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Child (Daughter) Caregiver, sick parent

chrissygrant
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2012

I'm new to this site today after the realization that I have become pretty resentful and angry toward just about everything to deal with my personal life. My mother has Stage 4 metastic breast cancer and doesn't seem to be getting better no matter how many treatments she tries. I'm the oldest of 3 girls in my family and feel like all of the burden of my moms cancer has fallen on me. I even hate to use a word like burden and my mom in the same sentence that is how upset it makes me. I get angry with my sisters for not doing things as fast as I do (chores, requests) things like that or if they don't pick up the laundry or wash the dishes before they are overflowing. I feel like this is a lot of complaining but needed a healthy place to get out my feelings. I feel like no matter who I talk to no one ever understands.

I'm getting married in the fall and even talking to my future husband is hard. No one ever knows what to say besides they are sorry. Sorry doesn't really cut it for me anymore. I am terrified to move out with my husband after our wedding and leave my mother, step dad and 14 year old sister to fend for themselves. I hold so much of the house responsibilities on myself that I can't even picture them surviving with out me there. I am terrified that my young sister is going to see to much and that I won't be able to protect her from the ugliness that cancer brings to households, not to mention the fact how out of control she acts.

Any advice on this matter would be much appreciated, even just someone who has/going through what I am.

Thanks

cdeleon
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2012

It may seem impossible, unbearable, and you may feel anger, resentment, confusion.

But things happen so fast. Cherish your moments, forget about others for now, concentrate on mom and getting yourself quiet, relaxing times outside of the house.

I moved back home from out of state to take care of my mom with stage 4(?) leukemia. I had the most challenging 2 years of my life. I am the youngest of 6, all siblings were female, I am an only "boy," man, really. But I digress.

No one seemed to be able to help, care or understand. Hospice was a blessing. So was my (also out-of-state) fiancee.

To end this, mom died. Quicker than anyone ever expected. Although 2 years was a very long time, it wasn't long enough.

I feel blessed and honored to have been my mother's caretaker and the one to help her unto the next life.

Count your blessings. Find Hospice help or counseling help. It all moves so very quickly.

Good luck and God speed.

Bearsmile
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2012

Hi I understand how you feel about things falling apart if you are not there. I take care of my Dad. It is hard for me to get away since when I am gone things don't get done but I have learned that I need to go away and recharge myself. The house work eventually gets done. I know that if I am not taking care of myself which is really hard then it is harder to take care of Dad. My brother lives in CA and I am in MA so it can be really hard at times especially when Dad is sick but I have found this is a great place to vent and where people understand. I struggle with that alot. It is hard for people to relate unless they have been care givers. I like how you used ugliness I never thought of it that way so thank you.
I too get tired of hearing sorry. It means little at this point. Actions speak louder than words. We all deal with cancer differently and maybe you need to talk to your sister and tell her what you need and be honest with her. I bet she has no idea how tough things are since you aren't allowing her to see how tough things are. Give her a small look and work with her to help both of you.
Hang in there and know that you are not alone. Have a good day and try to smile :)

Bearsmile
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2012

Hi I understand how you feel about things falling apart if you are not there. I take care of my Dad. It is hard for me to get away since when I am gone things don't get done but I have learned that I need to go away and recharge myself. The house work eventually gets done. I know that if I am not taking care of myself which is really hard then it is harder to take care of Dad. My brother lives in CA and I am in MA so it can be really hard at times especially when Dad is sick but I have found this is a great place to vent and where people understand. I struggle with that alot. It is hard for people to relate unless they have been care givers. I like how you used ugliness I never thought of it that way so thank you.
I too get tired of hearing sorry. It means little at this point. Actions speak louder than words. We all deal with cancer differently and maybe you need to talk to your sister and tell her what you need and be honest with her. I bet she has no idea how tough things are since you aren't allowing her to see how tough things are. Give her a small look and work with her to help both of you.
Hang in there and know that you are not alone. Have a good day and try to smile :)

Bearsmile
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2012

Hi I understand how you feel about things falling apart if you are not there. I take care of my Dad. It is hard for me to get away since when I am gone things don't get done but I have learned that I need to go away and recharge myself. The house work eventually gets done. I know that if I am not taking care of myself which is really hard then it is harder to take care of Dad. My brother lives in CA and I am in MA so it can be really hard at times especially when Dad is sick but I have found this is a great place to vent and where people understand. I struggle with that alot. It is hard for people to relate unless they have been care givers. I like how you used ugliness I never thought of it that way so thank you.
I too get tired of hearing sorry. It means little at this point. Actions speak louder than words. We all deal with cancer differently and maybe you need to talk to your sister and tell her what you need and be honest with her. I bet she has no idea how tough things are since you aren't allowing her to see how tough things are. Give her a small look and work with her to help both of you.
Hang in there and know that you are not alone. Have a good day and try to smile :)

