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I'm not doing so well

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Ok, this is Karen. I am officially going to stop trying to handle all of this myself. I made an appt. to go see my shrink. I hadn't seen her in three years. I called to make the appt. - she is semi retired - I told the receptionist who I was and I'd like to see her sometime. She said, well, she's not seeing new patients until after the first of the year so let me take your name and number and call you back. she called back in less than five minutes, said the shrink wants to see me immediately, she "knows" about my situation, but doesn't have a minute free until Tuesday. Well, Tuesday is fine with me, but then I start thinking about what a famous basket case I am that she knows what's going on and I haven't seen her in three years? well, she knows Dave has cancer because I emailed her that when he was first diagnosed in 2003. then I remember - my family doc strongly encouraged me to go back to the shrink after I lost it in her office over a sinus infection a few weeks ago hmm, that's the tattle tell!

yep, I'm pretty certain that all of this has just become too much and my clinical depression has returned despite the daily use of antidepressants. I won't go into details since most of you know the situation, plus I've been accused of reminding people too many times of my stressors. trust me, folks, I've got stressors out the ying yang.

I'm just coming to this forum hoping to find some company with the other stressed out caregivers and family members, that's all.

take care and God Bless,

Karen C.

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Hey Karen-

Talked to Dave today and he said you were having some problems. Glad your seeing your shrink on Tuesday, I need to make an appt with mine!

I'm still waiting for my anti-depressants to kick in, and I sit and wait and wait.......hopefully in another week I will feel the affects!

Call me if you want to talk or complain or scream!

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No that wasn't it at all! He said you were having problems because you were worrying about him!

He lashes out because he's frustrated, in pain, upset, tired of it all, pissed, every emotion you can think of..........I do the same thing with Kurt. I take it out on him cause he HAS to take it, he's my husband. I know it's wrong but can't help myself. I'm critical of everything he does....the poor guy has to make coffee in the garage because I can't take the smell (makes me sick), I use to LOVE coffee (before cancer). I won't let him kiss me after coffee because he stinks. Oh the hang ups we develop!

Hand in there till Tuesday, the shrink will make you fell better. I always feel like fighting with the (dumb) doctors after I see mine, BUT im getting rid of those (dumb) docs!

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Karen, I am so sorry you have to endure the verbal barrage as well as everything else. I just can't imagine what that is like, since my spouse is very supportive. However, she does tend to tell me "all" when she woin't tell others, so that part I can relate to. I have learned to tell her when that frustrates me and she needs to talk with someone else about it as well. I don't discourage her telling me because I want all the info on her I can get, but there are times when I just have to say -- this is all I can bear right now and you need to vent to someone else about this, and support her doing that. My prayers are with you. I think the hardest role is the primary caregiver, and it is often a lonely one. Blessings. Don

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I know only too well what you are going through. Sometimes I have to be very frank with Charlie when he is beating me up (figuratively). I remind him that I have feelings too and that he isn't perfect either. It seems to help (at least til the next time) for awhile.

I have learned how important counselors and other professionals are to our daily struggles. Its o.k. to need help. It's not a sign of weakness, but of caring and concern. Prayer really helps me, also. A couple of weeks ago I turned it over to the Lord. I have felt much better ever since. But, it is a daily struggle that I must continually work at. Hope this doesn't sound preachy or like I am perfect. I am very far from it, which makes me better understand at least some of what you are going through. Take care.

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Well, if it's any solace, I get that from my husband, and I also have cancer.... I have gained 20 pounds, I don't do a heck of a lot because my legs hurt and I am SOB. Of course, I would be able to DO more if I would only do more, he thinks. Now that I am in almost constant pain, I am even lazier.

Oddly enough my husband is overweight himself--I guess that would be NOT oddly enough, lol. B ut he has always been overweight while I used to be thin, I mean paper thin. For some reason that must make a diffence!?

Oh, are you messy, too!? I am. Thing is, he is all the things he calls me. I know it. So now I just ignore it. He has to live with his words. I don't. I can't say I haven't cried over it a few times. I can also say that when he apologizes and turns right around the next day and says some other horrible thing, that I take much heed in his apologies.

