the only place I can air my concerns. So:

A dear friend of mine, aged 88, looks like she's getting sucked into the breast cancer vortex. She's been called back for an ultrasound after a self diagnosed lump showed up on a mammogram. It's a lump.

This lady is aging with all the panache of a well bred terrier. She's fit and spry and though she's a little grey around the muzzle, it's only when the light hits her eyes at certain angles that you really see her senior status. She is a relentless traveler who has just come home from an off the grid trek through Iran and Turkey "What ever you do, Marg, don't go anywhere you have to wear a hijab if it's over 35 degrees"

So, she's fronted up here and told me what is going on. As far as she can figure it, anyway. The shutters have come down and she is hugely insulted that her exceptional body seems to have turned against her.

I've drawn her a bit of a flow chart that shows the basic progression between having a lump and being told you have cancer and what may happen after that. Who's who in the zoo stuff. She was fine with that. A glass of wine on a cold afternoon with yes/no responses where 'no' meant not cancer and lead to the box that said 'have more wine'. It went down well. I've offered to put her in contact with the local breast care nurses. She says not yet. Her GP is a decent sort who I think will support what ever decisions she makes.

She's seen what I have gone through in the last 12 months and all the way has said "I'm not doing that if I ever end up in your position." Of course, she's in not in my position, but she is nobody's fool and has outlived many of her contemporaries.

Enter the daughter. Only the two of us know what may be going on.

If the daughter was a dog she would be one of those overbred ones who suffers every complication known to science. Her response to her mum's possible, and I'm still saying possible, situation is "You have to do everything, I can't bear to lose you". Every pragmatic bone in my body aches when I hear stuff like that.

So, potentially stuck in the middle. I don't want to withdraw support for what ever decisions my friend may make, and I have a fair idea what she is likely to do. I also don't want to get involved with family stuff that is none of my business.

There's not much I can do but advocate for my friend to be able to make her own choices, but I don't want to interfere either.

This is a shit of a disease. Marg


  • socodasocoda LeumeahMember Posts: 1,680
    Hey Marg, Totally agree with Kath. Support both, be the dispenser of the wine and tell them both that you can see both sides. Xx
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    Don't be caught in the middle. They need to sort it out between themselves soon. Nobody wants to lose a parent but in the logical order of things we should, no parent wants their child to pre-decease them. I have inadvertently hushed up a couple of conversations here by mentioning the d word, but at 88 it's the elephant in the room no matter how fit or spry. You may be able to help them talk about their expectations and how they can come to terms with them, that would be a great thing. But they really need to do it. Pneumonia can carry an 88 year old off before cancer does, it's understanding how they face these issues together that's the real trick. 
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,942
    A general anaesthetic can be as good a way to bump off the elderly, or significantly reduce their quality of life, as anything else too. We've talked about that. I'm not the most tactful creature, which works quite well for some people but not for others. It would be nice to not put my foot in it, but the probability of that happening is pretty high. Oh well, we shall see.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,463
    .....and so it goes, the days of our lives!  Kettle on, wine chilled ready for the next session of talking it through, debriefing et cetera 
  • Jane_ElizabethJane_Elizabeth Member Posts: 142
    I hope your friend gets to make the decision she is happy with, and that the duaghter comes to the realisation that her own discomfort is of little consequence in this situation. I hope your friend has a written Statement of Choices/Advance Care Directive in place, so that her own wishes can be made legally binding. It's tough having to be the Kofi Anaan sometimes.
  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,527
    I have a similar lady in my bc support group. She's in her 80's and very'young'.She had a mastectomy and no further treatment and is doing well 3 years on.In fact she's going from strength to strength.I would imagine your elderly friend's medical team will make decisions in her best interest.
Sign In or Register to comment.