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Am I wrong?

angelyn's picture
angelyn
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2011

First time I've posted on the caregiver site and would like some advice.
My mother has limited sclc which was in remission for 7 months and came back in the same lung. Lately she has been crying constantly and is really depressed because she thought the cancer would go away longer. She now takes chemo for the new cancer. She takes anti-anxiety medicine and anti-depressants but doesn't take the anxiety medicine like she should because she says it makes her too sleepy. When I say something to her about her crying all the time she gets really mad at me. I tell her that it isn't good for her to cry 24/7. The other day we were at chemo and one of the ladies who works there told her it was alright for her to cry like that. To say the least I didn't appreciate her advice. This morning we had an argument because she was crying again at breakfast. When I said something about it she said that she was tired of me saying anything to her and could not understand why I would say it was bad when the lady at the cancer center said it was okay. Then she told me that I did not understand how it felt to have cancer. I told her she didn't understand how it was on me either. I feel really bad about arguing with her, but I am the only one who takes care of her with no help from any of my family except my uncle. I told her that I wouldn't say anything else to her about this. When she crys she makes me so depressed and I end up upset some days and go home and cry. She tells me that she is sorry that it bothers me so much. Am I wrong? Is all this crying healthy? I am at my wits end.

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

Not to be mean, but really? You're mad cause your mother; the patient with reoccurring cancer; who is facing her own mortality; who is taking drugs that are supposed to work but are instead making her sick; who is forced to depend on others because of her physical weakness; who has a disease that may very well kill her; you're mad because she's crying too much?

We caregivers DO have it rough, angelyn. It is absolute misery to watch our loved ones turn into shells of their former selves. The responsibilities we take on when caring for some one with cancer are near to impossible. We can't sleep, or have normal jobs, or depend on what used to be the constant of our lives remaining "normal".

Sounds like you're angry, and you have every right to be. But your mom is the one who is facing the BEAST. I think you should let her feel and emote what she needs to. You don't have to like it, but you do need to try and understand it. Its not her job to try not to upset you. Its your job to try to love and support each other thru this very personal, very individual journey. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just ARE. Come here and vent to us about how upset and angry you are. We do it all of the time; it keeps us from having to do it to our loved ones that are so so sick. Put on your game face and support her through this as best you can; you never know if you're going to regret the arguments that you're having now.

I buried my mother and my husband of this horrible disease in the last 13 months. I tried the best I could, but I still find ways to regret the things I said and did in anger and wish I could take some of that back.
Penny

angelyn's picture
angelyn
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you Penny for your response. I appreciate you answering me.
Maybe I am being upset for nothing and I try not to say anything to her about it, but everything I DO say is wrong. Its not that it upsets me that she crys, its that she cries everyday, many, many times a day and I worry about her because the first time she took chemo she threatened to kill herself. I went to the oncologist today with her and they give her a quiz on how she feels, and on the crying she put "very severe". He told her he was very concerned about it. He suggested she see a psychologist but she wouldn't. I also am dreading the time that I lose both my mother, who is 68, and my grandmother, who is in a wheelchair, who is 94. I am the caregiver for both of them because I am an only child and no one in the family will help out. I don't want any kind of credit for taking care of them, I love both of them very much and know that when they are gone that I have done everything possible I could. I will try to "man up" and do better.
Good thoughts and prayers going your way.
Angie

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

Angie,
By all means keep going to the doctor and insist on a psych eval for your mom. Suicidality is a real danger to the chronically ill. I'm currently on antidepressants myself, and I wasn't the sick one! There should be some help available to her where she's getting treatments. At the hospital, insist on talking to a case worker who can maybe do some intervention on your mom's mental health. And while you're at it, take care of your own. I am still seeing a therapist regularly and it's been really helping me. Believe me, we caregivers rarely get "credit" for caring for our loved ones, but it is an honor to be able to advocate and help some one who can't do for themselves.

I apologize if I sounded too harsh.
Penny

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1610
Joined: Aug 2009

As caregivers we worry about those we love as they fight this dreaded disease. We so want to fix them, to help them feel better. So often we can't. It is so frustrating. The only thing you can do is the best you can do. If your mother is unwilling to seek help from a mental health professional, there is very little you can do. Maybe you just need to accept the crying without comment. Go into another room if you need to do that. You can't change your mother's behavior. You can only change your reaction to it. I'm guessing that you are both scared as well as angry with this recurrence. Take care of yourself, too, and hang in there. Fay

AngKad42
Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2011

My name is Angie too, and its my husband who has cancer. But I understand where your coming from a bit. I mean on one hand yes she has every right to be upset but so do you. I get upset with my husband when he gets negative, I never though I would be the strong one in our relationship; never thought I would have to face this with him being sick. And to be honest I don't think I have unleashed ALL my feelings yet, I don't want to do it in front of him or our kids (they are teenagers and I know they would understand) but I feel like all those feelings are MINE and I really don't anyone to see it. But through all of this, watching my husband cry for the first time, uggg, watching my kids fight back tears in front of dad, everything I have been positive. I keep telling him we are going to get through this, we just have to fight we have to stay positive. And most of the time he is with me, but he has days( and it't understandable) but he gets negative and depressed and I can't stand to see him like that, it kills me. I have to leave the room, bit my tongue and just let him have his moment or day or whatever it is. I understand how frustrating it must be for you to watch your mom like that, not only frustrating but upsetting and hurtful too; but maybe that is the best way she has for now to cope, and if it is then she may want to seek outside help. And medication may not be the answer, maybe if she can blog or keep a journal about her feelings, maybe paint or something else to just let all those feelings out maybe helpful for her and you. Just a suggestion and don't feel alone or like your a horrible person because you can't stand to see someone you love in so much pain. Yeah, getting angry at her isn't helping but I understand.

