This week… a heartfelt thanks to the thousands of our listeners for their well wishes for Annette…

In this special episode of Parents Are Hard To Raise, Diane speaks emotionally about her Mom’s devastating diagnosis.

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Show Transcript

Parents Are Hard To Raise S02 Episode 89 Transcript

Diane: [00:00:00] Welcome to Parents Are Hard to Raise, helping families grow older together without losing their minds. I'm eldercare expert, Diane Berardi.

[00:00:09] So many of you have sent emails of well wishes for my mom. I had mentioned that she was going in for tests. And I want to thank you first of all for so many... I couldn't respond to everyone. There were just thousands of emails of concern and of well wishes for my mom. And I just want to thank you all for those. It means so much to me and to my mom.

[00:00:36] And so, my mom had a biopsy done last week and we got the results.

[00:00:48] We had to go this week to see the oncologist and the results were not good at all. Not favorable at all. They were... We were shocked. Honestly. You know how this vibrant woman could just get a diagnosis like this. And and you know for... Not much that the medical community can do for her.

[00:01:18] And I'm so overwhelmed about it. And you know when we were waiting for the oncologist to come in, you know, my mom kept saying I know it's bad. I know it's bad. And we kept saying listen, we don't know what it is. One test was inconclusive and we didn't know.

[00:01:40] And when he came in and he told us that there really isn't much that can be done and there's a... You know he gave us a time frame, and we're looking at him like, oh my gosh you know how can that be?

[00:02:00] And my mom you know... What do we say to her? How do you comfort someone? Like, what do you say? And because we all just sat there and... You know my mom said I knew I was going to come in and get a death sentence.

[00:02:16] And I guess because oncologists... some are so you know... You have to be a kind hearted person, I would imagine, to be an oncologist. But I guess because they go through and tell people and have to just kind of give facts and... it seems cold, no matter how you present it.

[00:02:39] Now... Maybe it's because the news is so cold. And of course he asked us you know he told us you know certain things and of course you know my father said, "Well what about surgery? I had lymphoma and this is what they did and...".

[00:02:56] And he said, "No. That is impossible here.".

[00:03:01] And you know we said OK.

[00:03:04] He said, " Now some people opt for no treatment, and some people opt for chemo.".

[00:03:11] My mother said, " Well I offer chemo, I want to live."

[00:03:14] And we said, well what's the prognosis? And of course he gives you statistics, which I guess is what he has to do. "Well statistically, you know..."

[00:03:23] And statistically, with the chemo or without, there is not much of a difference. Which is shocking.

[00:03:33] You know when someone hears cancer... You just think "cancer." You don't realize there's so many different cancers and varieties and you know, where it is and treatments are different. And so we left there in shock. And then we went home. And I feel if my mom's gonna talk about it you know then we talk about it, if she's not... When she's ready to talk about it. And we kind of we kind of...we didn't know what to say or what to do. You know, you just...

[00:04:09] And my mom said to me call your sister, and call your brother. Did you text them? And I said no. You know I wasn't going to text them. I said I was going to call them when we got home. And she said, No. Call them.

[00:04:21] And so, of course I call my sister and she wasn't expecting that either. You know you're just not expecting news like that.

[00:04:30] And so she said, Well there has to be something... You know there has to be something. And my brother-in-law is saying, "Well I'm going to look... You know there's gotta be clinical trials. I'm going to look.".

[00:04:40] And I said, Well there just isn't anything. There is no cure or treatment, really. And so, the chemotherapy is going to help her get through the time that she has left.

[00:05:01] And so...

[00:05:06] You know your mom... You know your mom is 89 years old, your dad is 90 years old and you know that... we're all going to die, and they're going to die. But you still... I still... I still can't fathom my life without my mom. Because it's your mom. And she's always been like a 'take charge' person, a happy person, and someone who... You know, she'll solve anything for you.

[00:05:36] And you know I talk to her every day and...

[00:05:42] I can't imagine life without her. And... but I say well, I have to be strong for her. You know people are saying to me, "Well, you have to be strong," and what does that mean?

[00:05:54] You know, I do. And I would never just cry to my mom... Oh my gosh, because this poor woman, you know, has things that she has to deal with...We Have to deal with as a family.

[00:06:11] And you know, my dad...

[00:06:14] It's hitting him after a few days, I think it's sinking in. He said, I can't... I don't understand. How could that be? You know, how could that be this timeframe? You know how could... The short period of time. It doesn't make sense.

