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How Are All The Caregivers Doing?

Re: How Are All The Caregivers Doing?

Posted by Muz3 on Dec 22, 2020 1:22 am

I've been taking care of my sister for only 2 months.  It's been a roller coaster of emotion.  Super anxiety.  One never knows if the complaints(difficulty breathing) are from anxiety or some kind of disease progression.  She is in deep depression and can only think of dying.  It's been a difficult time to help and not give up.

Re: How Are All The Caregivers Doing?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 23, 2020 7:04 am

Muz3‍ , I’m sorry to hear that your sister is struggling with her disease. It is very hard on you to be faced with that much negativity on a regular basis even for as short a time as 2 months.

It’s understandable that she is in such a dark place - I can’t even imagine how I would handle such a situation if I were in her shoes - but that doesn’t make it any easier on you to support her.

Can I ask what you are doing to keep your own emotions afloat? What kinds of supports do YOU have?

“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: How Are All The Caregivers Doing?

Posted by Kims1961 on Dec 23, 2020 4:59 pm

Muz3‍  Thank you for posting for two reasons.  One, as Cynthia Mac‍ has asked - how are you doing? It can be so difficult sharing this journey with a loved one with a cancer diagnosis.

Second, for your sister - does her medical team know about her anxiety?  Much like managing pain, managing anxiety is just as important.  There can be medications to help.  Anxiety can be a side effect from treatment or a way of processing the mental health journey of cancer.  There has been more attention on the importance of helping cancer patients also manage their anxiety/depression - so this should be something her medical team can help with.

The other part of the mental health journey of cancer, is that sometimes it can be helpful to talk about death.  What in particular is something she may be concerned about - pain management? leaving things undone? worried about what happens? Ironically, sometimes sharing our concerns about death, can actually help us live.  We can have both a good life and a good death.  Taking about death, does not necessarily mean giving up HOPE, it can just be reassuring that we have had this conversation with someone we trust. Unfortunately, as a society we don't talk about death enough - we will all die -but its become a fear for many. Some have called it mortal dread - where our anxiety about dying overtakes our ability to still live.

I am attaching a website that you may find helpful.

I am hoping today is a better day.  Please let us know how you are doing.  We are here.  Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: How Are All The Caregivers Doing?

Posted by Kims1961 on Dec 23, 2020 5:11 pm

First, my apologies - just saw this tag from at Cynthia Mac‍ , who shared some great advice as well as CentralAB‍ 's words of compassion and advice.

I'm sorry to hear about the difficult journey your wife is on. You sound very connected in your post, which is a blessing for her, I'm sure.  In my own journey of cancer, in having some of those difficult conversations with my husband, I truly see how difficult it is for the "surviving" spouse - or even the partner who is on  the cancer journey vicariously. At the same time, what an honour for you, to be able to share this with her, as difficult as it is.

I sometimes wonder if there is an opportunity to talk about what having a good death would look like? Does she have some fears or concerns about how she would like this to be? We can have both - HOPE and a real conversation about dying.  A friend told me that once she was able to share what she wanted when she died, she was able to go on living. It wasn't that she was giving up the fight but also recognized if there came to be a time where the fight was taking too much of her "soul".  Are there any things left unsaid, not done, that could  bring joy to you both or be shared? 

Above is a website that has some good resources about grief - even grieving before loss. 

I'm glad you are here.  Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom