It is obvious how very much you love your Mom - I am sure she is very grateful to have you for a daughter. I personally do not think there is enough attention paid to bladder cancer in the world. The cigarette packages don't make reference to it, and there is hardly ever any fund raising events for it, and at funerals it seems no one ever requests contributions to bladder cancer research specifically. As we all go along concerning ourselves with pap smears, breast exams, lung cancer, colonoscopies, and heart disease, then "POW" bladder cancer hits out of the blue! And the treatment is life changing, traumatic, and dramatic - a person's whole bladder is removed along with nearby organs such as the uterus, and the bowels cut also to use in the surgery - all this, and as immediately as the surgery can be scheduled. The symptom of blood in the urine as a sign - red/pink urine should be attended to as soon as possible. The knowledge of the importance of this symptom is not well enough known. I went 2 years after this symptom because a lab tech at my clinic told me that was a common symptom in women so I didn't need to see a doctor about it. Then 2 years later I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and had the surgery your Mom had right away. Then my husband was diagnosed 3 years later also with bladder cancer - we got him in for the surgery right away because we knew the symptoms this time. We were told there is no good chemo yet for this type of cancer. He had chemo anyways, but maybe because he was older in age than myself, the cancer spread and he passed away last year from it. The hospital kept looking at his kidneys for a month (even with an MRI) and didn't see cancer so he was encouraged to "stay off the Vicodin" for his back pain - he wanted to go home. At home for one day, now with bed sores from the hospital, I could not get him out of the bathtub! I could not leave him alone to go to work, and he could not get out of the chair alone - so I brought him to a nursing home. The next morning he had a low sugar crisis at the nursing home and was taken to the emergency room. There they did a Cat Scan and informed us his liver and lungs were FULL of cancer that had spread from the original bladder cancer. He died a week later - thankfully he was now able to receive pain medication. All he wanted to do was to go home but he never got a chance. I am telling you all this because I want you to know that medical personnel cannot predict how long a person will live. I was shocked at the aggressiveness of this cancer. I thought my husband would be around longer - I even worked the day he died and was planning to bring him home on hospice the next day. In hind sight even though he didn't complain and was surprised he was terminal I should have noticed his present symptoms - it happened over time little be little so I didn't see the dramatic amount of change in him over the previous year. Like your Mom he had back pain and leg pain. He died on Monday but the weekend before he had an energy surge and was able to talk to all his siblings and children in person or by phone. He was in much pain but I brought him outside anyways in a wheelchair after much help from the wonderful nursing home personnel. He was ornery from pain, and wanted to escape to home. He did not want to eat or drink. It hurt him to bath him. He tried but could not squiggle out of bed even though he had managed to fall out of bed at the hospital. The last night before he died he had hallucinations in his dreams. He wanted to see pictures of the family. He did not talk about dying. Because he didn't say much I did not either - I realize now he wasn't able to talk - I could not read what was going on in his mind. I should have spent time talking to him had I been aware of this. I should have made others leave the room and spent time alone with him talking about our 26 years of marriage together, etc. I had no idea we had so little time left together.
I am telling you all this because I don't think you will get the answer from your Mom or anyone else as to how much time you and she have together. If she is already on hospice I feel you should take the initiative and tell her everything you feel about her as if she will be gone tomorrow. If she is with you another year or two it will not hurt to do this now as she is most aware at this time. Take off work, spend alone time with her, make sure she receives pain medication, and if she gets cranky at times don't take it personally, and take advantage of the breaks provided by the hospice team, etc. We have a daughter too and she had to stay and take finals at college and would be home in 3 more days, but her Dad could not stay with us any longer - that is how fast this cancer works, even though he tried so hard to hang on until she got home. Many parents do not want their children to worry about them or suffer their pain so your Mom may not let you know how bad she's feeling. I only hope if my bladder cancer spreads that I can be as strong as my husband was and not whine. He sat in bed with a little smile on his face to be social, not talking up until the end. It is good that you are trying to make her more comfortable about the lymphedema because it shows her how much you care. My husband and I were both in denial and its in this area I hope you can get through so you don't lose any of the precious time you have left with your Mom. I pray that God gives you the strength to help both of you during this difficult time. Tell her you love her, and give freely of kisses and hugs......