Mother-in-law Just Found Out She Has Leukemia

Updated on March 29, 2009
K.T. asks from Alvarado, TX
17 answers

hello girls i need help me and my husband just found out that his mother has cancer and was hoping on some sujestfull hents as to how to help my husband get through it and still be strong myself i have looked up much about it but need help to find a way to get it off my husband mind so that he will not go in to a depreson or any thing of the sort?? i do pray for her and all of our family to be able to get through it and stay strong and my doughter is 5 years old how do i explain this to her????

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M.B.

answers from Wichita Falls on

The Leukemia/Lymphoma [email protected]____.com has resouces for the patient and their families. There is even financial help for patients. Also, leukemiatexas.org has information and financial help. Learning about her disease may take away some of the fear involved. She can get into support groups that can help her as well.
GL.
M.

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M.D.

answers from Dallas on

I am going thru the same thing. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in Jan. He has never smoked and was perfectly healthy 4 months ago. It has been such a shock! He went from being just fine at Christmas and now he can barely get out of his chair. There is not alot you can do to ease your husbands fears or pain. The best thing is to just be there for him. I told my husband he has to let me deal with this in my own way- and it has been very hard! My dad is only 62. But when I need a shoulder to cry on, he is there. I will share with you what my dad told me.."your girls need you the most and that is what you need to focus on. I dont want this to consume your days because that is not good for your family. There is nothing we can do to change what is going to happen so we just need to accept it and enjoy what we have" (I cried even typing that to you)
Be thankful for the time you have left together and make it as memorable as you can. We only have about 9-10 months left with my dad- and I think that is the hardest part. Knowing it is happening is so hard. As for your daughter- (my girls are 3 and 7) My oldest knows that her pa-pa is sick and I just told her that he is not going to get better. I told her he may feel better at times but his sickness is not going away. Unfortunately, my youngest is too young and probably wont remember him too much. That makes it hurt worse. I really feel for you and your family- there are so many unanswered questions when this happens and it seems to be so unfair, If you want someone to talk to thru this- please feel free to PM me. I will be thinking about you.

2 moms found this helpful
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D.D.

answers from Dallas on

My Mother-in-law died from melanoma last year and I feel for you, your husband and your children. With regards to the kids, while she was undergoing treatment we explained that she was sick with a disease called cancer and we would hope that she got better but that she might not. It helped the kids to make her cards when she was too tired/sick to see them. Be sure and explain in advance if there will be any changes to her appearance, such as losing her hair to chemo. Hopefully, she will beat the leukemia. If not, I highly recommend a book called The Next Place for your kids if and when someone they love dies. It is still one of my daughter's favorite books and brought her much peace after her grandmother died.
When it comes to your husband, all You can do is be there for him. I found it very hard as both of my parents are still alive and I truly didn't know what he was going through. It helped for him to talk to friends who had already lost a parent. It is very hard, especially for men who lose their moms. Give him lots of physical affection so he doesn't feel alone, talk when he wants to talk and plan time to spend together doing something relaxing to give him a mental break. You are in my prayers.

1 mom found this helpful
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S.T.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,
My father was also recently diagnosed with Leukemia. It was a shock at first but you need to find out what type of cancer/leukemia your mother-in-law has. The type my father has affects older adults. It is a extremely slow progressing form of leukemia - so slow that he requires no treatment. The doctors tell him he will die of old age before the leukemia really gets bad. It is still very scary to think about though. We have decided not to tell my 5 year old son about this. He is too young to understand and will probably just get frightened. It was a relief to know that my dad will not need any type of chemo. or radiation - just annual blood tests to monitor the disease. Hope this info helps and I hope your mother-in-law has the same type of leukemia my father does. The advances in medicine are amazing and cancer is no longer a death sentance.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Dallas on

My dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 12 years ago, also a blood cancer. I suggest joining a support group with or without your MIL. The support groups offer emotional support and so many more benefits. There are people there with advice on medications, transplants (bone marrow and stem cell) what works, what doesn't, where to go for the best treatment (some hospitals are better than others for specific treament), what are the latest and greatest medical breakthroughs. Often times the support group leaders know of new advances before the oncologists. The support group leader focus on the research of one kind of cancer only, whereas oncologists treat multiple cancers. Knowledge helps you feel in control.

Light the Night walk every fall is a blood cancer fundraiser and helps you connect with others who are in the same situation you are.

Most importantly, Go to church, get connected and pray!

"I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength" Phil 4:13

"The joy of the Lord is my strength" Neh 8:10 Keep your joy and encourage your MIL and husband to keep theirs.

