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rockfan's avatar

How do you handle a situation when a relative or family member is worrying about a possible serious illness?

Asked by rockfan (10720points) August 26th, 2014

My mother is experiencing some unusual physical symptoms, so she’s going to have an MRI done on Thursday. I’m just as worried as she is. I want to express how much I love her and appreciate her, but I’m afraid that’ll send the message that I think it might be serious. I don’t want to worry her even more. Have you ever been in this situation?

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3 Answers

longgone's avatar

First off: Fingers crossed. Best of luck on Thursday!!

Until then, don’t overthink this. If you want to be there for her, be there. Nothing wrong with saying, “I love you” one time too many.

Chances are she’ll be worried until Thursday, no matter what you do. I’d try to spend time with her. Take your cues from her behaviour, and mirror her mood as best as you can.

Remember that this is hell for you, too. You’re not supposed to be a therapist – you’re allowed and expected to be confused/sad/overwhelmed.


KNOWITALL's avatar

THink positive, find good outcomes online, distract her, go with her if you can.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Throughout my career in healthcare, I’ve seen multiple instances where the patient ends up comforting the family. Some people have the ability to face illness with a quiet resignation while their family are constantly anxious. It’s normal to feel as you do. Your mother should understand that it affects you as well as her, so don’t worry too much.

That said, it is important to remember that the point of a diagnostic test is as much to rule out as it is to rule in. Maybe you will get some bad news. Maybe it won’t be as bad as you fear. Either way, you simply don’t know, so try not to send your brain into overdrive thinking of the possibilities. Deal with what is happening on a given day, and don’t think too far ahead. If your mother is as ill as you suspect, you will find a way to deal with it at the time. It is nearly impossible to put yourself in that state of mind until you get to that point though. I hope it all goes well for you and your family.

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