Log in or Register to participate in these discussions

Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by twinless on Oct 25, 2016 9:39 am

Hi. Sleeping has always been difficult for me, but worse when my 3yr old was battling brain cancer. Have you tried any mindfulness exercises? Listening to relaxing music...or my go to, Tibetan bowls, really helps. There's lots on YouTube. A ticking clock sends me off to sleep. Finding a bit of alone time, coffee with a friend and exercise is important also. Self-care is extremely important so you can care for your husband without draining yourself. Best wishes for you both.

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by Addie on Oct 25, 2016 9:45 am

Dear Lauracf- Do not beat yourself up about needing help coping with this, and you do need help. Don't worry about your cat, your cat will be fine no matter what. What I think you need is some hospice or help dealing with all this. Speak to the cancer center. Tell them what you need. I'm thinking someone to take over once in a while, would be a tremendous help. You sound like you need time to step back a bit and deal with your own feelings and strengths. My best wishes to you both and please ask for help.
 

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by lauracf on Oct 25, 2016 12:08 pm

Thank you, everyone.

Ironically, my mother was here six weeks ago, before we got the news that the cancer had spread, and she was going to pay for me to go on holiday for a month just to recover from the past 18 months.  Obviously now that is not an option, since we'll be going back into treatment mode almost immediately. I won't leave him alone through that.

But maybe I can go adn visit my sister for the odd weekend, do some shopping and restaurant meals (we have neither of those here) and maybe a spa day or two. I don't want to miss one day of his remaining life, but I'm no use in this state.

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by rainbowpromise on Oct 25, 2016 9:16 pm

Laura, I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time. Take care of yourself too.

I was kind of prepared for this. I took a self care course after my heart attack. It wasn't what I needed, but it gave me the opportunity to explore my feelings about my own illness. Shortly after my health was mostly levelled out, my mother had breast cancer.

That's what brought me to the Cancer Connection to begin with. I just didn't know I would be back here so soon again.

I know I have to prepare for the future, as soon as I figure out what that future is. It seems that right now the best case scenario is that my husband has surgery, perhaps a round of radiation, and lives with reduced lung capacity and A-fib for maybe 5-10 years. At the same time that is worst case scenario as well because I will be tied to looking after him for all that time.

I just need to find my happy places. Walking for my heart, cooking for my pleasure, and writing my stories.

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by lauracf on Oct 26, 2016 12:22 pm

Rainbow promise, I know what you mean.

I want my guy to live as long as he can, but it means that I won't be able to sleep for however long we have. When I don't sleep for long stretches, I'm afraid to drive, which means my life is restricted to doing almost nothing but the grocery shopping.  I've had lifelong insomnia, but it has been situational and has passed once the crisis is over.  This is never-ending. 

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by lauracf on Oct 27, 2016 1:10 pm

Thanks, everyone.

Our doctor is having a long session with me this afternoon to see what he can do for me medically.  He doesn't believe that anti-depressants work for depression (and a lot of recent research bears this out), but he has been talking about giving me a sub-clinical dose of trazodone or some other sedating anti-depressant that helps promote sleep. This is an off-label use that works for many people. I suspect it won't be enough for me, but it might help, you never know. If I could even get three decent night's sleep a week I'd feel a lot better.

He has also suggested I get in touch with a local hospice society for grief counselling.  Apparently they will do this even early in the disease. I think that might be really helpful for me. Our friends are all far away since we moved and anyway I think a stranger would be best. 

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by Addie on Oct 28, 2016 9:14 am

Dear lauracf- Good for you . You sound like you are on the right track to feeling stronger and better. I hope you can get the help you need .
 

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by lauracf on Oct 28, 2016 1:57 pm

I worry about anti-depressants. Doctors don't seem to know that they are almost as addictive as benzodiazepines.  The health profession just hasn't caught up to that yet. I just don't need a difficult withdrawal on top of everything else.

In the meantime, I'll give it a couple of months.  

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by rainbowpromise on Oct 28, 2016 3:36 pm

Several years ago I dealt with anxiety. It was a combination of two winters worth of driving. One winter my second daughter was in an accident (which she was at fault in) which involved her sister (my baby) in the vehicle with her, and my eldest son only a few cars in front. A year later my youngest son flipped his car on the way to school. I lost it.

My naturopath put me on a 2 month course of natural sleep inducing pills and calming pills. After two months I had recovered (winter was over) and never had to go back. The third winter I insisted on snow tires.

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by lauracf on Oct 28, 2016 7:11 pm

I've been receiving treatment for sleep for years from a licensed N.D.  I'm a difficult case, because I have at least three autoimmune diseases, including a thyroid disease that has never been properly controlled, and adrenal fatigue.  She's always been able to get me sleeping again when I've gone out of balance until this summer, when all of a sudden I just could not sleep more than three or four hours over an eight hour night. I was finally starting to improve a little bit when we got the news that the cancer was now stage 4, with a tumour in the pelvis.  Needless to say, my sleep is gone again, and even worse than before.

I already take tryptophan, GABA, Theanine, my bio-identical hormones, magnesium, ashwaghanda, hops, passion flower, lemon balm and a few other things.  Occasionally I add either St. John's Wort or Valerian.  Nothing is working.  Nothing.  I can calm myself a bit, but get a night of sleep?  No.

I also discovered that the sleeping pills I have for occasional use only have a half-life of five hours, so it's no wonder they don't work for me. I have sleep maintenance insomnia, so I need something that works for at least 8-10 hours. 

I'll give the mirtazepine a shot, but if I don't feel measurably better in three months I'll stop. 

In the meantime, we've both gotten over the initial shock and are able to function at about 70%.


 

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by rainbowpromise on Oct 29, 2016 12:39 pm

Wow!
I was only dealing with extremely low T4 and T3 along with over the top high blood pressure. My meds thyroid were corrected and I passed the initial shock for my husband's diagnosis. He hasn't yet though. For him it is still denial.

If I could find a "right time" to get out and walk each day it would be great and contribute to further correcting my blood pressure. The difficult part of that is timing. I need at least an hour for walking and daylight.

I will try to find that time.

 

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by lauracf on Oct 29, 2016 2:24 pm

One of my biggest challenges is that I'm a loner, and my guy wants me to start spending more time with other people now.  But we moved here only 20 months ago and really don't know many people.

Walking is one thing that helps me, too. It's raining non-stop here, so it's out of the question at the moment.  Years ago when I first went to my ND I had awful insomia, and she started me walking 15 minutes in the sun every morning, increasing up to an hour.  It really helped made a difference.  

My guy seems to have accepted his diagnosis.  We've been told there are few treatment options because of the tumour's location, but he seems to be able to shut it off for hours at a time and enjoy the moment.  He's able to sleep, too, which is wonderful.  He's set a couple of goals for himself -- another summer in our boat, for example.  He also wants me to promise I'll go on to have a good life after he's gone.  

We might get more time than a year, but I truly doubt it.

Re: Let's discuss coping with a loved one's diagnosis

Posted by rainbowpromise on Oct 29, 2016 6:53 pm

I get it when it comes to rain. After I had a heart attack 2 years ago I managed to walk in the rain until dental issues prevented breathing outside.
I also get the loner thing too. I live about 1 km from a horse trail and as much as I wanted to be alone walking, there were a lot of really friendly people.
Even joining a group of ... I have to call these people misfits and loners ... they made me fraternize with them. surprise They even forced me to hug. 
Anyway, until 2 years ago, I had very few friends. Now I make friends everywhere I go.