my story

Deekay610 Member Posts: 1
edited July 2015 in Caregivers #1

Hello Everyone!

Well.. where to start... a year ago my dad started complaining about pain in his rear end when he sat. He said he has been going to doctors for months and they all said it was hemmrhoids. In November 2014 my parents told me my dad had cancer. At that point they were not sure what kind yet, but the surgeon performing the "hemmrhoid" surgery discovered that it might not be just hemmrhoids. Due to language barriers my parents needed my help with the appointments. So I started making all of my dad's appointments and changed my life to accommodate his... at that time they didn't want my 2 older brothers to know about this because 1 had a second child on the way and the other was going to jail. I was left to deal with this on my own.. I had the support of my friends, but that didn't help since I was the one that had to leave my life to drive my dad to his appointments and speaking with all the doctors about his case.

After a month of appointments, scans, pictures, and blood tests my dad was diagonsed with stage III rectal cancer, and where the cancer was located it was boarding the anal section. I eventually came clean to my brothers because they did suspect something was wrong because I was at my parents a lot more than before. That still didn't help much because my dad didn't want them to take care of him he wanted me.

It's hard.. being the youngest, in my graduate program, working 2 jobs and taking care of my sick father... sometimes it just gets so overwhelming.

My dad just restarted his chemo injections... he has to go in to get chemo for 4 hours then get takes the chemo home with him in a pump for 2 days then gets it removed after that.. he gets to rest for 2 weeks then he's back to the routine.. he just finished his 1st of 9 treatments and he's already starting to feel the side effects. The other times he's had chemo injections and radiation together he didn't have the major of a side effect (and that was everyday for 6 weeks). He started chemo on Wednesday, got off the pump on Friday and today I hear that he's feeling extremely tired and his hands and feet are tingling.

I am 26 years old with a full life ahead of me and sometimes I feel bad that I want to feel selfish and just live my life for me... not to take care of anyone... culture-wise my parents expect me to take care of them... when my brothers were 26 they still didn't have to take care of my father when he underwent brain surgery.. I was 14 then and I had to take care of him... my whole life has been taking care of others and putting my life on hold.

I understandt my father is lucky to have me help him so much and deal with this with him.. but the fact that I don't feel that HE OR MY MOTHER appreciate the things I do just because they believe it is EXPECTED of me just makes me feel like **** and makes me not care anymore... I studied psychology in college.. I am now getting my 2nd Master degree in Counseling Psychology to be an MFT... they're right when they say therapists needs their own therapist.. things like this would make it hard for me to help others going through what I am...


  • Hussy
    Hussy Member Posts: 29
    It sounds as though you

    It sounds as though you really have your hands full.  Please try not to feel guilty about your desire for a life of your own.  It's completely understandable.  It's concerning that the current arrangement places the entire burden of caregiving on your shoulders, particularly since your father will likely need care for quite some time.  Long-term caregiving can really take its toll on the health and emotional well being of the caregiver.  I realize that cultural norms are in play here, but I'm not entirely sure your parents' expectations are realistic.  

    Some thoughts: does your father's treatment center have a hospital interpreter program?  This might enable your father and mother to go to at least some appointments without you. For example, I accompany my husband to all of his "discussion" appointments but if he's getting chemo, for example, he usually goes alone.  Like you I work two jobs and there is only so much time off I can take. 

    Regarding your father's side effects -- fatigue and neuropathy -- you may want to see if your father's treatment center can refer him to a palliative care specialist.  A lot of time they are better than oncologists when it comes to helping patients manage their side effects and improve quality of life.

    It's not clear from your post whether your father and/or mother are able to drive.  If they are not, you might consider American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program, which provides free transportation to appointments by volunteers.     

    Finally, I think seeing a therapist is a great idea, if you're not already doing so.  You need someone taking care of your needs while you're taking care of somebody else's.  A therapist obviously can't meet all of your needs, but it's certainly a good place to start.      

    I'm glad you felt comfortable sharing your story on this board and hope you'll keep us posted.