Pushed to my limits

Shadowcat
Shadowcat Member Posts: 1

First time posting... Probably should have saught help years ago.

I met my wife almost 8 years ago, she had multiple cancer spots and thankfully some have been successfully defeated. She takes her meds but doesnt talk about it... Only to remind me in an argument that she has cancer... Thinking i forgot.

I have sacrificed and lost jobs, schooling, friendships bc i moved to her town. We are on government aid bc i havent been able to secure a job. All my qualifications and education is out of date or I'm overqualified for regular jobs. As i dont have work i take care of her. I cook the meals, make the hot drinks, bring her what she needs, make the baths (half the time, she has been making most of them recently)... And when we babysit our family members I'm usually the one to watch them. Recently i took a course and she was helping out more, getting into a new groove but still sometime id still be expected to cook the meals, etc on top of going to school for the day. I figured she could have fed herself but usually she would just wait for me to come home and wait till she was starving for dinner.

Today we had a busy day. My wife hasnt told her parents of her 2nd bout of cancer. She pushes herself when they visit or ask for her help. She tends to relax most days to recover afterwards or is in too much pain to do much when it's just us. So today she helped reno a part of the house. I helped as much as i could.

And now she's exhausted... I feel she always does this for others but rarely does everyday things for us.

So when she said she was hungry i didn't offer right away to make food. After an hour she asked what we could eat and i listed off the easy food that just needed to be heated. I was asked what i was willing to cook and decided to go downstairs to check what there was without telling her what i was doing (bad on me for not communicating)

Nothing peaked her interest but she decided on something, so i listed a few other things thinking it would be a better option. This only made her overwhelmed and upset, which started the fight.

I stayed downstairs to cook and she got to go relax upatairs. 

I came up and then had a silent meal in front of the tv... Which it was up to me to go and find something to watch...i had hoped something would have been picked out when i got upstairs like usual...

After dinner we tried apologizing which resulted in more fighting bc i was insulted that i had to apologize more for not being responsible (which i took as a whole, but aparently just bc i take a while to apologize)

So we've been fighting for hours... And its always about the same thing... Food. She had even offered that we go out with our last $10 that we were saving to get some groceries... But she was thinking of me... Not wanting to push me to have to cook.... But i unfortunately got pissed bc the other 10 we had went to a pack of smokes... And most of our other fights come down to wasting monwy on cigarettes... But i bit my tongue and kept it focused on the argument at hand...

So i keep feeling like I'm a live in maid.... Like i clean up after us, help her and her family... Which has at times interfered with getting motivated to job hunt, or the amount of time we do offer to help others, I'd have no time for a job! Or be made to feel guilty if i did have one and couldnt help. Im1 tired of feeling like i put in my all for us, and she puts in her all for everyone else. I'm tired of hating cooking, which i loved and now its a chore... Im tired of resenting my wife for being so tired and me thinking she's just being lazy... Or her being tired from helping someone else. I'm angry that i get told (yes during fights so it doesnt fully count... But still) that I'm not responsible and that she's trying. I'm tired of feeling like I'm only staying for our pets.... I keep feeling maybe we need a break but then feel guilty bc who knows how she'll be in her own. Have i done too much and its now expected of me? Have i fed into this lifestyle or have i just done whats absolutely needed for her to live/survive? I feel she has it pretty good in terms of not being responsible for doing chores around the house, for not being expected to get a job... How do other cancer patients function daily? I know some people have jobs and get out of bed and do things. I know some are are happy and positive.... My wife won't seek out help. But i dont know what else to do. I try and do... But im exhausted and fed up. And angry. And i just want to have a day of no responsibilities....

Comments

  • Catholic
    Catholic Member Posts: 86
    edited October 2017 #2
    Been there and done that. 

    Been there and done that.  Everything you just said is very normal for a caregiver.  

    In short, your burned out.  And I have reached this phase as well many times.  Here is what you need to do.

    1. Stop arguing.  My wife is/was very argumentative.  She was angry about everything and for years (not months but
    years) she was very belittling.  But years ago, I just stopped arguing with her for my own health.
    I found myself feeling poorly after any type of argument and literally just stopped arguing.  I recommend the
    same.  Your going to find it difficult in the beginning to resist the urge to say something back, but after awhile
    it grows on you.  I found with my wife that when I stopped arguing that she upped her game and became even
    more enraged.  Let her scream, let her yell and walk away.  Your health and your well-being is important.

    2. Find a job.  Cooking seems to be your passion (its not mine!).  Find a job cooking.  If not, find a job
    doing something else.  But I think a job will get you out of the house more often and that will be a good thing.

    3. Eat healthy, exercise regularly get enough sleep.  I found with my wife that if I ever didnt get enough sleep,
    didnt exercie and didnt eat right, that her yelling and screaming really got on my nerves.  

    My wife came home from the hospital after the birth of our 3rd child and literally went to the basement on the
    1st day to live.  She was depressed and slept too much.  I had a 6 year old, 4 year old and 1 day old to take
    care of and someone needed to pay the bills.  2 years later my wife finally went to the clinic and was diagnosed
    with cancer and I remember the doctor saying she should have come in 5-7 years ago.  Many, many times I
    have been burned out but you can avoid burnouts but really taking care of yourself.  Your happiness in this world
    in important.

     

  • Caregiver72
    Caregiver72 Member Posts: 1
    Need suggestions

    i have a sister recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, currently under-going chemotherapy. Another sister and I take turns every two weeks flying to our sister’s town to care for her. Recently she is angry with us, verbally abusive, demanding, demeaning to any suggestion we make. She refuses to follow the plan of care set up by her medical team. We both feel like we are walking on egg shells knowing we will be criticized no matter what we do or say. We both want to tell her we want to be here with you but we cannot tolerate the abuse any longer. She gets angry if we contact her team to discuss problems with them but she isnt following the plan of care. We feel she is being dishonest with her doctors and nurses by letting them believe she does what they recommend. 

  • Catholic
    Catholic Member Posts: 86
    edited October 2017 #4

    Need suggestions

    i have a sister recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, currently under-going chemotherapy. Another sister and I take turns every two weeks flying to our sister’s town to care for her. Recently she is angry with us, verbally abusive, demanding, demeaning to any suggestion we make. She refuses to follow the plan of care set up by her medical team. We both feel like we are walking on egg shells knowing we will be criticized no matter what we do or say. We both want to tell her we want to be here with you but we cannot tolerate the abuse any longer. She gets angry if we contact her team to discuss problems with them but she isnt following the plan of care. We feel she is being dishonest with her doctors and nurses by letting them believe she does what they recommend. 

    My wife finished 11 months of

    My wife finished 11 months of chemotherapy about one year ago.  In the first 2 months after chemotherapy,
    my wife was in decent spirits.  I think she was more happy that her hair was growing back then anything.
    Peace lasted for 2 months.  Then  we went to visit her family for a month.  But before we left, I told her I
    would only go if she stays with her sister and the kids (3 kids in total) and myself stay in an apartment on
    this trip.  My wife gets very angry at me and I didnt want to deal with her anger on this trip and I didnt want
    the kids to see or be around her anger.  She agreed.  Her sister didnt understand at all my wife's anger and
    I remember her saying something on the lines of 'were happy to take her in' before the trip.

    The first few days, she was okay to be around but by day 4, she was so angry with her sister that she left to
    live with her parents.  Now living with her parents, her sister said to me "she [my wife and her sister] hates
    me". By the end of that month, her parents said "nobody can stand to be around her".

    I walked on egg shells everytime I saw my wife because she was so angry so often.  My wife took her
    anger/rage to a level that I had no desire to see or witness and this rage lasted for years. It took about a month
    for my wife's family to finally understand the vast personality change/mood swing that occured in my wife and
    their sister/daughter.

    Everything you wrote I have personally experienced and I wrote the same comments in my first post on this
    forum.  My best advice is to:

    1. Not argue with your sister because it takes away from your health and well being. Let your sister yell and be
    verbally abusive and take care of yourself. Your happiness is important.  Take breaks from being a caregiver.  

    2. Trust your instincts.  Looking back, before my wife was diagnosed with cancer, she was awful to be around.
    Instintively I knew there was a problem but my wife and her sister kept telling me that I was the problem. My
    instincts were spot-on and whatever her family or anyone else tells me, I know the difference between a healthy
    lifestyle and unhealthy one and I sure you do as well.

    3. Try not to take insults personally.  My wife accused me a long list of bad things.  She started off accusing me
    of light things like cheating on my taxes and cheating my employer... so financial misdeeds.  Over time, the
    accusations grew stronger into some really awful accusations that I prefer to not list out here.  Over time, the
    demands, insults, demeaning comments, false accusations are things that I laugh off and tell to friends and
    family over drinks. You will too some day.

    You do what you can do and nothing more. There is a lot you cant do.  It sounds like you want to do more and
    when your sister reaches out for help, offer it. My wife was given medicine to take post-chemotherapy and she has
    never taken any of that medicine.  I cant force her to take that medicine. Her sister and family were screaming their
    heads off trying to get her to take that medicine and she told all of them from the aunts, uncles, cousins, parents,
    and sister to all stuff it and she never took the medicine.

    There are brief times where my wife has privately told me some things (and not her sister) but this usually occurs
    once every 6 months. So perhaps your sister will open up eventually.  Being a caregiver is difficult. 

  • ClaCla
    ClaCla Member Posts: 136
    VERY HELPFUL DISCUSSION

    Thanks for this discussion and your comments.  I'm the patient rather than the caregiver, but this discussion really made me aware of what not to do.  My treatments are much much milder, so I have only a little rritability.  If there weren't children involved, I'd suggest that everyone tell the patient everything you told us.  But when there are children, I can see that it makes more sense just to avoid the arguing like Catholic suggested.  Thanks again for the discussion and sharing your experience.  God bless.