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Caregiving woes
4seasons
3 Posts
Hi
I’m currently supporting my husband whom I separated from. It is so hard have three more weeks of radiation and one more chemo to go.I understand it must b hard to in so pain but he is extremely moody he is very hard to be around. I’ve wanted to quit so many times. If I quit he won’t have anyone to help him through this. He has throat cancer and it has been difficult getting pain relief for him. I’m hoping today is the day he gets something stronger for his pain. He has trouble swallowing pills.
9 Replies
Brighty
8591 Posts

@4seasons I'm so sorry you are going through this. Im going to be in touch during my lunch break or in tbe evening. I went through something similar.

Brighty
8591 Posts

@4seasons hi again….I'm on my break now.. I'm sorry you are going through this. Kudos to you for taking care of your husband. I know how hard it can be.I took care of my fiance who had stage 4 esophageal cancer. he often lashed out at me. I knew it was probably coming from frustration of his situation.. but I would probably let his medical team be aware of the issue. It could possibly be a side effect of a med hes taking, could be in pain, depression, or a combination of things. Be honest with his health care team so they are better able to help. Are you and/or he speaking with anyone? The cancer center will have social worker who can talk to you and him if hes willing. As well, do you have anyone to help you care for him? If you split the caring with someone it wont be as overwhelming for you. It's very hard to do that all by yourself. I did it for a bit but fell apart…until my mom forced his family to step in. My aunt is now caring for my uncle by herself..refuses help…and I see the tole its taking on her own health. So please reach out to others, dont be shy or embarrassed. People will want to help…just be specific about what you need….throw shame out the window. We understand and we are here for you. I hope he can relief from his pain too today.

Trillium
2221 Posts

@4seasons - so glad you feel comfortable to talk about your situation with caring for a spouse with cancer during marital separation.

I can only imagine how difficult this is for all of you.

I was divorced when my children’s father died from cancer and for me, my role was to support my adult children at a distant as best I could. I was not able to support him in any way because my mother and close friend had recently died. We had an amicable relationship.

Brighty had talked about the need to bring in as many support people as you can to prevent burnout which happens to many of us without supports and good self care.
https://cancer.ca/en/living-with-cancer/helping-someone-with-cancer/caregiving/taking-care-of-yourself

This is a good list on organizing help.

Let people help you. Your friends and family members will likely want to help you. But they might not know what you need or how to ask you.

Tips for accepting help:

Prepare a list of tasks that people can do for you, such as laundry, meal preparation, or dog walks.

Be specific about each need by providing details.

Include both one-time errands and ongoing tasks on your list, so people can help at different levels.

You may find that you have a family member who is complicating your efforts. You may know the person is well-meaning but feel they have become overbearing. You or a close family member will need to set boundaries with that person. This may be difficult, but it is best to be direct about what is and is not helpful. One way to approach this is to say, “I appreciate your involvement. But I get tired when you are here every day. The best way you can help me is by visiting on [name a specific day or time]."

Others like @RBION @JenG @Cynthia Mac may be able to help with how they organized support.

If you copy the link below into your browser you can read about divorce/separation and cancer which may be helpful.

divorcemag.com/articles/when-spouse-has-cancer

Most importantly seeing a therapist, counsellor fir professional help will be the most benefit to you in your current situation. The CCS below can help you find a therapist and anything else you need.


Keep talking to us here too. Wishing your family the best as you navigate these troubled waters.❤️‍🩹

JenG
221 Posts

@Trillium
@4seasons

I cared for my mom from across the country. Online orders for groceries and meds were helpful plus Amazon orders for more specialty things.

Trillium has great advice for the boundaries. It sounds like you need to establish some! Its not his fault he has cancer and that is a very challenging thing to deal with, but it doesnt give him the excuse to treat you poorly.

If he needs things like rides to appointments, there are services for that. The cancer hotline (number at the bottom of this page) will be able to point him in the right direction. I believe they have an email too (?).

Good luck. Take care of yourself! And lots of deep breaths as you move forward.

jeng

RBION
162 Posts

Hi @4seasons and welcome to Cancer Connections - you've found a place where there's lots of support whenever you want it and hopefully you'll find some helpful insights shared by members.

From what you've written, it sounds like you're carrying a large weight on your shoulders and want to find a healthier way to continue providing care. Good for you for reaching out! The article @Trillium linked to captures the importance of good communication which is so true when it comes to saying what you need. If there are friends or family who can help you, be specific in what you need from them. There were times when I wished someone would help cut the grass or run an errand in town and the only thing preventing it from happening was my lack of voice. Learn to speak up and ask for help, most of the time people will be happy to step up. Communication is also important in telling your husband how you feel and what you need from him. This conversation takes some thought and can be done respectfully. For example, letting him know that you're worried about him and that you want to help look after him but you find it difficult when he's moody and you need to be treated fairly/kindly/etc. Having a conversation like that where you express you care and desire to support him but also says you need to be treated differently could be the beginning of change. There are also counselling services available to caregivers as someone else mentioned earlier. Please take advantage of all the supports out there to make things better for you and your loved one.

Rbion

4seasons
3 Posts

@Brighty
Hi, thanks for response. He did get something for his pain. There is nobody other than me to support him as his brothers, one works and has his own issues he’s dealing with, and the other one has already been through this twice already. We are seeing the social worker once a week, it has been helping. My husband is thinking that today he might ask them about the food tube. I spoke to a chemo nurse yesterday and was advised if he gets unmanageable to call ambulance and he will get formed and they will figure it out. He was able to speak to pain dr yesterday finally and will b prescribed cannabis to assist with sleeping and anxieTy. Today is his day of many appts.

JenG
221 Posts

@4seasons you‘ve got a really good heart to help your ex. Hope all goes well today.

Brighty
8591 Posts

@4seasons so glad he got something for his pain. You are a gem to be supporting him the way you are. My fiance was also on a feeding tube so if you have any questions about it feel free to ask me. I'm so glad you are talking with a social worker . I'm wondering if you can reach out to friends or neighbours just to drop off a meal or two , do a grocery run, or someone who can stay with him a bit to give you a break. Many cancer centers have volunteer drivers to take patients to treatment …such as wheels of hope. The cancer info line can give you more information about where you can reach out for whatever type of help you need to make this easier on both of you. 1888 939 3333. They are wonderful people.

Cynthia Mac
4127 Posts
4seasons‍ I’ve read this entire thread, and am grateful that you’ve received the advice for what to do if he chooses to become unmanageable (and often it is a choice). Caregivers are there because they care, and they give, but that is never a reason for a patient to be derogatory or abusive toward their caregiver.

I was fortunate - I cared for my Dad when he was battling lung cancer, and he was, overall, a model “patient.” However, I have been put in other situations where I’ve had to stand up for myself.

Asserting yourself can look as gentle as, “I know you’re going through a difficult time, and hope that your words are you speaking to your cancer and not to me,” to as blunt as, “you need to think about how much you want to tick me off,” with a whole spectrum between the two. There’s a saying in self defence that “you meet force with equal force”. That can be hard for an empath to rise to, but sometimes we have to do what’s best for us; it can be an important part of self-care.

I agree with the others to try and find an opportunity to get some supports in place for yourself. You might contact your local information centre to see if there’s a community organization that can be hired to come in to give you a few hours off. The Cancer Society has a community services locator (csl.cancer.ca) where you can put in your city or postal code and find resources nearby.

You are standing in the territory where his family fears to tread. Personally, I think you will look back on this in years to come and have no regrets that you helped your estranged husband through this time. But he ought to be grateful that you’re standing in that gap.
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