Noellesmom
Posts: 1312
Joined: Aug 2010

You sound a lot like me, Chrissy, and I wonder how much of this responsibility you are keeping to yourself when you could let some of it go. Fourteen is pretty young and I can understand your concerns - your stepfather may not do much right now but this is when you want to start letting go of some of your responsibilities around your mom's house, just as you would be if your mom was not sick and you were simply getting married to start your own life.

Not saying you should make an drastic changes - it's just time to assess the situation. I mean, what would they do if you didn't make it home from work - had a car accident and did not survive? I assure, life would go on. Differently, but it would still go on.

Bunches of hugs, Chrissy. I know how hard this is.

chrissygrant
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2012

It is nice to hear words of encouragement from people that actually understand what I'm going through. It is so hard sometimes, we just want to love our family so much. I will use this website much more efficiently! I'm going to try and take the back seat and have more conversations with my younger sister about taking her part in this journey.

Bennette
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 2012

Chrissy,

I understand totally where you are coming from. I am the oldest, with 2 younger sisters and a brother. My parents have been divorced for 20 years, so my mom was alone when we found out in March she had stage IV kidney cancer. At first everyone is around, helping out, but then in mid April it was decided she couldn't be alone anymore. My situation is a little different in that I already have a family with only one at home full time, she is 17 and my 20 year old comes home from college for the summer and holidays. Since I had already rearranged things to work from home and care for my first grandson, when he was born 4 years ago, I was the logical choice for taking in my mom. At first everyone was saying they were going to help out, etc. That doesn't last without you taking some action. I had to learn how to convince my siblings what they needed to do to contribute and I had to broaden my "help base." I can tell you are probably the one that "handles" things in your family, there is alwasy one, in my family it is me! So use your skills and teach them what they need to do. Help them out with lists and schedules and make sure you include breaks for each of them too. I have utilized my mom's siblings (my aunts and uncles) to help out. One of my uncles comes over every Wednesday night with his wife and they either take my mom out for dinner or bring her dinner, if she is not up to leaving the house. Another of my aunts makes meals for us, which I pick up when we have to take a trip to the cancer treatment center, as she lives near there and isn't able to get around much, but loves to cook. My youngest sister comes over and stays her for one or two days a week to care for my mom. My other sister doesn't stay the night, as she has 2 little ones, but she brings them over and they take care of mom for a day. Then I have another aunt who is "on-call" she comes over for a few hours, etc, when I need or want to leave the house. But, I had to take the offers of help and turn them into a schedule of who was going to do what. This way no one was overwhelmed and everyone is contributing and spending time with her. I am sure you can work something like this out, so you can feel ok about leaving home to start your life.

I hope this gives you some ideas, in addition you can look into homecare assistance or hospice, if this is needed. I am not really sure how much family assistance you have, I am lucky to have a large family all within 30 - 40 minutes of each other. I would point out that I do not put major responsibilities on my children. But I do ask them for other help, like picking something up at the store or helping out more with housework, etc. I don't ask them to care for her, but they do naturally stop and visit with her or ask her if they can get things for her, etc. This is just not a time in their life where I felt they needed the additional burden of their grandmother's care on them, it is hard enough on them to watch her go through this, since she is in our home.

My heart goes out to you, I know you can figure this out, just don't wait for someone else to step up - get to assigning!