My family has fought life and death battles with my father and my husband. Praise God we still have them both! My dad was given 2 months to live 12 years ago, my husband was told 7 times "you won't be alive in the morning" (military injury). As a family of Christians we know that if dad and my husband live we win, but if they die and go to Jesus, we still win because of the sacrifice of our Savior we will spend eternity together!

1 mom found this helpful
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C.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,
I'm so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. You might be interested in contacting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at THE NORTH TEXAS CHAPTER
8111 LBJ Freeway
Suite 425
Dallas, TX 75251
###-###-####
(800) 800-6702 (Toll Free)
###-###-#### (Fax)
They can help you with information and also have funds to help local families with some of the extra costs of dealing with this. You also might be interested in participating in Team in Training which trains you to participate in a physical endurance event (marathon, triatholon etc.) while raising funds for research. There are people on the team who have Leukemia themselves or who have a friend or family member with Leukemia or who are just interested in helping. There are information meetings in April for the Fall team. I will keep you in prayers.
Cara

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

You didn't mention what stage of cancer she is in, which is important in tailoring your message to your daughter and even to your husband. My father was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer about 4 years ago but thankfully received the proper treatment and is now cancer free. I didn't despair but kept a very positive outlook that as long as he was getting the proper treatment he had a fighting chance. Of course knowing the stage and type of cancer and the survival rate was helpful, so education is very important in this process. But at the same time dont' despair even if survival rate is not in her favor, because if she is strong and you all rally around her, she can still defeat it (can you say "Lance Armstrong?"). A a few years prior my husband's aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Again, because it was found early and because she opted for aggressive treatment (her sister had died from breast cancer many years ago plus she lost a brother and mother to other forms of cancer), she has now been cancer free for all these years. She is a young, and favorite, aunt of our children so it was important that they knew she wasn't well but that she was getting the best treatment, although the treatment itself would make her feel sick for a while.

So I highly recommend you do your research and know your facts about her cancer and her treatment options. Some great resources are www.livestrong.org (Lance Armstrong Foundation), www.leukemia-lymphoma.org (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society).

Best wishes to your mother-in-law and your family as you work together in defeating her cancer!

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C.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K., I am so sorry to hear that. Even as an adult a parent's health can be so important.

Can I suggest for your mom in law to seek a nutritionist now. Someone that deals specifically in total body healing. It's worth a shot. Tell her not to wait, go now.

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S.W.

answers from Amarillo on

After the shock and the whys settle down the best thing you can do is be there for him. He will be up and down with this and have to learn to accept what is going on with his mother and this will take time. Take care of yourself with proper eating and sleeping. If you have to make lists of things to do to keep hubby and you busy. Tell him how much you love him and really mean it. Just let your little one know that grandma is sick and is not going to get well. You will know who to phrase this. Just be matter of fact without extra details - if she asks then give a bit more but not a whole run down. I will be thinking of you and your family. Do keep us posted. The other S.

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R.M.

answers from Dallas on

I am so sorry to read about your Mother-in-law. You didn't say how long she has had cancer or what stage. If she's choosing treatment, they have made remarkable discoveries and continue to do so everyday, so I would keep HOPE alive as long as possible. No 2 people who have cancer have the same experience with cancer just the same as no 2 pregnancies are the same. I don't know how you can keep your husband from worrying or becoming depressed, that's going to also have alot to do with her experiences with pain, weight loss, etc. Men are not like Women though and don't tend to dwell on these things like we do. Be there to listen to him, show him your concern, let him know you care about her and you are praying for her, that's all you can do. As far as your daughter there are some very good children's books out there dealing with this subject. Maria Schiver (Spelling?) Arnold's wife, she wrote a very good childrens book on the subject after the death of someone (can't remember who, but I'm thinking Rose Kennedy) that was excellent. I had a son that was 4 at the time My Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer he refused all treatment and lived 3 good years before he got brain cancer and then another 3-4 months. I didn't discuss anything other than he was sick until almost time for him to die. By that time I didn't have to explain anything, my son simply told me, I think it's time for Grandpa John to go to Heaven because I think he's tired of being sick. I have a big family and he died at home with the whole family there, the kids outside playing, we had to cook out, there's no way we could all fit in his house. All the adults handled it very well and none of the children saw him in any pain, he had gone into a coma and they thought he was asleep and in no pain. He didn't pass away until about 1:30 AM so all the kids were gone by then and just a few of us left there with him. Since the adults were not crying and falling apart, the kids all handled it as a natural event and was very glad that GrandPa John was no longer sick in bed ~ he had been rather active, even with the lung cancer. My prayers are with you and your family.

