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Does anyone else ever feel ashamed when they get overwhelmed?

akbetty
Posts: 38
Joined: Apr 2009

I am new here. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on May 1, 2007. We have had many ups and downs along the way, but I have to admit that things are taking their toll on me now. He has become so weak now, but he's an artist and he has his work to keep him going. Sometimes I feel resentful that I am so stressed-out, sleep-deprived and overwhelmed that I have nothing to balance out my days on the positive side. I do have three wonderful children, and I'm so grateful for them every day, but with a 17 year old, a 13 year old, and a 3 year old, things can get pretty insane. My husband's parents also live with us, in an in-law apartment. They are both in their nineties, both legally blind, and my father-in-law has alzheimers (no, I am not making this up). I am not one to whine or feel sorry for myself, but I really feel it getting to me now. Sometimes I'm afraid I won't be able to take care of everyone and do everything I am responsible for. I saw my father die of cancer when I was 12 years old, so I know what cancer is, and I'm so proud of my husband and inspired by his strength. Does anyone else ever feel ashamed when they get overwhelmed by the whole situation?

MR_SAD's picture
MR_SAD
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2008

My heart goes out to you girl! Just having all you are having to deal with would be enough stress for anyone. To add being a cargiver for someone with Cancer, its amazing you are doing as well as you are. Try and get something from your doctor to take the edge off and get some much needed rest. You really need to take care of you every now and then, If you get sick, you will not be good to anyone. We all here at this site have been through alot and we are here to help you in any way we can. Don't ever feel ashamed for gettig overwhelmed. It is only natural to feel the things you feel. A person can only take so much and they need to get a break. Maybe you could have a friend or other family member come by once a week to give you a much needed break in the action. Take some time for you. It will do a great deal of good just to get away for even just a few hours. Take care
LOL Floyd

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Wow, girl, you have a lot on your plate. Anyone would be overwhelmed with the weight that rests on your shoulders! Two teenagers and a toddler, : ARGH! God love you, girl! Blessings they may be, but could there be a more demanding combination for any parent?? Huge hugs, kiddo. NEVER feel ashamed for feeling overwhelmed! You have every right.

Is there an adult day care (like a LIFE program??) or respite program in your region that could help you with your in-laws? When people ask, 'what can I do to help?', do you have a list that you can whip out and tell them 'Take your pick', or do you say 'not really' ?? You've GOTTA take any help that's offered! HECK, if I were nearby, I'd come over and help you out, and I'm in treatment for cancer!! (Any chance you're in central Pennyslvania??) And maybe you even need to ASK for help. BIG BIG HUG.

lizrider's picture
lizrider
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2009

Wow Betty, you are doing great, just keep going and don't worry if you feel overwhelmed, as any normal human would. You are inspired by your husband's stength but your story is inspiring the rest of us to keep going with our own trials. Thank you for posting this and keep up the good work with your family! God Bless- Liz

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Betty. Holy do you have a full plate. And I really think you deserve a vacation. At the least some time for yourself once in a while. Your an amazing caregiver. I wish you would say where you live as someone on here might be able to give you a hand now and then. Bless you Slickwilly

green50
Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

Bless your heart for trying to do it all. You need people to help. Family,friends someone here who lives near? Does the in laws have anyone else who can help? Can a medical help nurse come for them to help. And You need a break. I hope someone is close that you can have help you. You have got to take care of special you too. Let us know where you are maybe even if someone isnt close they can tell you some organization or something to help. God Bless Ya
Prayers and Hugs
Sandy

akbetty
Posts: 38
Joined: Apr 2009

Thank you to everyone who responded to my post. I think we all need to hear once in a while that no, you aren't crazy, you really are having a tough time. All the comments were so heartfelt and kind, I was so glad that I reached out--What a bunch of wonderful, supportive people! Thank you one and all from the bottom of my heart!

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Please stick around and let us know how things are going. I would also imagine you have all sorts of information about caregiving that could help others. You have taken that to a whole new level. I can only pray that you get some needed breaks and the strength to continue as the loving caregiver you are. Hugs and prayers. Slickwilly

akbetty
Posts: 38
Joined: Apr 2009

Thanks, I think I will stick around. I actually got out today! My husband's feet are swollen, so he needed some new shoes. I spent an hour at the mall with my three year old. I can tell I'm a little bit fragile, though, because my daughter wanted to throw some coins in the fountain at the mall an I only had two pennies. She asked for one more and when I said I didn't have any and started to walk away, a little boy about ten years old came running up and gave her two more. My daughter said, "that was so kind," and I just about cried. I have found that since I've been in this situation, simple acts of kindness mean so much to me. Caregiving has so many challenges, but many rewards also. It makes the things that really matter become so clear. Thanks for listening! It's already helped me to be here.

