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Tips for Caregivers?

B312C
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2018

I had an earlier thread a few weeks ago about my wife who is young and recently diagnosed

 

we found an excellent dr and are into the chemo treatments. round 3 is just around the corner

 

this is a steep learning curve for all of us but we are managing

 

Ive read a few threads here and other places on spouses and how to cope

 

its somewhat difficult going through the many many posts that discuss specific treatments and current situations, new news etc from the posters

 

I'd like to hear from people in my position or anyone who can give me advice in how to manage the emotional swings of the patient and caregivers. 

 

what do you do when sh*t gets ugly on the home front? how do you deal with hearing some not so nice things from your partner?  how do you manage the uncertainty of it all? 

 

tips and links welcomed 

 

thanks

 

 

 

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 1847
Joined: Sep 2014

You are in a very tough situation. I'd hate to be the caregiver, I don't know if I could do it. My husband has been wonderful so maybe I can give you some tips from our experience because he did come out with some stuff that wasn't so wonderful. As you know, there's no guidebook for this.

I can't give you any specific information on the latest treatments because every situation is different, chemos are different, protocals are different. We can help if you tell us what chemo she's on and what's happening.

As for being a caregiver, here's what I've noticed. I didn't like my husband bringing up the subject when around friends unless it was already part of the conversation. I hated it when he said things like "you should just be happy to be alive" when I cried about feeling miserable or lamenting why I had it. That one really got to me. But that was a few years ago.

The best thing he does is lets me say whatever I want even if it makes him sad or upsets him. Not that I'm lashing out but if I get down in the dumps or am angry about it all or upset because something recent has happened or I have a test coming up, he listens. And he never turns it around to himself. He's never said he doesn't want to hear it because it's upsetting, he never says I'm making him feel bad which lets me know I can confide my ugliest and most depressing thoughts that I can't share with anyone else. He mostly just sits and lets me vent. Or he'll say he can't really understand but he thinks he'd feel the same way or things like that. And he doesn't try to man fix the situation, which he can't anyway.

One of the best things he does is sit near me and just let me talk without interrupting or judging. The only time he tunes me in is when I tell him I feel guilty about the whole thing. Which I do even though it's not my fault. I've just about ruined us financially by not being able to work and I feel horrible about it. The dreams he had for his retirement will never happen now and I feel very badly about that. Sometimes I'm so sick that I feel useless and like a huge burden. He insists he doesn't feel that way. 

I hope this helps in some way.

Jan

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 5330
Joined: Feb 2009

It's a rough situation to be in and like Jan I'm not sure I'd be any good at it.  My husband was wonderful at listening, letting me cry, going to appointments, cleaning up my accidents (which there were many many many), and going to every doctor appointment, test, surgery, treatment, and anything else.  Things will fall in to place for you and your wife.  Just wishing you both the best.  It's a struggle but you can get through it.

Kim

darcher's picture
darcher
Posts: 202
Joined: Jun 2017

 Hug your spouse a lot and tell her you love her.  She'll give you hell sometimes but if you think about it, she's on death's front door step.  That's not pleasant. Don't take any of it in.  It's just the garbage from the disease talking.  I've punched holes in a garage door and dented a washing machine out of anger.  The wife gave me crap for wrecking things.  So what, I said.  I paid for it.  laugh and cry with her. 

Twinzma
Posts: 22
Joined: Jan 2018

It's hard to be the caretaker. I find myself often wishing it was me with cancer and not my soulmate. My husband doesn't want to talk about it so we don't. I want other a second opionion, I read all the studies, I research the best hopsitals and it's in vein. He is going to fight his way and his way only. I often feel so shut out that I am living with a stranger. When I asked him, what if it were me what would you do and he said let me make my decisions so there you go.

As his caretaker, I can only do so much. I go to all his appointments, I rub his neck and run my fingers through his hair at chemo. I make him whatever he wan't to eat, even if it isn't healthy. I talk about our future as if there is no disease. When his CEA came back at 63 down from 212, I bought him a bottle of his favorite wine (he's drinking anyway).  I am just there if he needs me. 

We are not guaranteed tomorrow, not a single soul is. He could be killed in an accident driving home from work. So I try to embrace his cancer as our wake up call, I speak softer now. I don't mind his snoring like a trucker. I watch all the games on TV everynight with him despite that I can't stand them. I hug & kiss him more often and tell him I love him all the time. I hate to travel on holiday weekends yet Memorial Day we are headed to the beach. I give as much as I can, when I can and how I can. That's all we as caretakers can do. 

You may wish to find a support group in your area to join to speak with others. Call your local hospital and see if there is one hosted there. 

Mikenh's picture
Mikenh
Posts: 669
Joined: Oct 2017

My recommendation for caretakers - take a long break from time to time. Ideally there's someone else to help out.

OzarkGal's picture
OzarkGal
Posts: 34
Joined: Oct 2017

I second Mike.  If you don't take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of your loved one. 

vtspa6
Posts: 169
Joined: Aug 2015

My husband will yell and when I offer a suggestion he says "You don't have cancer so you don't know what I am going thru!"  I have learned to just keep my mouth shut.  And then there are your friends, family, ect. that will put their two cents in.  My husband is very stubborn and will still try to do things he shouldn't like cutting the grass (even tho I  tell him that I will do it).  People see this and think how awful of a wife I am to let him do this.  Sometimes I think I just can't make anyone happy.  I know he is trying to make things as normal as he can and like it used to be.  But if and when the cancer takes him, I would take all this emotional stuff back in a heart beat!

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 5330
Joined: Feb 2009

It's got to be hard dealing with this.  He still wants to cut the grass because he doesn't want "it" to beat him.  He probably won't be very kind sometimes, but it just goes with the territory of being a caregiver.  You have the job nobody wants.  You sound like a good wife and caring as well. Wishing him well on his new treatment.

Kim

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