[00:06:29] And so you know now he's having... He feels like he can't breathe.

[00:06:33] And with your spouse... How do you... How do you comfort both of them?

[00:06:40] And my mom is worried about him. "Who's going to take care of him?".

[00:06:43] And I said, Mom... What am I chopped liver?" I'm here. I said we have to you know we have to figure it out.

[00:06:51] And my brother and sister are in a different state; they're not close by. And I'm an hour and a half to two hours away. So now you know I said. We have to have a plan and we have to figure it out.

[00:07:04] You know, you have to have a plan. But you know you push that... You know you do and you know your parents aren't gonna be around forever, but they were... They're both vibrant people. You heard them, they're busy doing things. People would say to me oh my gosh... First of all you're so lucky that you still have both parents, and one's... Your mom's 89 your dad's 90. And they're like they're 70. You know, that that's how they are.

[00:07:33] And people are calling me and and saying, Is there's anything I can do? You know family and friends and oh my gosh.... They mean well and they want to lend a hand and you need that support system.

[00:07:49] But it's also hard, I think because... Like my mom, because I'm there, I've been there, you know, she looks for me. And maybe someone else can't comfort her like I can. Someone can probably drive her to a doctor appointment. But you know, and I know from you know dealing with my mother-in-law, I know from my experience dealing with the elderly, they get... They feel secure with one person.

[00:08:26] I remember my mother in law... She always wanted her son. She always wanted my husband, she always wanted her son. That one person makes you feel secure.

[00:08:35] Now I'm sure my brother and sister make my mom feel secure, but right now, I'm the one who's here. And even though they don't want you to go crazy and they don't want you to be there all the time and they don't want you to feel bad. And she said, "Don't you worry about me."

[00:08:52] And I said, I'm not going to worry about you. I'm not worried about you. But of course I am. How could I not. And...

[00:09:04] I don't know. I don't know. I have all these emotions running through me. You know and I don't want to talk to people, at times. And at times you know when people are calling, and so you don't want to be rude and you people offering help and you want to talk to them and you want to... You know I say thank you and I appreciate that. And you know my cousins will say, You know I can stop by. I can go shopping for her.

[00:09:27] And yes they can. And I am certainly going to take them up on that. You know, or I can drive her to doctor appointments or I can drive her to chemo.

[00:09:35] And that's something that if she wants then that's OK, you know. But if she feels like she needs me to do it, then that's okay too.

[00:09:46] And... I know there's so many people that have gone through this. You've gone through it with a spouse or a mom or a dad. And you get through it somehow.

[00:10:03] But, your whole life... it can just change in a moment.

[00:10:13] And so for all of you that have your mom and dad... Give them a hug. Call them up. Make them laugh.

[00:10:24] There is one thing that I can do. I can make my mother and father laugh. Not that I tell jokes. It's just me. It's just... They laugh because I'm... I'm not the most coordinated...

[00:10:36] You know, first of all ,you know I pronounce names wrong, that's something. But I'm not the most coordinated person or I just... You know, I'm like a bull in a china shop. .

[00:10:48] I went shopping for my mom. You know, the other day and she had this list, and of course, you have to get... That generation it has to be these specific brands... Of you know... of butter.

[00:11:04] She has like 14 different kinds of butter on there, you know, on the list. The tub butter, and the sticks and.... And if you can't find that certain brand...

[00:11:14] And my husband goes one way with the cart, And so I said, I'll go the other way. And she wanted these Renuzits. And so she wanted six of them. So I don't have a cart. I don't have a basket. The store is jam packed. And so I just... I'm holding my purse, I'm holding my cell phone, I'm holding her shopping list, I'm holding in the circular from the store, because she circled things in there... She gave me a list and she circle things in there... And so I'm trying to find things in this circular-- And she gave me the wrong one. She gave me the one that starts on Sunday and I'm there on Saturday. I come to find out. So I'm like, Okay...

[00:12:01] So, I have all these six Renuzit in my hand and I'm trying to find my husband, because he's got that cart, and that store is so packed, you can imagine. And people are everywhere and I'm not familiar with this store because I haven't shopped in the store, so I don't know where anything is. And then she has two pounds of sugar... Not one but two. And so now, I see the guy, he's putting sugar he's I guess it was on sale probably because you know he's there with the pallet of sugar and he's trying to put it away. And I go up to him and of course my Renuzits fall all in his pallet of sugar. [laughing] [00:12:39] The poor guy's like... You know he looks up. And I'm like, Oh... I'm so sorry.

