Many of us have been in the role of caregiver, whether it is for a person with cancer, or old age or other illnesses. While it can be a blessing to care for a loved one at times, at other times it is just absolutely stressful.
There were times when I thought the top of my head was going to blow off in frustration. Other times when I was trying to help, but trying to also hide my grief, knowing my Mom or Dad would be leaving me. And then there was guilt. Guilt that I was not doing enough, not doing the right things, and guilt that they were not getting better.
The symptoms of the stress are many, such as:
Feeling sad or moody
Trouble sleeping, or not sleeping enough
Not wanting to get out of bed in the morning
Not feeling appreciated by the person your are caring for
The list could go on and on...............................
You should not feel bad about having these feelings. It is normal. Many doctors diagnose caregivers as the "hidden patients". Aptly put. But if you don't take care of yourself, you may not be able to care for your loved one.
Ask for help. Stay close to family and friends. Ask them for help. People like to help, and many times they say "let me know what I can do to help you." But we don't specifically ask for help. It can be simple things that help, such as a run to the store for you. Can you pick up a perscription for me? Would you sit with my loved one for an hour while I take a break?
Community services can include meal delivery, transportation, legal or financial counseling and home health care services such as physical therapy or nursing. You can also ask at your church or synagogue for services or volunteers who can help you.
If you are reading this, you are already at an on-line support community that can help. We can't physically run to the store, or help in the ways written above, but we can support you, and listen to you and sometimes that can help.
Whatever it is, give yourself a break. Your job is very important as a caregiver. Congrats on a job well done.
Judy in MI
6/07 DX NSCLC, Left Upper Lobe wedge resection: Stage 2.3/4, (2B?) Adenocarcinoma, measures 2.5x1.5x1.1cm. Involving visceral pleura but not through it. 5 rounds chemo, carboplatin and Taxol. Subsequent scans NED.
1/11 3.5 mm node found. 10/11 CT node now 8 mm, and new 6 mm node. 11/11 CT Pet shows slight uptake. 1/4/12 Biopsy - Pneumothorax complication. 1/14/12 Lobectomy of upper rt. lobe. NSCLC Adenocarcinoma in situ, nonmucinous (bronchioloalveolar carcinoma) 1.4cm involves pulmonary parenchyma.
3/14/12 Begin 4 cycles of Cisplatin/Navelbein, with Neulasta shot
4/6/12 Chemo changed to Carboplatin/Navelbine without Neulasta shot. Reduced chemo by 50% due to intolerance.
7/5/12 CT scan is clean, NED for lung cancer! There are issues with liver and stomach that will be investigated but not believed to be because of cancer. Wait and see!
*Avatar was taken 7/3/12 on our way out to see the Fireworks on a friends boat on their lake!
Mom dx SCLC 1/96, passed 10/19/96, age 62
Dad dx Brain cancer 4/87, passed 6/87, age 57
Sister dx Brain cancer 4/83, passed 12/83, age 25