Depressed and taking care of my baby

DaVinci Member Posts: 1

My husband was diagnosed with leukemia in January. He's 34 and I'm 30. The hospital that has the best facilities to treat him is 2.5 hours away so he lives up there while I stay at our house and take care of our 1 year old son.

The finacial burden alone has been tough. I'm an art teacher so now I'm trying to support our family on just my pay check, as well as pay the hospital bills and lodging for him to stay up there.

But being alone with our little one...I'm overwhelmed.

I'm anxious and depressed all the time. I knew that cancer was tough on the patient but I feel like I'm drowning in responsibilites and emotions...and I'm really not even there to take care of him...only on the weekends when I can drive up to see him.

I'm moving at 100 mph. I come home from dealing with loud, obnoxious middle schoolers and then I come home and take care of my son, who is a little ball of energy. I try to keep on a smiling face throughout the day but today has been unbearable. I was ready to run out of the classroom in tears today. 

How do others deal with this? How do you deal with daily life and all the emotions that go with a loved one having cancer? How am I going to deal with this for the next 2 to 3 years of treatment?


  • Hussy
    Hussy Member Posts: 29
    I completely understand the

    I completely understand the financial pressure you are under.  My husband can no longer work and we are dependent on my salary.  I don't know what kind of treatment your husband is undergoing, but is it absolutely critical that he live away from home?  We do not live near our cancer treatment center.  My husband has chemo every other week and we rely on a network of family and friends to get him to those appointments.  (I can't take that much time off from work.)  It does make for a long day but we feel the commute is worth it for the caliber of care he is receiving and he still gets to be at home.   My husband would be very unhappy living away from home and his family.  I realize I don't know the specifics of your situation.  I guess I'm just gently reminding you not to get so caught up in treatment that you and your husband forget to live in the moment, especially since you have your son now.  Which brings me to my next point -- try not to focus on how you'll make it through the next three years.  You'll drive yourself crazy with worry and stress.  Just focus on getting through today.  And you can start over again tomorrow.  It just makes it so much more manageable.  Especially since dealing with cancer means dealing with unpredictability.  I have to laugh when I think back to when my husband was first diagnosed and the oncologist talked to us about his treatment plan.  I thought "OK, we'll do A, then B, and then wrap it all up with C."  As though it was going to be as predictable and orderly as a row of dominos toppling over.  What a joke!  Between emergency surgeries, opportunistic infections, "unacceptable" bloodwork, and blizzards, our "plan" has changed many many times.  Your husband was only recently diagnosed; you're still (understandably) reeling from it all.  But I promise you you're going to adjust to the emotional rollercoaster.  I'm not saying you're going to get off that rollercoaster but with time you're going to learn how to ride it.  If you're not taking anything for depression and anxiety, get on the horn with your doctor and get some scrips.  They will really help.  Keep us posted as you can.  You are not alone.  Sending good thoughts your way.

  • avisemi
    avisemi Member Posts: 172
    I hope you are


    I hope you are feeling a lot, lot better. Being there done that. My husband was diagnosed last September with head and neck cancer. At the time our oldest daughter was 3 and we had a 6 month old baby. And I had to keep working full time.

    It DOES get better. You learn to cope with it and prioritize things differently and figure things out. I was never the type of person that asked for help. I always tried to figure out stuff on my own. This journey tought me better! Ask for help us much as possible. I have found that most people do help. I also found that most people want to help and offer help but then don't really do anything UNLESS I give them a specific thing to do. Often I asked people to either do meals for us or give rides to the treatment. For example, have your coworkers helped? I'm not the most liked person around my office but still my coworkers delivered meals 3 times a week for 3 months! If they haven't done anything like this. Don't feel bad about asking someone to organize something like this for you.

    I literally prayed for supernatural energy and I can tell you that it was God's grace that allowed me to keep all trains running. I learned to have more self-compassion. I can't say i was mother of the year, employee of the year or anything super good though this, I just tried to do my best and let go of the rest. I had/have good and bad days and I allow myself to have them.

    I hated when folks told me to take everything 1 step at a time. The diagnosis part, the treatment, the emergencies, etc, etc, etc. but they were right. Looking at the BIG picture was/is too overwhelming.

    Another thing that helped me a lot was to count every single blessing every day. Trust me, there were days were it was hard to think of a blessing: Thank you God for bringing us to the emergency room so he can get better (4 times in 3 months). Thank you for this time he isn't as bad as last time!

    Our baby is about to turn 1 next week! Things are still hard but much, much better. IT GETS BETTER. I'm sending you a big hug and lots of energy.

    MISS SALLY Member Posts: 4
    Goog advice

    So far, you are getting good advice from the posters. Try not to see into the future.  It is SO unpredictable.  There are a thousand ways it can go differently.  Getting through one week's worth of appointments at a time is how I have managed to stay stable during the past 17 months of my husband's treatments for lung cancer with mets to the bone.  No one expected him to live past 12 months so we are on borrowed time. However, if I had started to countdown those 12 months, I would have felt that it should be over by now instead of thankful that he's still here.  I did not try to anticipate what would happen a year from now - just this week.


    I hope you have some help with taking care of your baby, so that you can try to keep your life as normal as possible during this time.  I've been married 48 years and have been through a LOT of these challenging times, and the thing that kept me together was not giving into the temptation to pity myself for having been chosen to have these problems.  You know, Why me?  Why not me?  So I just keep plugging along and accepting that this is the deal life has dealt.  That having been said, you are young and going through a very stressful time, and it sounds like you are going, going, and going all the time.  You need a rest.  I've learned that nothing lasts - whether it's good or bad. So this will pass.  At the other end is more of life and whatever that will bring.  

    In the meantime, you need to reach out for help. If you are shouldering the financial burdens, ask you doctor were you can apply for financial help.  Our doctor has been very helpful in getting the costs of medications lowered by working with the manufacturers of the drugs. This site has some advice on how to get help with paying for lodging during treatments.  I know it means, YOU have to do all of this and your husband can't be of any help because he is going through his own nightmare. And I totally understand the burden of having to be the one who does EVERYTHING. I'm 72 - not 27, so I get tired.

    Try to get a relative to help with your toddler and give yourself a day of relaxing in a tub or whatever does it for you.  Get your nails done, whatever.  It's not all about your husband.  It's a great deal about you.  Good bless you, young lady. And kiss the top of that toddler's head.  It's the best smell in the world.