[00:12:43] No no, he says. It's okay.

[00:12:45] He goes, Do you need sugar?

[00:12:46] I'm like, Well ,yeah. But I need two.

[00:12:48] So... Trying to coordinate two pounds of sugar and the Renuzits... He kind of you know piled everything on me.

[00:12:56] So I find my husband, I dumped them in the cart and then I'm on to the Tropicana orange juice.

[00:13:03] And so there's another clerk putting them in that case. So I see him and he's making stacks of them piling them up. So I thought I was taking... Because there was people all around, and I was trying to just kind of slide in. I thought I was taking the top one... Well I didn't. I took like, I guess, a middle one... And they all fell. And he looks at me.

[00:13:26] And I go, "Oh I'm so sorry."

[00:13:27] No no, it's OK.

[00:13:28] I said, Let me help you pile them back up.

[00:13:31] "No, no ma'am. Don't worry about it. No no no." He couldn't wait to get rid of me.

[00:13:36] So I was like, oh my gosh.

[00:13:37] So I tell my mother and father that. You know I tell them and they laugh. So OK I can make them laugh.

[00:13:47] Because I don't know what else to do. You know... I can be there. I don't know.

[00:13:59] I know, I have to be a daughter. And of course, you know, I'm saying to my mom, you know she's sitting in the recliner and I'm saying to her, "What do you want me to do for you? I gotta do... You know because I feel like I have to do something.

[00:14:13] I'm like, "Let me vacuum. Let me dust."

[00:14:15] "No, no. Just sit down. Sit down."

[00:14:17] No, I said.

[00:14:19] "Sit down put your feet up.".

[00:14:20] I'm like, No. I got to do something.

[00:14:22] "No... No... No."

[00:14:23] I finally convinced her to let me dust, because I feel like I got to do something. And so I dust like two pieces of furniture in there, in her living room. Then she says, " Stop. Stop.".

[00:14:34] And I'm like, Ma... I only did two pieces. Now you have some you know dust some.

[00:14:39] "No. Come and sit by me. Talk to me."

[00:14:41] So, you know, I have to do that. And part of me is just like, I gotta do something. I have to do things for her. But I know I have to just be a daughter. I have to just sit there and talk to her and spend time with her.

[00:14:58] And I think, I don't know how I'm gonna get through. I don't know how I'm gonna get through the next several months. And I don't know how I'm going to get my father through the next several months. But I know I will.

[00:15:18] I just... And I don't know.

[00:15:20] My mother is gonna be worried about all of us. You know, as a mother. I mean that's what she worries about. You know my husband was outside doing something outside for her and she's like, " he has to come in he's gonna catch a cold." You know, she's a mother, and she'll always be a mother, and she'll always be my mother.

[00:15:35] And so want you to just hug your mom if you have your mom. If you have your dad just hug him in and keep us in your thoughts and keep us in your prayers.

[00:15:49] And I so appreciate your emails and if you have a glass of wine tonight have a glass of wine from my mom make a toast to her, and to your mom.

[00:16:07] Because nothing replaces your mom.

[00:16:12] Love you mom.

[00:16:17] I want to thank lipstick bodyguard, because they've been with us from the beginning. They've been a sponsor of ours from the beginning. And they told me, don't do our commercial in this episode, because this was such a personal episode for me, and they said, No please don't do it. And I just want to thank them, because from the bottom of my heart, that they've supported me and this show since the beginning.

[00:16:43] So thank you very much. Lipstick bodyguard.

[00:16:47] Remember, I love getting your e-mails and your questions, so please keep sending them in. You can reach me at

[00:16:55] Or just click the green button on our home page.

[00:16:58] Parents Are Hard To Raise as a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast was managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York.

[00:17:06] Our New York producer is Joshua Green. Our broadcast engineer as Well Gambino and from our London studios, the melodic voice of our announcer Miss Dolly D.

[00:17:15] And please, if you like the show give us a five star rating, because that will help other people find our show.

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[00:17:30] Thank you so much for listening.

[00:17:33] Till next time, May you forget everything you don't want to remember and remember everything you don't want to forget.

[00:17:39] See you again next week.

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