My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in December 2014. She was 76 years old at the time of diagnosis. She lives in her own home in northcentral Montana with my father who was diagnosed with dementia three months earlier. She had a bilateral mastectomy with lymph node removal 7 days after her diagnosis. I spent three days with her in the hospital, then took two to three days off from work to help her recover from surgery at home. During this time, I would empty her drains, record the amount of in each her 4 drains, clean and re-dress her surgical incisions. I would administer medications and help with daily functions such bathing, toileting, and dressing. In January 2015, she began chemotherapy treatment at Sletten Cancer Center in Great Falls Montana. She had chemotherapy every three weeks. During this period, I would drive up to Great Falls from Helena on my day off from my full-time job and spend 6-10 hours with her during the treatment, then drive back home and work the rest of the week. I would then drive up on weekends and other days off to provide care for her.
In May 2015, I made the decision with my husband to quit working full time so that I could take care of my mother full time. The side effects from the chemotherapy had made it difficult for her to take care of herself. She suffered from fatigue, short term memory loss, loss of skin and nails. I cooked, cleaned, corresponded with insurance companies and medical facilities on her behalf, and managed many day to day household duties. In June 2015, I resigned from my part time job as I could no longer fulfill the requirements of the part time duty. My mother continued her treatment in June 2015 with radiation.
She finished her radiation in July and suffered side effects including fatigue, nausea, and dry skin. She continued to need care and I provided care by driving up to her home and staying with her for days at a time. I believe I could have benefitted from the insurance plan as it would have provided some income to help pay household and personal expenses. It would have provided reprieve to husband as the sole income provider for our household.