Nov 08, 2009 - 9:54 am
My parents and I have always been relatively healthy, until now. In August of this year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. A month after that, my father was diagnosed with esophagus cancer. I joined this site because I think things are about to get more challenging with my parents, and all of this is new to me.
My mother has had a lumpectomy and a second surgery to remove some lymph nodes. I've been told that things seem to be going well, and that they caught her cancer early. She has just started chemo, and it will continue for about 3 months (8 treatments about every 3 weeks)--then she will begin radiation--which will all last through April/May.
My father has been a rock for my mother--making sure he was taking care of her, driving her to her treatments, etc. But I fear this is about to change, and I think I need to go to be with them. I have a brother and sister who live in the same town as my parents as well.
My father has some other health issues (he is a former smoker, therefore, he has some lung issues). He tells me that the doctors have told him they cannot do surgery on him because of his health issues. They are gong to start chemo on him within the next 2 weeks--and he will evidently undergo chemo and radiation at the same time. His doctors have told him that he should expect to feel very sick--and he will likely no longer be able to care for my mother like he has been.
My parents live in south Georgia--my mother's treatments occur in Jacksonville, FL (50 miles) and my dad, a veteran, is receiving his medical care through VA doctors in Gainesville, FL (95 miles). My mother's health coverage is with medicare.
I will be going to see them again when my dad starts his treatment. I believe now is my time to step up and help take care of my parents.
There's a lot on my mind:
How "sick" feeling will my dad get get? Will he truly be so sick that both he and my mother are going to need someone there full-time to help care for them?
Should I arrange something with my work, maybe using FMLA, and plan to be with my parents off and on over the next few months? Should I quit my job and move back home? Note: I'm not wealthy--so I wouldn't be able to last too long without income--plus there's the economy, and health insurance, and my own health issues (see my profile).
Should we hire some type of caregiver for my parents? If so, who, how?
I will, of course, sort through all of this. But I'd be appreciative of other's opinions and advice.