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R.H.

answers from Dallas on

Look into support groups in your church or talk with your pastor. They can help you because they probably know resources who deal with cancer. That is good that you have family support because that is the most important of it all. They will help you through it in this time of need. It is hard to explain to children because they don't understand what is going on but your pastor or support group will help you with explaining it in a simple way to your child. They have more knowledge of how to deal with this situation. My prayers are with you and your family. Keep on praying as well as the rest of us will do for you.
God Bless.
R. H.

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M.H.

answers from Dallas on

You should contact the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. When my uncle was dying (in Indiana) they were extremely supportive to all the family including me when I went home to say goodbye. The North Texas Chapter has some very nice people. If they can't help they may be able to offer some other resources to check with. My prayers go out to you and your family.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

Sorry to hear about your mother in law. All I can say is that God will give you and your family the strength you need to make it through this. He is in control and will comfort all of you!!
My sister has leukemia (cml) and just recently lost her husband to colon cancer. She was diagnosed in April of 2005 and is doing pretty well. Has been in some form of remission most of the time. She does take a chemotherapy pill and will for the rest of her life. CML is one of the better types to have. I would just suggest she seeks out treatment from a well known, university affiliated cancer center in order to get the best treatment. A university setting is going to have the best information regarding new medications, studies available if needed, and used to seeing many, many patients with the same disease. My sister is seen by her doctor about every 3 months and gets bloodwork, not had to undergo any other treatments.
It really depends on the type of leukemia. I wish you and your family the best and will keep you all in my prayers.

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A.F.

answers from Dallas on

K.,

The body has abality to fight even cancer and over come it. Out body is a miracle, given the right balanced nutrition, I have seen many who have overcome many issues including cancer. Make sure your mother in law floods her body with the best nutritional supplements that will help her immune system and help her body to heal. Stay strong and encourage your husband to do the same. Your strength will help her to fight more.

If you need information on nutritional supplements, let me know and I will give you information.

My prayers are with you and your family.

Blessings!
A.

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

Somehow kids know, and seem to understand. We went through something similar just a couple years ago. My mother-in-law lived with us, so my kids were in the middle of it all. My mother-in-law had Scleroderma. She lived with it my boys entire life, but got better. When she moved in with us, the Scleroderma attacked her and she was in the hospital for kidney failure. She was released and for about a year we knew she was sick but she lived as if nothing was wrong. February a year ago, she passed away. I don't think there is much you can say to your husband and him not get depressed to some extent. Just be there for him, listen to him, and comfort him. Leave him alone if he asks and be watchful. Kids just know, and I say that because I have proof. The day my mother in law passed away was supposed to be a great day. I was at home taking a shower getting ready to go up and visit her. My husband had just gotten off shift at the Fire Department and was at the hospital with his sister. They were going to take my mother in law's breathing tube out and she would get to talk to the for the first time in 5 days or so. She died before they could get the tube out. We were all shocked, I was soaking wet getting out of the shower when my husband called. I got my clothes on, I didn't even get to dry off and dressed my 3 year old son. In the mean time I called my dad to tell him and because I had to talk to someone. I never mentioned my mother in law's name, I just refered to her as "her" on the phone. I didn't know what to say to my son. We got in the car, and we were driving down the road. I was crying, and my 3 year old said exactly this.."Mommy, why did Grammy die?" I was shocked!! There was nothing I could have said, but he knew. I say all this to say, let your daughter know her grandmother is sick, let her know she needs her love more than ever right now, pray for her and for your husband and for your daughter. She will understand and she will know when things aren't good and when they are. I believe God speaks to them, and comforts them. I know this is hard for your family, but trust in God, and it will be easier. The pain won't go away, and the questions, and the anger, but HE is FAITHFUL in ALL things.

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C.K.

answers from Dallas on

K.,

I am soo sorry for you and your family. My families prayers and prayers are with you always. In times of need, God (or a higer power, will look over you, if you have difference of opinions...)will give you what you need when you need it. I have a saying that God never gives us more than HE knows we can handle. Just be there for your kids and answer their questions, short and sweet, just enough to satisfy their immediate needs.

cyn

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S.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K..
First of all, let me say that I will pray for your family. I know this will be hard for you to hear, but there is really nothing you can do to keep your husbands mind off of it. Women always want to make things better, but in this instance, all you can do is be there for him. If he wants to be angry and yell, then let him yell at you without taking it personally. If he wants to talk, just listen. If he wants to cry and be depressed, then give him your shoulder. He may be the type that trys to be strong and doesn't want to show any emotion about it. Everyone deals with tradgedy in different ways. Let him grieve in a way that works for him. It will be difficult for you as well, so don't forget to take care of yourself while worrying about everyone else in your family. As far as telling your 5 year old, I have no experience with that. I would just say follow your heart and tell her as much or as little as you feel is right. I wish the best for you all.

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