suzjazz
Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 2009

Betty, you are definitely not crazy--your feelings of shame and despair are signs of sanity and that you are human trying to cope with a terrible and unfair situation. My boyfriend has stomach cancer and we are not even sure what stage because they can't be sure until he has surgery next month. Today he is getting a PET scan to see if his chemo/radiation worked (he finished a 6 week treatment to shrink the tumor) Cancer has ravaged my own family--I saw my mother die too young of a brain tumor; my cousin also died of melanoma. I am a breast cancer survivor. I feel that I must be strong for my BF and never cry in front of him, but he is almost always around and the only other places I could break down would be work or when I am out doing errands, or in my therapist's office. I frequently walk around wanting to cry but can't because other people are around. Sometimes I go to a restroom into a stall to cry. The stress is terrible sometimes. He has to have major surgery and we have money problems, and on top of that, we just had a stupid fight, he left to get his scan, and I am crying by myself because I apologized and now he's angry and not forgiving me. Sometimes we feel there is no one to turn to and no one understands. I am grateful for this board because I can always be in touch with someone who does understand.

I don't know if I can be of much comfort to you, but I hope and pray that things get better for you and that you have some support (therapist, clergyman) Everyone needs someone to talk to and fall apart in front of. Remember that it is your basic sanity that makes you feel this way. It is a natural response to a cruel disease. I hope today is a better day for you.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Akbetty. It was great that you got our for a while. Having a young child in the home is a blessing and I wish my children had not grown up. For many of us cancer completly changes our lives. I have always been a giving type person but cancer brought a whole new dimension to how much I cared about people and their suffering. We quickly find that we can never do enough and that hurts more than my daily physical pain. Someday when things settle down you will be the person handing out pennies at the fountain.
Suzjazz. You have a long struggle ahead of you. When we go through cancer we sometimes take our pain and suffering out on the person we love. The person that is the closest catches our frustration, anger and fear. Some drugs make this problem worse as there is a loss of mental control and we don't even realize it. I don't have all the answers as each case if different. But I suspect your boyfriend would like to cry also as he is just as afraid of things as you are. He is proubly putting up the same strong front and trying to be strong. So some communication between you two about your fears might be in order. Express your love and fears and fight together. Blessings to you both. Slickwilly

akbetty
Posts: 38
Joined: Apr 2009

Thank you for your thoughts. I am so sorry for the stress that you are under. It sounds like you've had more than your fair share. I liked what you said about how it's sanity that makes us feel like falling apart, not INsanity. That's a really smart way of putting it. I'm sure your boyfriend is grateful for your support. You will have fights and arguments, because you are both stressed, frightened, and angry. But you'll also learn to forgive each other quickly, because you need each other more than ever now. A couple of times I've wanted to shoot myself after snapping at my husband, but he knows I'm going to be there for him, no matter what. You need to find a way to let yourself cry. As you said, we are only human after all. I find myself crying in the car after I've dropped my daughter at pre-school. I guess it's one of the few times I'm ever alone. All the best to you. I hope your BF gets a good report from his scan. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

akbetty and suzjazz,
I'm sending you my biggest (((hugs)))! You have a whole lot on your platter and you're both handling it with such grace; you may not see it that way, as you are too close to the situation daily. But as a cancer survivor,who is dependent on my husband and children, I see the courage and strength in both of you.
I just melted down yesterday because of the stress of upcoming tests and my husband held me and told me he was proud of me for fighting so hard for our family. I didn't feel courageous but, his kind words were all I needed to get back on track and keep going. You may not see it or realize it but just a few kind words from you and your family can recover and recoup from the stress and pain much more quickly.
I have found, like Randy Pausch, that crying in the shower is a great way to relieve my stress when I have a bad day. It may not be the answer to the problem, but it sure does feel good to let those emotions out; and nobody is the wiser! I also spend time here with people that I know understand ALL that I have to deal with.It can only help to share your feelings and concerns; so many here are experienced with all that you are going through and can offer great advice and support.
Hang in there and know that you are loved and appreciated, even if you don't hear those words too often. Sometimes, we survivors are so wrapped up in getting through this battle that it's hard to acknowledge that we aren't going through it alone. Sometimes it's hard to accept help or feel dependent and that may be one of the reasons that you don't hear "thank you" very often- not a great way to deal with it, but very human. It's not easy being a survivor or a caregiver but that's what we have to deal with and it can only be better if we have someone to love and support us along the way.
So hang in there, know that you are truly loved and appreciated! I hope you have a better, stress-free( or at least stress-reduced) day.
Much love,
Hollyberry

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