angelyn's picture
angelyn
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks to everyone who has replied to me, I appreciate each and every one of you. It helps alot to know that I am not alone in this.
This morning she seemed to be doing better than yesterday. I am being very careful to be neutral on anything she says so that I do not upset her in any way. We go for PET and CT scans in a couple of weeks and I pray to God that she has some good results. It's so hard to see her like she is now. A once strong woman who took care of herself and everything and everyone else who went from managing three offices to no job and staying home all the time. I know it is so hard on her. I have tried to get her back to reading which years ago she did and that seems to help her. During the first chemo she would not even turn on the television and now she does do that, enjoying a couple of shows.
Angie, I know that you are having a hard time, and I can't imagine having kids and going through this with them also. I will send prayers your way for you, your husband, and children.
Hopefully all this spring weather will get us and our love ones in a better mood. If she gets out some, even just to walk out on the carport it seems to make her feel better.
Thanks all of you for listening to me and I know I will be posting again. Thank you for letting me talk to you guys and giving me the opportunity to tell some wonderful people how I am feeling.

Lots of love going to all of you-
Angie

Barbara53's picture
Barbara53
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

My mother wasn't much of a reader until she got sick, but now she is. I've been taking care of her for over two years, and I know the large print section of her library by heart. She loved all of Philip Gulley's books because they weren't as dumb as most of the "cute cozies." You might want to look for them.

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

Angel,
I can understand why you're feeling frustrated. You're being caregiver for your mom & your grandma has to be so stressful. Your mom probably feels devastated that her cancer has returned. I know how hard it is to have someone you love go through this darn cancer, but I can't imagine how I would feel if it was me suffering from it. You have to be strong and just be there for your mom no matter what. Maybe she should go to see a counselor to help her deal with it. Check it out if she's going to a cancer hospital, they should have someone to talk to her.
My husband was diagnosed in January of 2010 with lung cancer with mets to the brain & spine. He died on March 25, only 2 months later from a rare side effect from Avastin which was one of the chemos he received in his first treatment. So I know what it is to be a caregiver even though I only had a couple months of it.
Just hang in there and if anyone can help you handle this let them.
Keep posting as to how you're doing. Carole

angelyn's picture
angelyn
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks Barbara,
I will look for those books for her. I am sure that she will enjoy them. Sounds like you have been a caregiver for quite a while with your mother also. It's hard sometimes isn't it?

Carole-

I have followed your posts for quite a while before I signed up so that I could blog myself. I am soooo sorry about your husband. When we start this lung cancer fiasco we have such high hopes, praying that we get 5 or 6 years with our loved ones. It is so devastating when we only get a short time and I feel so bad for you. We have not used Avastin and if her oncologist DOES suggest that drug, then I will tell him about your husband and how a side effect was what ultimately took his life.

Your husband was diagnosed the same month and year as my mother and she started her chemo with Eptoside and Cisplatin. Her diagnosis was limited SCLC, so that may be why she was not given the Avastin. Luckily, it has not spread out of her lung, but to tell you the truth I would not be surprised if the PET scan that she is taking next week may show something in other places in her body. Right now she is coughing alot, spitting up brown mucus, and is complaining about her chest being sore. When we asked her oncologist about this, he said it could be that the chemo is killing the spots OR that it has not and it is still there growing. Not good odds on that one, huh? She also complains about her back alot also.

Being a caregiver is frustrating sometimes, but rewarding also knowing that you are taking care of someone who loves you and would do the same for you. I have a wonderful husband who has been very understanding about the time I have to spend away from him to help out with my mom and grandmother. But talk about guilt!! I feel guilty when I am away from them to spend time with him, and feel guilty about him, when I am with them!!! Sometimes, it's like you cannot win, no matter what you do. My life has done a complete 360 and what life I had before January 2010 is gone, never to be back. I don't care so much for myself, but if my family could all be healthy and happy, I would gladly switch places with my mother so she would not have to go through this. I just pray that God keeps me strong, and helps my family and everyone else that is going through this cancer journey. I pray for you and all of the people I meet who have cancer and have lost love ones to this horrible disease.
Love to all of you-
Angie

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1610
Joined: Aug 2009

I get the feeling that you are in a better place now than when you wrote the first post here. I know what a hard time we can have when the cancer reoccurs. It is a real set back for everyone involved. I hope you continue to post here. It really does help to know that others share the same feelings you do.

I sense that you are really wishing you could be in two places at once. Try to remember that you can't. Guilt is a wasted emotion and you don't need to feel guilty. You are doing the best you can right now. That is the best anyone can do. I'm glad that your husband is understanding. I'm sure that makes all the difference in the world.

Hang in there. This caregiving is really hard. I think it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Ask most caregivers and I suspect they will say that they, too, wished they could trade places with the loved one with cancer. I know I did. I was very lucky that my husband understood how hard it was for me. I will tell you, though, that as hard as it was, I now treasure the time we had. I realize what a blessing it was to be with him. You're right, there are rewards in caring for a loved one. Some you don't recognize at the time. Fay

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