Don, I don't know that being a primary caregiver is the most stressful of roles. I see that a lot on here. I guess I may never know.

I do know that having a prbable terminal cancer isn't a walk in the park. I wish people knew how hard it is to watch people do things I know I can not do and might never be ab le to do again. SImple things like not knowing for sure if I will be able to make it through the whole grocery store on any given day.

It's often so stressful to just contemplate whether I will be able to do something....

I know that I was a great teacher and today I was YMing with a friend about her recent trip to an English teacher conference and to an organization where I was once a director. Those were my worlds and after a bit of spirited "talk" I got pretty sad ....

I accomplished so many of my life's goals. I was always in a hurry, though. Always doing the next thing and hopping around with the enthusiasm of several. Then crashing.

Sometimes now, I feel like I am in a permanent crash, but my mind doesn't know it. That , too, is frustrating. I watch decorating shows. One thing I always wanted to do is re-do a house. But I was too busy moving to do that. Watching isn't nearly as fun as taking the risk.

Being in a hurry took its toll, too because I could have been with my kids more. But the truth is I was a stay at home mom for 6 years. I wasn't the happiest of stay at home moms. The only thing I liked about staying home was playing with the kids and I couldn't do that for 18 hours--my attention span was pretty short, then, too or I would have played 18 hours straight, I think.

In other times of my life, I might have yelled back. But even before I was sick, I had stopped letting stuff get to me. I guess, I pretty much had my strengths and weaknesses figured out. That helped.

I may in fact be fat, now. But you know, I am pretty damn happy about that since it means I am NOT losing weight.

I think the anger hurts the angry one more. On the other hand, I know I carry hurt over those words of his.... So maybe I should yell back.

I don't know if Dave was always like that or not. My husband kind of was, but I know the stress of me being sick and now him out of work is making it worse.

I know that Dave has it lucky in that I know that you will always take care of him. I think as a woman, it's not so clear that a husband will take care of a wife if she is ill. Too many studies have shown men splitting when the going looks tough.

I am just rattling on, I guess. Because I feel like I am on both ends of this . I kind of know how Dave might feel and I do know how it feels to be berated for something I don't know if I have much control over.

My heart goes out to you both.


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Aw, Karen, hon, hang in there.....

Sounds like you need some "me" time.

Remember those famous bubble baths Snowflake and I and a few others had going.....?

Aromatherapy (if that's your thing), lots o bubbbles, candles, music or a trashy novel... soak until you're a prune and soak some more.....

I hope you have a bathroom you can lock yourself into.

Otherwise put the crew on notice and go rent yourself one for the weekend. YOU NEED A BREAK!

You just reminded me of all the things I do NOT miss by not having a spouse.

You're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and I can't help think but that Mo would have had something pertinent to say here.

Maybe she'll be able to get a message thru anyway.

You're smart enough to know when enough is enough, and when to call for help, so that's part of the battle. Maybe Dave will see what you're feeling about all his criticism, and knock it off.

And moving on top of it all? Oi vey.

Too much.

I'll keep you in my prayers, almost neighbor, and I give you permission to take Thanksgiving off. Eat out. Do Stouffer's or Marie Callender's or Banquet or something. Better yet, eat it off of paper plates so you don't have to deal with dishes.

What is important is you, right now. David is in good care, and Faith is happy and healthy. You won't do any of them any good if you go off the edge, so please, back up a few steps and be nice to you.

Hope things soften a little for you in a big hurry!


Prayers always,


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Dear Karen,

You and I both know that depression is a serious matter (a disease actually) so i don't want you to belittle yourself over that. It is something that needs treating and that's what you are doing. If anything, it takes a very strong woman to admit to needing treatment and seeking some help to overcome it. You should be proud of your ability to do so. Many can't.

The literature and years of experience felt by women all over the world supports that.

Take care of yourself now, you need this for YOURSELF!!

