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was/am a caregiver and now a patient/survivor...

aah9976's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: Dec 2008

6 Years ago one of my younger sisters was diagnosed with a germ cell ovarian cancer. Her and I were living together so it was just natural for me to take care of her. Over the following 5 years she was in and out of the hospital with surgery after surgery due to recurring cysts causing pain leading to an eventual total hysterectomy and a bilateral mastectomy after pre cancerous cells were found in 2 lumps in her right breast. Well during this time she did nothing but push me away when it came to the important surgeries but wanted me to nothing but wait on her hand and foot. She wanted her "boyfriends" who did nothing but hurt her in the end to be there for her emotional support and keep me around as her "servant". This became really tough on my because my daughter could see how this was affecting me and she tried to help at the young at of 5 to make things better for me. It came to a point where I just ended up stopped helping her. I know she was going through some really tough times but I just could not stand being walked all over anymore. She refused to take advise from anyone in regards to health. She continued to smoke approx 1 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day and would just eat ice cream. She never had to go through chemo but had to recover from the 8 surgeries in 6 years. Well, in the beginning of this year I decided that since my sister has continued to make the conscious decision to keep making herself sick that there was nothing more that I can do to help her. So I decided to move in with my fiance, in MD (I was living in NJ with my sister). Things were going great till I was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I am going in for a TAH on Jan 5th to remove everything and hoping that chemo will not be required but I am having a hard time falling back on other people for fear that I will fall into the patern my sister did except I don't smoke. I don't want to make anyone feel that I am abusing them or using them just to take care of me. I have told all of my friends that I am going to be okay and that the only person that I am going to need help with is with my daughter to make sure that someone will be able to help her with her homework and feed her while my fiance is at work and I can't move. I am more concerned about my fiance and daughter and on how they are handling me being sick versus me getting my surgery and getting well. I am not sure if this is normal for me to be feeling at a time like this. I know that I am not my sister but I also know that it is very easy to fall into some old or bad habits and I don't want that to happen. Another concern of mine is that my fiance is at risk of losing his job due to layoffs and I know that will put a bigger strain on us. Grant it that I will have my job once I am ready to return to work and I will have my benefits but I am concerned about how we are going to be able to pay for food and other daily living expenses. This is just so overwhelming and for the past few weeks since dx I have kept all of this bottled up. I am afraid to say anything to my friends or family because I don't want them doing anything specific for me or worrying about me. They have enough worry in their own lives about things. I just don't know what do to prepare for the loss in pay if my fiance does lose his job or anything else. I know what I need to do to get better and once surgery is done I will know whether or chemo will be needed but it is just a huge waiting game and I have to say it really sucks...


terato's picture
Posts: 383
Joined: Apr 2002


After undergoing two years of cancer treatment, I found I had no job to return to. My wife eventually bailed-out of what remained of our marriage. The very month of our divorce hearing, I received a job, along with my first step towards my new life. Flash forward 20 years + one, I had gone back to to grad school for teacher certification and, again, looking for work in a new field, my mother was dying, and on the day of her funeral, I received an e-mail from my old assistant principal informing me that my old job as a resource teachers' assistant was mine complete with District-paid health insurance, if I wanted it! Suffice to say, I took the job.

We adapt, improvise, but, above all, we survive and learn to thrive!

Love, Courage, and a much Happier and Healthier New Year!


Dreamdove's picture
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

Things will work out on a day-to-day, step by step basis. There is always a solution to every problem. There are many times I worried what was going to happen but things worked out. Sometimes I'm amazed how well things worked out. You can't help worrying but you are a different person than your sister. I wasn't totally helpless when I went thru stage 3 ovarian cancer with a total hysterectomy. I still was able to do some things for myself and even worked during chemo. The most difficulty I had was when I couldn't drive for 6 weeks after surgery but that worked out, too. I probably overdid it sometimes but caused no damage. I had no choice because I was a single mom with a 12 year old daughter. You have more strength than you think! If you are able to get some government help, go on and take it. Take care and good luck.

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