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It's been a year and I'm still falling apart

Ginger Raven's picture
Ginger Raven
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2018

Apologies for the long backround here and thank you in advance if you read it all. My Mother was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer (spread throughout her liver) in November of 2017. Rather than a "normal" diagnosis after colonoscopy results, it was a week's worth of trauma. After a major bleed in September and her gastroenterologist telling her "it's a minor bleeder, I'm not worried, just have a colonoscopy whenever you feel like it", she finally agreed to the colonoscopy. Tuesday night before the procedure she started drinking the prep solution and all she was able to do was vomit. By the next morning I took her to the emergency room (I had no idea she had been vomiting throughout the night) and she continued to vomit for another two days. After the first day they finally did a cat scan and found the tumors in her colon. By that Friday (she looked 8 months pregnant by this point from all the toxic build up in her body) she was taken an hour and a half away to a better hospital for surgery to put in an ostomy bag, which she will never be rid of because the cancer is inoperable. After six days I was able to take her home to start recovering. I played home nurse 24/7 while she managed the catheter, the ostomy bag, the visiting nurses that didn't know what they were doing, the inability to cook and clean for herself-absolutely everything. We started chemo two days after Christmas. She turned 69 in April. She took a two month break this summer to try FECO (full extraction cannabis oil) and to just live her life but sadly her numbers climbed and we had to start chemo again. She is having a rough time of it but has an amazing spirit and is an AMAZING fighter.

I have been my Mother's caretaker and financial support for 13 years due to advanced chronic Lyme disease (I was 26 when it started) and it has changed me completely. This new element of caretaking is what I've been terrified of all these years. She was my rock my whole life and the role reversal still cuts me to the core. She lives across the hall from me thankfully, but that's really the only easy part of this. I'm falling apart more every day.

I work in a very busy, fast paced, high pressure law firm. I hate it. I've hated it for a while but now I can't leave because the thought of making that kind of change right now is more than I can handle. 40-50 hours a week I'm stuck at work, and I take her to chemo every two weeks.  I am the primary bread winner in my home but I do not make a ton of money and I support my Mother financially as well as all other ways. I live in a rural area without many opportunities. Oh and I have a severe autoimmune disease that causes me a lot of physical pain on a regular basis. (Did I mention I'm falling apart??)

There is a lot more to my story and I'm not even certain what I'm asking for in this post but I'm trying to wrap this up for now. I don't have a therapist currently and am struggling to find the "right" one, but even if I do, time and money is a big issue. I meditate, I try to make time for me, I count my blessings, I take one day at a time (as best I can), I pratcice mindfulness, I have a support system, I eat right....but I don't know how I will survive this. Every day I feel like I'm grieving the loss of her in advance. I am such a raw nerve and I just don't know how to get a grip. It's a monumental struggle just to keep getting out of bed every day and going to work. I want to be the strongest, best caretaker possible for the woman I love most and I just don't know how to keep going anymore. I don't know how to dig any deeper for strength. I don't know how to help her any more than I am. I don't know how to save her!!!!!! My heart is breaking....

Help. :(

Catholic's picture
Catholic
Posts: 86
Joined: May 2016

Your doing a great job as is.  You say "I want to be the strongest, best caretaker possible..." and I believe that you are.  You can

do so much in terms of caregiving.


Stage IV is brutal for the caregiver.

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