God Bless Us All, Francine

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Gosh Elaine. You and I are just alike. Sounds like neither of us can do anything right now that we have been dx. I can't even make coffee right anymore. I put too much coffee in the filter. Funny part about this is that NOBODY drinks coffee here but me. My wife has never drank coffee. Oh, maybe I should mention that I can't load the dishwasher right either. Cups and glasses go in one corner and not the center. Know what my cure was for that? I hand wash them now. After I first got sick and could not work, I felt helpless. I started having supper ready when she got home. Yep, you guessed right. I don't do that anymore either.

I thought I was only one with this problem but I see we all do in a way. Yes, cancer takes it toll on us in more ways then one. Thanks for posting ladies. I feel beter knowing I am not alone here. Hang in there Karen and Elaine. Things will get better. I used to cry a lot when she went to work but am getting use to the hollering now. :)

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Cancer affects EVERYBODY. The one who has it, the ones who love them. There are days where I just pray for the family to not fall apart, because we all just start hissing at each other like tomcats in a bag.

You're doing the right thing, seeking an impartial third party. The more emotion you can burn off in the therapist's office, the less you will have to carry around at home.

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Karen,my hopes are that you will be able to get on a happier trail very soon.I'm the patient,& I sometimes think being the primary caregiver has to be more stressful in many situations.My wife is very loving and supportive thru all this.She works her regular job,does housework,washing,cleaning,groceries,and on top of all thatshe does a heck of a lot of heavy mens work (mowing,trimming,lifting,,on & on & on & etc that I should be doing and CAN"T.(a very frustrating feeling).Like the others many of the things I try to do to help don't meet her standards.(I put too many dif colors in wash together,etc,-typical guy things.)Thankfully we've never had words or argued over all this from the get go.I'm also sure that Dave may say things due to chemo that he doesn't mean or would never say otherwise.It's a chemo thing.As hard as caregiving is,there still are also things patients go thru that can't be described by them or imagined by the caregivers.Between David and your mom & everything else you do remember you can't get 25 lbs of potatos in a 5 lb bag,you can only do so much in otherwords.That said I also go along with the idea that YOU NEED TO CARE FOR YOURSELF.Take a nite out with friends & treat yourself with rewards more often.Everyone will understand.Hang in there we all know it is very hard for everone.

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Bruce and all:

Oh, I am sorry, Bruce. You are like the nicest guy I have ever met that I haven't really ever met!

You know while we are on the subject, I may as well let it all out!

One thing bothers me a lot! It is people who say that if they were dxed with a probable or possible terminal illness they would do such and such...

They don't know WHAT they would do or not do, I can guarantee that! They don't know HOW they would feel, I can guarantee that! It is impossible for anyone to know such a thing. I certainly didn't know what I would do or how I would feel.

Actually, I would have assumed I would have done differently than I have. I cant even understand why, for example, I didn't or haven't done what I would have thought I would do, except that NO ONE can predict what a person will do, even themselves!

I guess it's worse when a person says what another person "should or should not do" and I don't mean in the way of treatment, only. I mean in general. It's so judgemental and so disrespectful of the person who is ill.

Sometimes, I think it is the ignorance of youth or some kind of romantic notion we all got from watching movies. It's somewhat understandable from the young... but the not so young.....

I have gotten that from my husband, on occassion and I sometimes can almost SEE him thinking it-. THAT pisses me off.

I had a ton of goals, before this DX. A ton. Few, if any, were possible for financial but mainly physical and emotional reasons once I got sick.

It IS and has been hard to readjust what I can or will be able to do. I know even Dean had some trouble readjusting to his limitiations. And to be quite frank, for a long time, I didn't really want to live a long, long time if I couldn't live on what I assumed were ANY of my terms.

I don't if this makes sense or not and I am not berating anyone, I just want to let people know how I and maybe others feel about this.

I have seen people on here being judged for not having a "fighting spirit." Well, no one knows or can define what a fight means until you are in it. And we all have our own definitions and rules of fighting, so it's not fair to assert one's own definitions on another.

Secondly, everyone has his or her own life expereinces prior to an illnesss which play into how another will react etc to a serious if not terminal illniess.

