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Caregiver Fatigue

SrM57
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2007

My mom was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Lung Cancer last December. She has gone through radiation and her first rounds of chemo, but has had setbacks and can't complete her chemo. First it was pneumonia and most recently a severe case of shingles. She is suffering with the post shingle pain and is in agony. We just got the results back from her latest PET scan. The results are good as far as the tumor in the lung and the lymph nodes that were involved, but indications are the adrenal gland is now involved. She doesn't understand that - she's too zoned out on the morphine, etc. she is having to take for the post shingle pain. And probably just as well - between the cancer and now the post shingle pain, it has her very depressed. She won't seek counseling and won't consider anti-depressants. I'm here alone with her. My sister lives on the coast and only is able to come back every few months. I find myself getting very frustrated and fatigued dealing with all this. And then I feel guilty that I am since what I'm dealing with is nothing compared with what my mom is going through. I plan to seek out some counseling for myself. But would appreciate hearing from other caregivers to let me know how you have learned to cope with taking care of someone fighting their way through the cancer journey.

fizbobunny
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2007

I don't have any answers for you. Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Don't feel guilty for your feelings. It is very hard to be a caregiver and I'm struggling through myself.

askmeg
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2007

hey there! I can't really give you advice on how to get through what you and your mom are going through, but I can tell you that you are not at all alone. I am a daughter and caregiver to both of my parents before the age of 30. First was my mom with breast cancer and then my father with salivary glad cancer. Depression can play a big part in both your mom and your life, it's the one side effect the doctors don't tell you about and they can never really prepare you for. I felt guilty every day also. Some days I would feel like I'm to young to be here taking care of my parents at my age. Then some days I would feel guilty because I was the healthy one. Actually, for me, the best way I lived throw all of it was two things, humor and Relay for Life. Laughter is a great medicine for both you and your mom. I know it sounds odd to laugh at cancer but I have to surviving parent, It works. And as for Relay for Life, it was the only place a found people who knew exactly what I was feeling. If you have any question please feel free to ask me.

daddysgirl33
Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2007

I feel your pain and have a couple ideas. Has anyone offered a morphine pump implant? There are neurosurgeons who implant the pumps to help increase the patient's awake time so they feel better with a constant steady infusion of the drug without being zonked with a large dose at a time. Ask your Dr. And also don't be afraid to ask for help. Hospice is great not only for help in careciving, but also for advice, to answer questions, and to make sure your mother is comfortable. Hope this helps some. I know it all helped when my father was battling Pancriatic Cancer. I never saw anyone endure so much pain. I felt so helpless. I wish I would have had Kathi's Caregiver Bill of Rights. It is wonderful and should be followed by all caregivers.
God Bless
Barbara

chef_renee64
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2008

I too, am the only one who's taking care of my Mother, plus working and mananging my own house with hers as well. It's exhausting! I've come to find out that my "controlling nature" isn't cutting it and asking for help, even if just for one day is a God Send. And, that was very hard for me to do. I can only wish for Cancer free day when I don't have to worry, be there for just about anything, be prepared for that phone call and the visits inbetween the Chemo's could entail a 1/2 hr. to 4 hrs, it's all so unsettling. I move into her house every two weeks and come home for about 5 days, then it starts all over again. Yes, it's so much worse for the Cancer Victim, but you are important too, and it's very hard to put yourself first, ever. But, sometimes you have to to be able to stay strong to take care of your loved one with Cancer. I made a list of daily things that need to be done, so if anyone visits, they can check the list and feel good about helping (and they really do want to) and it might be the simpliest of things, like picking up a prescription on their way to visit, to taking out the trash or helping them with yard work, watering plants or getting thier mail. Hope this helps you today to give YOU the break that you need so very much..

ajbf
Posts: 28
Joined: May 2008

hi,
seek counseling or talk to some one, before it eats u alive ,my hubby was dx oct 07 i keep his page update on him ( ajbf ) , but for me ,i new something was wrong but didnt have time to think about it, because i was always takeing care of my husband & our 4 kids, and trying to keep the house up ,i just notice my monthly friend was comeing every 10 days i cant tell u how long its been happening ,ive been on a rollercoaster ride that still is on going,i feel like im falling apart, inside and out, i finaly went to the dr ,had to do a ultrasound & pap smear that was over due, dr told me she believe its stress.now im going crazy waiting 4 the ultrasound results,the big C is putting the hurt 2 our kids to, we all need a break, its hard to explain, know 1 understand the pain we r going thur,we have pain for or kids going thur this, it hurts inside and out, its catch up with u ,we need to let it out.... i didnt learn...til it effected my body..dont wait til it effects your body...take care of you, find away to let it out,and dont forget to go to the dr 4 you....

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

SrM57,

Many of us aging patients and former patients without adult children fear the days when we may not be able to care for ourselves, and would be grateful to have someone like you in our lives. This being said, I fully understand the overwhelming responsibility that has been placed on your shoulders and the toll it takes on your emotional resources. Some hospitals offer respite programs for caregivers, permitting the caregiver a few days or even a week sans dealing with the patient. Hines V.A. Hospital did this for my mom when my dad was a patient. Know also, that it is not uncommon to resent the patient, even though you love them. You may feel guilty for this resentment, but the "resentment" is unnecessary, it is normal and not intended for your mother, but for the situation you are both forced to deal with. I have been both "patient" and "caregiver" in my life and sometimes I believe being the patient was easier!

Love and Courage, and, as a former patient, a big THANK YOU!

Rick

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