Suggestion for caregivers struggling with their roles

Like you, I have a husband who has been fighting cancer (in his case its Leiomyosarcoma - rare and aggressive). He has had three surgeries and three different chemotherapies in the three and a half years since his diagnosis. I have taken on the role of caregiver, appointment scheduler, accompanying him to every appointment and treatment, keep notes on his side effects and I am the one who asks most of the questions. In the middle of all this, he decided this is a good time to renovate our house, so we are also dealing with contractors and major household disruption. I am recently retired so I can devote all my time to my husband, but I have been feeling out of sorts so I went to see my primary care doctor.

This was the best thing I ever did. He has known my family for 25 years so he has a pretty good sense of who I am and what we are going through. And he immediately suggested that I am probably suffering from low level depression and don't even know it. He told me that the road facing me is not going to get any easier (I already knew this but it was good to have my worries validated) and he prescribed a low dosage antidepressant (Lexapro) over my objections. After all, I am not the one who's sick! I am the strong one! I am the caregiver! But inside I was falling apart. I have been stress-eating, foregoing my exercise regimen, and suffer from terrible insomnia. 

I started taking the medication and I feel surprisingly okay. The best way I can describe it is that it smooths out some of the rough edges. I am less short tempered, and calmer with my frequently-grumpy husband. 

Caregivers, you can't neglect your own health - physical or mental. This is the hardest job in the world, and no one knows how bad it is but those of us who have done it. When the one you love is short tempered, sick, and takes it out on you, its hard. Being honest with my PCP was the best thing for me. You may not be suffering from depression (although anyone who gets through this caregiver business intact is a saint or a liar) but your doctor may be able to make things better for you in other ways. It can't hurt and it might help.

 Good luck to all of you caregivers out there. You have the hardest job of all.






  • MyNewNormal
    MyNewNormal Member Posts: 15
    I am feeling the same way

    I read your post and I felt like I know exactly what you are going through. My husband ahs been going through chemo for almost a year now. He is angry and sad and still trying to do everything he can., but he is very weak and gets angry that he cannot be who he used to be. He thinks no one really understands that he is in a fight for his life, that eventually he will lose, adnthat makes himangry too. It makes me angry as well. 

    I too eat my emotions, don't have the energy to exercise etc. Between work, taking care of him, taking care of the house etc. I am tired and I am angry too. Angry at "Whoever" made this happen to us.

    My PCP also gave me a little something to tak ehte edge off, he said. Just to makle it easier to handle my day to day realities.

    I feel for you, I undertand you and I am praying for you. I am praying for all of us. We do need to take care of ourselves as well, If we get sick then whop will bethere for our husbands when they need us most.

    Good luck to everyone out, together we can get through this.

  • morecoffeeplease
    morecoffeeplease Member Posts: 12
    edited February 2017 #3
    I think the best thing about

    I think the best thing about this caregivers forum is that it shows us all that we are not alone. Friends and family get tired of hearing about the sadness in my life, but this forum gives us all a chance to vent, complain, and commiserate anonymously. In a lot of ways, this is caregiver therapy!

  • Alanpearlman
    Alanpearlman Member Posts: 1
    New to caregiver group

    i really need to chat about my role as a caregiver. Is there anyone available now?

  • Catholic
    Catholic Member Posts: 86
    edited February 2017 #5

    New to caregiver group

    i really need to chat about my role as a caregiver. Is there anyone available now?

    Yes.  Vent away.  Ill listen

    Yes.  Vent away.  Ill listen and comment back.

  • Dani1767
    Dani1767 Member Posts: 1
    Caring for Sister with Advanced Lung Cancer

    Thanks for having this platform for caregivers.  My sister was diagnost in October 2016 with extensive stage small cell lung cancer that had spread to liver, lymph nodes, and bones (skull, knee, thigh and hip).  She is basically alone, her son and grandson were living with her but they both work and are in school ... and they are guys...they didn't "get it" just how sick she was and were unable to take care of her.  She came to live with me when she started chemo in November.  I am very glad that I can take care of her, but it is becoming more difficult.  She is not mobile now..she fell in january and broke her knee cap, so she cannot put any weight on that leg.  Her right shoulder is in tremendous pain and she cannot use it due to a stroke last year.  She was not very active prior to the cancer and now she is not mobile/active at all.  We have gotten a hospital bed for her.  I don't want to whine or complain, but I know that you all know what I am going through.  I am exhausted.  I also own a business and have employees that I have been trying to keep going while being the caregiver.  And, my mother is also living with me.
    At times I feel that I am running a nursing home.  I have a home health aide coming in for 2 hours a day, but that does not give much of a break...especailly at night.   My sister is up about every 45 minutes to use the bed pan.  

    Any advice is appreciated.  Thank you all in advance for letting me vent.  As I said, I am very thankful that I am able to be the caregiver, but I am beyond overwhelmed and exhausted.  


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    First of all

    Why is she using the bedpan every 45 minutes?

    Second, would her insurance pay for a rehab stay? She needs training in how to do as much as possible for herself.

    I mean this in rebounded of ways but discourage her from the victim role. Independence is precious and should be maintained as long as possible.

    Many communities have organized groups of volunteers who are happy to help in these situations.