And we each have our own bodies and our own cancers and our own physical symptoms.

To fess up, I have caught myself thinking that if the roles were reversed and my husband were ill, I would do such and such etc. Truth is, I don't really know what I would do or say, but I can only surmise and I then just let myself know that I don't really know....


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Ditto! I use to think that if I was dx with a terminal disease that I would have a great attitude and come out fighting tooth and nail. What I didn't know was the toll that a terminal disease / cancer took on you physically and mentally.

It's funny I just peeled a 5lb bag of potatoes for my son's class "feast" tomorrow and I am exhausted, not to mention I lost my temper with those damn potatoes, kept dropping them. Now my hands are numb! Makes you feel worthless!

I have helped my Mother with Thanksgiving every year since I became an adult, I'm not this year.....don't have the energy. As much as I hated doing it in past years, at least I COULD!

Everybody hang in there! :?

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Dear Karen,

I agree that it is great that you are seeking out a third party to bounce your feelings off of and help you. I think that EVERYONE and EVERY COUPLE handles situations and stress differently. I know that for me personally, I have not been able to let Bill know when I get frustrated or irritated about ANYTHING. I always have this devil on one shoulder telling me to quit treating him with kid gloves and let him have it like I used to in "the good ole days"; all the while, the angel is on the other shoulder reminding me that these little things are no longer important. It's tough, very tough to find a balance. I hope that you are able to get the help you need and deserve and if you want to or need to talk to a fellow caregiver/wife/mother, please let me know.

Love and prayers,

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I am a caregiver.

I will add - I am depressed, I have almost always been a little depressed, now I am a lot. I take meds, they keep things steady enough. I wish I could buy more on my own and double the dose. But lots of times I can forget the troubles and just enjoy the day.

Yesterday I was feeling overworked and underappreciated - I sat out on the porch, wrapped in a blanket, and felt sorry for myself - work, work, work, I do all the work, day in and day out, never go anywhere, and never a thank you or you are doing good or anything - and we are having a houseful for Thanksgiving, not enough room at the table, I bought a card table for $34 and my husband was grumpy about it - a lousy card table. We are not broke yet, why can't I buy a card table, why can't I get a mattress topper and we really need a couch -

And then I started realizing, I was the one who was unhappy and mostly because of stress. And projecting it to - I am so misused. I am not misused. He feels bad, he feels grumpy, he worries about money, the first word out of his mouth is NO but later sometimes he changes his mind - Anyway, I got my emotions sorted out a bit. I can go somewhere if I need to, maybe I should. It is by choice I do all the work, I could just leave it undone. And if he worries about money so much, that is just a way we are different, neither one of us is evil.

But I couldn't totally keep my mouth shut. I said to him, How come I always am the one to kiss you but you never kiss me. And then I felt bad, and I said - I know you don't feel good. And he said, kind of snide, well I sure don't feel kissy face. Now I could have took that personal but I know he is mad at the situation, not me.

Today, right out of the blue, he came over and kissed me 8 times and told me the house sure does look good.

Don't know if any of that helped, it helped me to write it. I guess maybe - for us - we gotta just not take it so personal when things are said and done that could hurt. It mostly is the stress, for all of us.

Good luck, I am sure talking will help get a perspective. I recommend more drugs, grin. Margaret

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Dear Karen.

I want to thank you for opening up this much needed discussion.

Before I write any more, I want everyone to know I am on high dose prednisone for my breathing and my mind is going all over the place.

I got your PM a bit ago and responded and now I read all of this :!: Heart :!: on here.

Because of this illness, and others that I have gone through, my siblings (my only family) have completely abandoned me. It was "too much" for them. My sweet sister completely blew up at me and reemed my butt for at least two hours straight about how unfair it was for me to call her and expect her to drop everything to listen to me. She said that she dreaded the phone ringing. She accused me of not bathing (true...too sick..didn't care) not brushing my teeth (true...too sick ...didn't care) laying on her couch after my last chemo tx (true...scared so scared to die all alone) pissed that I read my misread the dates on PET scans and thought my cancer was all over the place( true...true...true...) she lashed out at ME when she should have lashed out at the cancer.

