Posted by jorola on Sep 29, 2019 4:59 pm
I have been a caregiver almost consistently since I was 12 years old and I am now 45. I am currently feeling more content and at peace than I have been in a very long time. The most difficult part is ensuring I take time to focus on myself and letting the care giver role go. What helps me cope is telling myself over and over it is ok not to take or feel responsibility for someone else's health anymore.
Posted by LANDSCAPERNF on Dec 4, 2019 10:31 pm
I am a husband and caregiver to my wife with stage 4 breast cancer. she has been undergoing treatments for 2 years now and it has been emotionally, spritually, and physically draining. what i find so difficult in this role is that we were so close thru our marriage, always talked about our feelings, and leaned on each other. now i feel that i can't be open with her, because she is going thru so much that i don't want to burden her with my fears, worries, stress, and concerns about things. i feel so lonely and isolated from her more and more. when i try and say that i feel overwhelmed or am having a hard day at work trying to balance the money, house, her care, the kids, family....she seems to make me feel selfish since she is the cancer patient. i don't know if anyone can share their experience and if they have any helpful advice. i want to see her get well and go with her to every appointment and treatment... but i get scared too.
Posted by Brighty on Dec 4, 2019 10:59 pm
Posted by Essjay on Dec 5, 2019 7:35 am
Brighty has some great advice...and I totally agree that open communication is essential.
I would encourage you to have a conversation with your wife. She has likely noticed you don't talk about stuff any more, and she will have her own thoughts on why you don't, likely different to yours. Be open with her - you don't want to burden her, but you have stuff you are worrying about. She may encourage you to talk about it, she may tell you she can't handle it, but give her a chance to participate. There's a good chance she's worrying about some of the same things, and doesn't want to burden you either.
I give this advice but I know I'm crap at it myself, but in my experience the times me or my husband opened up about our feelings during my cancer journey we're the most tender and loving, and even if we couldn't solve the problems finding we shared feelings was comforting.
I wish you well, and if we can help further, we are listening. Essjay xx
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 5, 2019 8:06 am
There are some things that we, as caregivers, don’t want to share with our “patients” because we don’t bring them down or add to their already heavy load. I’m finding my “patient” (Dad) is doing that with me once in a while, but with him, I can write that down to a parenting habit. Or, I could be the strategy of an older person who fears that if they give full disclosure, they’ll be forced to change their living situation. Either way, it’s worrisome for me. My Dad has been in depression for a few months now, and from what you’ve written about your wife, and the changes you’ve seen, your wife might be, too.
There is a discussion going about anti-depressants here on the site. I’m suggesting it not because I think you or she needs such a thing, but to help you know that depression is a common experience for people undergoing treatment.
You note clearly that your isolation not just a feeling of general isolation, but isolation “from her.” From that comment, it says to me that she is turning away from you. She is probably turning inward, but she is still turning away from you. I believe that in any relationship, when one or both of the parties turn away from a situation or each other, it makes it exponentially harder to resolve matters - it doesn’t matter if it’s a parent and a rebellious teen, a situation such as yours, or a woman living with an active alcoholic, when one or both parties turn away, rather than toward each other and the situation, the challenge ramps up steeply.
You are doing everything you humanly can for your wife, and I encourage you to keep “turning toward.” Brighty Provided some excellent suggestions for getting help for the feelings you’re having that you don’t want to add to your wife’s load - in that case, you’re not “turning away” but you’re making one more opportunity for her to “turn toward.”
As an active participant in your wife’s treatment, you would not be out of line to speak candidly with her doctors about her symptoms and the effect they are having on you, ideally with your wife, but, if you are concerned about her falling out with you over it, you can tell them about it privately. Again, communication is important. If the medical team does not know all of her symptoms, they cannot treat all of her. If they know what you are experiencing, they can set you up with a social worker to speak to.
Again, I’m glad you wrote in.
Posted by Ten77 on Dec 5, 2019 9:22 am
reading the stories above leaves me with no words . You all are not alone.
Posted by LANDSCAPERNF on Dec 5, 2019 8:49 pm
Posted by Brighty on Dec 5, 2019 9:00 pm
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