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Need advice from other caregivers

alexinlv's picture
Posts: 194
Joined: Jul 2010

I'm going to work today and really questioning if I can do it this time around?  Last go round,  recurrance, I had panic attacks driving to work. I wasn't able to concentrate at work either. Any other caregivers experience this?  I'm a teacher so I have to be "on" all day. I have to work.  just need strategies to get through the day.   I have a therapy appt in two weeks.  Thx! 

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

I wish I had advice. All I can say is that the busier i am the less I have time to think and worry. Are you teaching cute little kids or annoying mid schoolers? :) That would make a difference for me. I find my patience level is down and I'd have a tough time dealing with the mouthy kids. See how the next couple of days go. If its too much take some personal time but chances are it will be a welcome distraction.

Ps typing on my kindle...please forgive typos and lack of punctuation...i always get a little stressed typing to a teacher!

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

Also...try to keep some warm flavored tea to sip on during the day...and maybe a stress ball. Is your husband working or at home?

Vickilg's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

One of my biggest worries is how my husband is dealing with everything.  He is the caregiver and often I think he has it harder than I do because he thinks he needs to be strong.  I worry that he is not taking care of himself, that he is keeping things bottled up inside.  I'm not in your shoes as the caregiver but I can tell you that it is always my hope that when my husband goes to work that he forgets about things for awhile and want him to almost use it as an escape.  If you are worried about your husband being alone, I have to say I love my family being with me but sometimes I like being alone so I don't feel bad getting some extra sleep or just having some time to think or cry or vent to a friend.  I am sending you a big hug because caregivers have so much on their plate.  Hopefully the kids will keep you focused on them for a few hours.  Talk to the doctor about the panic attacks and please take care of yourself too.

Posts: 428
Joined: Jul 2011

I am an administrator in a small school district and I am not proud to say my work has suffered since my husband's diagnosis.  My work requires patience with the people in my organization and I have none.  Their petty a-- problems just pi-- me off.   I unleashed without warning on a consultant this summer and it scared me.  I had no idea I was that angry.  The students in my district deserve the best and that's no longer me.   I luckily have enough years in to retire at year end but am worried I will be left without work or a husband.  I too sought counseling but didn't find it helped much.   Wine does though.  With children still yet to raise, there are no options but to keep all the balls in the air.   I wish good days ahead for you and your family.  Those good days are what keep us going.  Lisa

Dyanclark's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: Apr 2012

I can relate I also get panic attacks, I am caregiver for my husband.   I am not sure how to deal with them, for me sometimes I just pray for the strength to get thru all of this.   I know not everyone deals with this the same way, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves some things are out of our control. 


Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Coffee in the morning, wine in the evening and Ativan in between. This is what got me through the first year. My husband has stage 4. It has been a battle and there is no sign of things settling down any time soon. I've simply gotten used to a new normal. It would be a lie to say that I'm miserable. We have a lot of good days. My husband, Steve, is a real fighter. He just keeps on going with a really positive attitude. I think his positive attitude makes it easier on me. I have not experienced panic attacks. I have felt faint at times from lack of food. When I'm upset, I feel too nauseated to eat. I've learned to just force food down regardless. Important to keep up our strength. My job has suffered. I have a hard time focusing. Always thinking of tumors, test results, surgery options etc....Fortunately I work with an understanding group of people. I have no words of wisdom. Just put one foot in front of the other and hopefully it will get easier.

Good luck,

Posts: 306
Joined: Jan 2010

Not advice just what I did. I got some sleeping pills, as I couldn't sleep, just sat up all night listening to my wife breathe. Two years into her journey and I had to do something. My work suffered also. I am a supervisor and no one comes into the office unless it's a crisis. So I'm always on, have to make mature decisions and it was getting hard with no sleep.

Caveat: My daughter was home so there was someone 'conscious' while we were asleep. Those pills incapacitate you, so be aware if you go that route.

We keep saying take care of yourself also and you're on the right track.



LivinginNH's picture
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010


Well, for the first year, I didn't do anything with medication, and I was a mess.  I wasn't able to concentrate at work, and all I did was to think about Rick's upcoming surgeries, medications, scans, et cetera.  I cried frequently and I'm sure that drove him crazy. He finally convinced me to see the doctor about getting a script for something.  I thought that the doctor would be hesitant to give me antidepressants and sleeping pills, but I was quite wrong, he wanted to know what took me so long to ask him!   I think it was the stigma of taking pills and appearing weak.  But then I realized, I was anything but weak, my brain just needed to be more focused at times, especially during work.  Therefore, I'm currently taking Ambien for sleeping, and Zoloft for the antidepressant.  I tried cutting the Zoloft dosage in half a couple days ago, but I founf that i was not ready for that yet. So, I take 5 mg of Ambien before bedtime, and 50 mg of Zoloft at bedtime and in the morning. This combination is very effective for me.  I was amazed at how focused I could be at work, and although i still worried about Rick, I wasn't crying all day long anymore.  I became a new me, overnight! :).    I'll go off of them one of these days, but I'm just not ready yet.

All my best to you both,


tabbyfatgirl1's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi, I am the caregiver for my husband diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal CA, with mets now to liver, both lungs & abdominal wall muscle.  I, myself was diagnosed with breast CA in January 2011 prior to hubbie dx in May 2011.  Fortunately I had a lumpectomy, radiation & thus far NED.  I'm saying all that to say this - there is no good answer for the caretaker.  I have continued to work.  In 2011, I worked pretty much full time until his surgery in August 2011.  That's when it started going downhill.  There have been times I've been able to work quite a bit - other times very little.  Fortunately I have extremely understanding people.  I have a very high stress job where I've worked for almost 40 years.  I will be retiring in May. I am not old enough for Medicare, so insurance is scary - or lack of.  I will be taking COBRA with me when I leave.  It sounds like you & your husband are much younger than us - mine is 72 and I'm 51.  Also, my husband has quite a lot of other health issues.

I am so sorry for you younger caretakers & the younger cancer victims. 

During this horrible ordeal, I do not mean to sound depressing, I have cried, screamed, prayed, and have settled for meds. I take Effexor at night along with Trazadone.  I still cry but not as much. 

I honestly do not have any answers.  I cling to my faith and the love I have for my husband - that's all that keeps me going.  It is a true test of endurance. 

Wishing you much success & prayers sent - tabbyfatgirl 1 - that's our cat's name!


Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Hello again. It comforts me to read posts from other caregivers. It helps me to know that others are dealing with the same problems. Not that I wish it on others but it helps to know I'm not alone.

I'm sorry that you are having to give up your job. This disease takes so much from us. I am worried that I will eventually have to give up mine. At least temporarily. Steve has done well for the past couple years but has had some recent challenges. It's been a real eye opener in terms of what the future may hold for us both.

Sorry you are having to deal with this disease. Take comfort in the fact that your husband has lived into his seventies. I'm sure you both had hoped for more. Keep in mind that things can turn around for him. He could go on to live more years. It's a horrible disease for anyone to endure. Fighting cancer becomes tricky when problems, complications and other issues start to pile up. It becomes overwhelming for the caregiver as well as the patient.

Good luck.


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