All I could do was apologize over and over. I did not know. I did not know. I did not know that I hurt you this badly. I am sorry. I would never intentionally hurt you... I was bawling... my eyes were like baseballs that night and into the week. I cry now. I miss them so much. I love them so much.

She said that she has "her" family. That I am not her family. How can this be? I used to change her poopy diaper. I ate meals with her. I slept with her. I spanked her little white butt. We share genes and now I am not her sister? And how can I still love her so? After the hurt , over and over?

Please. She was so good to me. Like you cannot believe. She came for my surgery after diagnosis. She was so supportive and sweet. She and her husband. Good. Good. Good. They let me come up and fish in the spear house. They let me stay with them. They played cards with me. They made me laugh. They did not feel MY fear...but they had fears of their own. And I knew that and was sensitive to it. They did not feel my radiation pain. My fatigue. My breathlessness. My chemo confusion. My cancer. They did not ask for this. And either did I. But there we were. Fumbling through. Doing the best we could.

All the time she was "yelling" at me, I was encouraging her to get it off her chest. Go ahead and let it out. But it was too much. It was too much for both of us and I am so sad. And I still cry almost everyday til the snot flows. I think that was back in April.

I want to write a white flagged note....truce truce truce. But her complaint was that I was calling her. So, I am thinking that if she wants contact, then, she will call me. If not, then I feel I will be hurting her some more.

She is a sensitive girl. She always has been. My troubles on TOP of her family troubles...daily living/struggles was just too much for her.

I really like what Don said. That when he has had enough that he lets Lucie know. Now that is a gift. If my sister would have let me know what her boundaries were and be firm about it, we might still be friends today. But, then again, I don't know that. I was so needy and she seemed so "safe" to talk to.

Bottom line. This is a nasty disease. And it affects everyone in its path. We all need each other. And we need to be strong for each other and for ourselves in order to survive this. Without my sisters, I know that I would not be alive today. They gave me so much love and support when I needed it the most. Love did help me to heal. But I miss that love so much.

'Nuff prednisone ramblin'. Thanks, Karen. You have helped me today.

God bless all of us. Together We Heal.

Cindi o'h

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First of all NEVER EVER feel that you cannot vent about anything! You said you have been accused of talking about your stressors too much. My response to that is that this is a SUPPORT website, so you can vent as much as you want and need :) I was once accused of the same thing and I decided to adopt a saying Katie once said which I cannot remember now, but it was someting like quack quack, splish splash, off your back. I thought it was funny she said that b/c suck a duck is my saying and it relates to quack.

You have every reason to be depressed and to be honest, I would be shocked if you weren't--how can you not be scared. You are human, right? Not like those robot women in Stepford Wives (which I saw the other day on video).

You have to worry about Dave, Faith, working, moving, blah blah.

As for weight, I won't even go there b/c my ob/gyn is going to kill me about my weight if i dont kill myself first with it :(

Anway, you are NORMAL.

Personally I agree with what others said, Dave is scared and you are the one person he can take it out on :)

You are NOT alone!!!!!!!!!!

Love you!

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Ok, this is Karen. I am officially going to stop trying to handle all of this myself. I made an appt. to go see my shrink. I hadn't seen her in three years....

Karen, you won't be surprised by my response: What the heck took you so long?! I'm glad you're going to see the therapist. Also, the words "weak" and "depressed" don't belong in the same sentence, in my book... one has nothing to do with the other! Especially when you have the strength to take charge of the situation by getting what you need.

I would say that if my husband had been diagnosed with cancer, I'd probably have gone to a therapist the same week. But as Elaine accurately pointed out, none of us knows what we'd do in a situation like this unless it happens to us. So what I will say is that I think you're doing the right thing, and that getting help in this way is IN NO WAY a sign of weakness. It's just smart. (And by the way, I've been to see MY therapist a few times since his diagnosis.)

You know that I love my brother, and you also know that I love you, and I'm glad you're doing this to take care of yourself. Also glad you have a safe place here to talk to and hear from others who are in more of the same situation.