Bennette

jennal24
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2012

My mother has stage IV triple negative breast cancer... She has now been put on hospice in the hospital and is about to transition back into her house... I have a step father and 3 younger sisters, I just turned 28 on sunday and I have a 21 month old daughter... I live in CA and my mom, sisters and step father live in FL... I am flying there tomorrow to first see my best friend so I can get myself together and then I will be going to take care of my mother in her final months... The doctor told my step-dad it could be weeks or months, only time will tell... I had just seen her in May and she was walking around, eating well, and feeling good... Now 3 and a half weeks later she's barely eating, she is so medicated she gets confused, she has lost 10-15 since I just saw her, and my step dad said she looks like she is 80 and she is only 56... My youngest sister is 13, the next is 15, and the next is 18... I am the oldest and the one that lives on my own and I just so happen to be counselor so of course my sisters are all going to lean on me... I am leaving my fiance in CA to go stay at my mother's side and thank goodness he is so supporting and loving because I don't know what I would do without him at this point. I have been talking to my co-workers, who are also counselors, and my fiance and my step dad about all that is going on and I come on here and a few other sites as well and it is really helping me... I am also seeing a psychiatrist to make sure I am able to cry to several people. I haven't seen my mom yet and I know when I do I will most likely freak out but all I want to do is just hold her and tell her how much I love her... The way I look at this horrible tragedy in my family is that without my mom I would not be here and she once took care of me so now I feel like I should take care of her and show my sisters that I am and will always be there for them... I'm sure my sisters are hurting just as I'm sure your sister is hurting as well... I don't know if you have tried sitting down and talking with her but I did with my 18 year old sister who was acting a fool for awhile there and after we talked she helped more with chores and with stuff for our mom... I am so sorry you are going through this... But we can go through it together and as I write this I am sobbing because I can't imagine my life without my mom. I will pray for your mom and hope these feelings of sadness and despair pass the both of us and we can find some kind of peace... I don't know how I am going to go watch my mom die in front of me without completely losing my mind... But I hope that I can find some sort of peace in some way... I will update and I hope you find peace soon... You deserve it after all that you have taken on and congrats on your upcoming wedding... I'm sure that is something that makes your mom happy...knowing her daughter has found happiness... Good luck and lots of hugs!!!
Jenna

chrissygrant
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2012

First thanks to everyone for replying to my message.

After I posted that topic, I went home from work and simply asked my mom if she thought she was going to die. I also told her I was going to her doctors appointment with her to ask her doctor if he thought she was going to die (soon). The reason for my concern was because my mom was very sick (using the bathroom up to 15 times a day) which we came to find out that she contracted a infection called CDiff contracted by going into hospitals and lack of people washing their hands. She was put on a antibiotic and is starting to feel much better. According to her doctors report he is positive that she has many more years left to live but even after telling my sisters that, they are still skeptical. My mom still holds so much responsibility still on herself and it is almost impossible for me to convince her to slow down and stop doing so much for everyone. I have to continually tell myself that she does it to keep herself "going" and that I shouldn't interfere. The way my mom is going I don't think she will stop fighting until she is laid up in the hospital and can't move anymore.

We took my mom to her first Relay for Life event and it brought tears to my eyes of the honor that she felt that day. It is nice to get her around other survivors so that way she remembers that she isn't the only one who is going through this. To everyone involved, cancer is a scary thing but one positive thing I've learned is that my mother is the most amazing person I have ever met. I don't know why she was chosen to get cancer but she fights it with every part of her being and I couldn't more more proud. I have to remind myself of the little things.

Jenna- I am sorry to hear this news. Please report back and let me know how you are doing. I hope your mom passes with much grace and bravery. I am dreadful of the day that I am in your shoes, scared to death of it.

chrissygrant
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2012

First thanks to everyone for replying to my message.

After I posted that topic, I went home from work and simply asked my mom if she thought she was going to die. I also told her I was going to her doctors appointment with her to ask her doctor if he thought she was going to die (soon). The reason for my concern was because my mom was very sick (using the bathroom up to 15 times a day) which we came to find out that she contracted a infection called CDiff contracted by going into hospitals and lack of people washing their hands. She was put on a antibiotic and is starting to feel much better. According to her doctors report he is positive that she has many more years left to live but even after telling my sisters that, they are still skeptical. My mom still holds so much responsibility still on herself and it is almost impossible for me to convince her to slow down and stop doing so much for everyone. I have to continually tell myself that she does it to keep herself "going" and that I shouldn't interfere. The way my mom is going I don't think she will stop fighting until she is laid up in the hospital and can't move anymore.

We took my mom to her first Relay for Life event and it brought tears to my eyes of the honor that she felt that day. It is nice to get her around other survivors so that way she remembers that she isn't the only one who is going through this. To everyone involved, cancer is a scary thing but one positive thing I've learned is that my mother is the most amazing person I have ever met. I don't know why she was chosen to get cancer but she fights it with every part of her being and I couldn't more more proud. I have to remind myself of the little things.

Jenna- I am sorry to hear this news. Please report back and let me know how you are doing. I hope your mom passes with much grace and bravery. I am dreadful of the day that I am in your shoes, scared to death of it.

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