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Venting as a caregiver

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2009

Okay, I know there must be more of me out there..... My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer three years ago this month. Since the diagnosis, we have tried multiple chemos, radiation, surgery ( he now has a colostomy bag, and parts of his lungs taken out from where it has spread). I know that i could never truely understand what he is feeling, but I realize I have feelings too. We have 6 children between us ranging in age of 15y-2y. I care for them while he is at work, and then when he comes home it's like adding triplets. He has started drinking again about a year in a half ago, and I can admittidly say he is an alcoholic. He says it is to help the pain, but really he bacomes quit a you know what after a 6pack. He doesn't want to further treatment since the cancer has be reoccuring since all the surgeries. He takes Avastin which seems to keep the cancer from growing to fast. I have to fight him to see the doctor when new symptoms arise, such as the latest one, which is a lump in the groin area and a moderate amount of pain from the pelvic area down to his right knee. I am dragging him to the doctor Monday. ( P.S. anyone ever deal with something like this????)

I am emotionally exhausted from battling the alcoholism, and I want to kill him sometimes, but I am not ready to let him go. Anyone have any suggestions??

Thanks for reading my babbling.....

kristasplace's picture
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

You poor dear! I can't even begin to imagine what a nightmare this must be for you. I know it's easier said than done, but you MUST take care of yourself and your children above all else. Just because your husband has cancer, doesn't mean he can run all over you like that! That is just not right. I'm of the opinion that the caretakers suffer as much, if not more, than we who have the disease. Don't feel guilty if it comes to giving him an ultimatum. You CANNOT help someone who WILL not help himself.

If he really does decide to give up, there really isn't much you can do about it, except accept it. It's hard, but what can you do? Stressing and worrying can cause YOU to get sick, and where would your children be?

I hope a solution presents itself, and know we are here for you any time you need us!


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6549
Joined: Feb 2009

So sorry you are dealing with all that. Raising kids is a full time job in itself, but with a husband who is sick plus the other issues, you have to be very stressed yourself. I know that probably talking to your husband isn't going to do much good, but maybe if you talk to a clergy member, or a counselor if you can afford it. Hope things get better for you and your husband.


kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Caregivers are given a raw deal. You have to put up with us (yes, I'm a brat), do most of the work, most of the worry and you have absolutely no say in anything because you aren't the patient. And, to top that off, there is very little support for you. Cancer patients have all kinds of support out there, caregivers not so much.

There is a messageboard here for caregivers: http://csn.cancer.org/forum/138

I hope you find support. Please take care of yourself and your children first. Thank you for what you are doing. Be kind to yourself.


grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

Just a note to Kimby. Thanks for suggesting the caregiver board. I hadn't found it. I guess I didn't go down far enough on the list. I just went there and encourage other caregivers to check it out. It was very helpful to me. Fay

Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

So sorry to hear about the extremely difficult situation your family is in with cancer and now alcoholism. Everyone is right, you must take care of yourself, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Your kids need you and you need to be strong for them and yourself. It is difficult when we are caring for adults because ultimately they decide about their own lives. There is no stopping anyone who is drinking too much, you just have to live your life right. You have so much on your plate.... do figure a way to take care.


tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

It sounds to me like he's depressed over the cancer and the way it's taken over his life. Therapy would help, but I just don't know how you'd get him to go if he's being this stubborn about everything. If you can find the time for yourself, some counseling might help you to deal with this very difficult situation. I'm so sorry you're having to go through all this.


grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

My heart goes out to you. As the caregiver for a stage IV survivor and a 90 year old mother, I know that just the caregiving is a full time job. Alcoholism is an additional disease and burden for you. You might find some support in ALANON. I'm not sure that's the right initials. It the AA group for family members. I understand its very helpful. A group meets in our church and is very well attended. I agree that you need to take care of yourself and your family first, but that's easier said than done. Just know that many of us are sharing at least part of your boat. Prayers, Fay

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

So sorry to hear you are dealing with a husband sick with two diseases - cancer and alcoholism. One or the other is bad enough by itself. It sounds like he has given up, or is in denial, trying to drink the problem away...but the alcohol will almost certainly increase the rate of cancer progression.

Are his doctors aware of his drinking problems? Can you ask them for some help?

Someone else suggested AlAnon. I think in this case that would be a great place for you to start. And a care-giver support group may also give you other ideas and some emotional support for you.

Remember you can only be responsible for your own actions - not for his. You can try as hard as you can to "fix" everything, but if he is set on destroying himself, you may have to take care of yourself and your kids first - save yourself and them.

I really hope you seriously look into getting help from AlAnon for your family, and that it helps you cope with this awful situation.

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