Wish I could be there for Thanksgiving. Cyber hugs instead, to all of you.



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thanks everyone.

We HAVE to move. if we don't I'm going to find an efficiency apt. in town to move Faith and I into Monday through Friday. I can't take 2 or 3 hours a day in the car any more all alone hauling Faith back and forth.

I am tired of living in a fishbowl. I am tired of having people watch my every move. I am tired of being constantly critiqued and analyzed about how good a mother I am, how cluttered my closets are, how I let my kid leave the house in something other than designer children's clothes, how lazy I am, how tired I am, how depressed I am, how behind I am at work, how my paycheck is reduced because I take time off without pay to be with my sick and potentially dying mother and my sick and potentially dying husband. How I waste money when in actuality I buy NOTHING for myself except for $2.30 each morning at McDonalds for breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria. In fact, my daily drive thru at the McDonalds is one thing I look forward to every day because the gals in the drive through windows are the same every morning and they've gotten to know Faith and I and even Dave very well and asks every morning how everyone is, throws Faith a happy meal toy when the manager isn't looking, etc. since I am late every morning trying to get myself and Faith together and out the door - I'm SUPPOSED to be at work at 8 am, but when it takes 1.25 hours from door to door that's hard to do - so I work through lunch every day, so that little stroll over to the company cafeteria is my little break. I got fussed at for using the cell phone too much but the only chance I get to talk to my mom or my dear aunt mary is on that long drive home, so I suffer the consequences of the wrath of Dave over the cell phone bill in exchange for some time with my two favorite women. I'm tired of being behind at work and I'm paranoid that the boss who doesn't care is looking for an excuse to get rid of me.

so there, how's that for a caregiver vent?

I know having cancer is hard. I know facing your own potential death is hard. I know this because I am witnessing it firsthand in duplicate in my immediate family, the two people I depend on the most.

can't wait to talk to my beloved shrink. I sure miss her!


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time for a little humor now:

Bruce - when Dave and I first got married, he would never put the seat down on the toilet and having living alone for 15 years I was too used to finding my way to the potty in the pitch dark in the middle of the night and would always fall in.

After I bitched about it enough, his solution was to just pee, leaving the seat down. then I'd sit down on a pee'd on toilet seat. guess I had a choice, remember to put the seat down myself, or sit on his pee.

Learned my lesson.


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Karen I really hope the move will take some of the physical stress off of you. As beautiful as I am sure your home is, commuting adds a lot of stress to even people who don't have major problems.

When are you moving? Is there a date yet?

How is your mom doing now?

You have more going on than one person should have to bear and it is total stress on a caregiver, especially the primary one.

Hang in there!

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Karen, Just a thought, could the tip of the iceberg have been waiting for the results of whether there was cancer in the heart fluid? I know that I for one would have went off the deep end waiting. I hope that this good news (KAREN POSTED UNDER ASK THE EXPERTS--NO CANCER FLUID) will make things a little easier :):)

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Ok, this is Karen. I am officially going to stop trying to handle all of this myself. I made an appt. to go see my shrink. I hadn't seen her in three years.

I won't go into details since most of you know the situation, plus I've been accused of reminding people too many times of my stressors. trust me, folks, I've got stressors out the ying yang.

I'm just coming to this forum hoping to find some company with the other stressed out caregivers and family members, that's all.


I'm with Andrea. Anyone who has told you that you have reminded people too frequently of your stressors can (pardon my French) officially shut their trap. As if you need them, whomever they may be, on your care on top of everything else. Grrrr. (Sorry--I'm a tad grouchy and this ticked me off).

I'm glad you are going to see someone--and doing something for yourself. You have to. For your sake, as well as dave's, Faith's, and your mom's.

Boy, do you have company!--and we all understand in our own ways--and to the best of our respective abilities.

I have so much to say to you--but it takes thought (a luxury I do not have right now).

Hang in there. I'll try to check in from North Carolina, if I have internet access.

In the meantime--a big cyber hug.


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