May 08, 2010 - 5:15 pm
I guess I'm realizing I need to talk to other caregivers to get some perspective and encouragement, so here I am.
My husband has rectal cancer (his dad died of it at age 54). He's had chemo and radiation, then surgery. Node positive, so off to some more aggressive chemo for four months. Some growths in lung are being watched, but not labeled as metastasis yet. Hopefully once the chemo is over, he'll have a 3 month "break" and then have the reversal surgery for the ileostomy he has now.
He's a very social person and surrounded by people giving him lots of encouragement, attention, gifts, etc. He has a great job that is flexible and letting him have whatever time off he needs during this cancer fight. I'm grateful for that.
But, I'm slowly becoming a wreck. I am just realizing that I can't do everything and that I will have to give up writing my dissertation and possibly my whole doctoral program. It's not like I can take a year off and pick it up again. New research and literature come out all the time and I would need to include that and start my writing again. I feel like that part of my life is atrophying and slipping away. I spend so much time at the hospital and cancer center with my husband (which I want to do). But I also lose hours each week to dealing with the financial aspects and insurance companies, etc. And because he cannot do things around the house, I am trying to do all those things on top of my usual tasks/chores. It takes its toll. I get bitter that no one notices me and that I need some "care package" or encouragement. I feel like a real selfish person if I draw attention to myself after all "I'm not the one with cancer."
And I continue to struggle with the fact that my husband procrastinated for over a decade to have the screening colonoscopy done (his mother and I kept reminding him, but he would never go). Finally he went, but the cancer was already there and developed. I keep feeling like we didn't need to go through this loss of time, money, productivity, health, if only he had just gone for the screening at the right time. I know this doesn't change anything, and of course I care about him getting better and hoping that he is able to survive, and that is my biggest priority. But, the day to day grind just highlights the practical realities of losing all that we saved up for, putting aside my work and goals for my doctorate,etc.
I really don't mind being his ostomy nurse, taking care of the details, holding everything together, I just wish someone would "notice" that this whole cancer thing is affecting me too and that I'm paying a cost too.
Thanks for letting me rant,