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The importance of taking care of YOU....

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I wanted to share this with all of the caregivers. It emphasizes the need for taking care of yourself as well as your loved one(s)

I have shared most of the journey with my Mom and Jerry and his battle with lung cancer. What I have not shared with you is my own personal journey that I have been on even before Jerry's cancer diagnosis.

Some of you are aware of my health issues, the gall bladder removal that almost killed me, the blood disorders and the severe anemia that is, to this day, still a big issue and still unresolved.

I've been on anti depressants/anti anxiety meds since my son enlisted in the military. I just could not cope with the thought of my first born putting himself and his life on the line "over there". Fortunately he is still here, still in the reserves and has been doing only his one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year as well as some other specialized training. I am, we all are, so proud of him but that "unknown" factor is killer.

In the meantime, having gotten my panic attacks and fears to subside enough to live a normal life, I began battling high blood pressure. Nothing dietary seemed to work so it was meds for that now too. Because of the combination of medications I am on, as well as the other disorders, I have to have routine blood work ups, which include pretty much everything you can think of. The last battery of tests now have come back and I have been diagnosed as being diabetic.

I am sure by this point, if you are still reading this nightmare, you are wondering why I am telling you all about this. Well I sat down with my doctor and asked her, point blank..... WHY WHY WHY is all of this happening and why NOW??? Her answer? I have been so busy putting everybody and everything else ahead of ME that the stress and anxiety and worry have finally taken a toll. Will any of these issues be resolved and/or reversed? That remains to be seen. But I am doing everything in my power to do all that I can to make that happen.

Moral of this story? You sincerely HAVE to take care of yourself while caring for your loved ones. YOU are the only one who can do this and if you don't nobody else can. I am living proof of the toll it can and does take.. I am lucky though as I am able to be pro active and make the needed changes to, hopefully, get myself back on my feet.

If this post makes a difference for even just one person here, then I am very glad I have taken the time to write it.

Please.. take care of yourselves!!!

Love and hugs


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This sounds very familiar to me and I'm so sorry you have so much on your plate now Chris. I can't even imagine how you feel about your baby possibly being deployed and how that impacts your mental health.

I didn't pay attention to my health needs for 2 1/2 years while Tony was sick and am dealing with the fall-out now too. It's little b.s. stuff, but it all works together to make me not feel very perky physically on top of the emotional carnage of him being gone.

While trying to keep him beefed up, I was quite successful in beefing myself up, so I also have diabetes type II. Toss in fatty liver, thyroid problems, big time insomnia, severe skin issues (stress), joint problems, tendinitis, sinus, SOB (from lack of activity), heartburn/GERD, and of course high cholesterol and triglycerides. You know -- much of the classic stuff that goes with being overweight. :shock:

I don't think I would have changed a thing about how I handled Tony's illness because I refused to go places without him, so our world became very slow and small.

It is true that caregivers need to pay attention to their own needs as best as they can, but it's a tough thing to do when your issues seem so paltry compared to what your loved one is going through. The one time he went with me for a mammogram, it was an interesting twist to be having a test for me for a change! He chuckled to not be the "patient" one time.

I hope this starts some dialogue about things that happen with caregivers and maybe some preventive strategies. Thanks for posting this Chris. I wish you good things.


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This is a very good topic and one I can relate to as well. My health suffered greatly while Mike was ill. Over the 5 years from his first diagnosis and surgery til the day he died , I put myself on back burner. Physically and emotionally I went all to hell. I gained a ton of weight (still haven't lost it ) and I developed venous insufficiency in my legs.. they were so swollen, red , infected and I had weeping edema. I had fluid running out of about 50 holes at once in my legs.... I know it sounds awful and it was.

Within a month after Mike died I headed to the doctor. I got a physical , a mammogram, colonoscopy etc. Was sent to the wound care doctor with my legs.. spent about 7 weeks of weekly bandaging... 4 layers una boots they are called and had to lay on my back with my legs in the air. That was to get them healed but the problem is ongoing and I have to limit sitting and standing plus it hurts to walk a lot. I wear compression stockings every day... blahhhh... I ended up with female problems , had to have surgery and a cancer scare, but was not cancer. ... The first year I was at the doctors about 18 times and last year I swore off doctors and then there are many things going on family wise again.. Mom's cancer diagnosis, surgery etc. I'm still trying to get myself back to taking care of me. In the meantime,I getting arthritic aches etc..

What is the answer? I don't know. There was no one else to do what I did for Mike . Icouldn't leave him . I don't regret that. I am saying that I am in a mess right now and I need to get back to the doctor and I sometimes feel I'm drowning in my own health problems. It's crazy.. Just got my eyes checked a couple weeks ago , plus new glasses after putting it off 10 years.

Anyhow, Chris, I am so sorry for all you are going through and you are very right that

we need to do better than this. I hate to see anyone get into the state I'm in. It is sometimes easier said than done, but I'm here to tell you that you pay for it later and it's hard to stop the cycyle and get back on track.



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Excellent point Chris, but it's easier said than done.

My Mom took care of my Dad and ignored the mass growing on her neck and increasing SOB. She also put off getting new glasses and going to the/any doctor--PERIOD. [Two months after Daddy died she was diagnosed with SCLC--once she couldn't hide her symptoms from me any longer.] That being said, I don't know when or how she could have gone and gotten checked out. Even with me helping them, she still had very little time for herself. Any spare minute she took advantage of but would she have been able to care for him and batlle this disease?? Probably not.

And from my own experience, I did go for routine check-ups while caring for my Mom but it was hard. And several times she called me while I was in the doctor's office. And a few times I had to reschedule when my docs made me wait because I couldn't leave her for that long.

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Eyeglasses -- that's funny, they were at the top of my hit list too after Tony was gone. :shock::shock::shock: It's always a nice thing to SEE.

I think, as mothers, we all tend to put ourselves on the back burner to take care our family. It comes with the territory and caring for a loved one with cancer is a natural extension of that innate drive. I still worry far more about my kids than I do about myself. It hit my daughter particularly hard and she continues to have issues pop up that I know are stress related.

I'm sorry to hear other's are dealing with very serious issues. Mine are such small potatoes. I hope things get better Sue and Christine. It is a cycle Sue and one that I'm finding is very hard to change. It's a mental thing for me, can't seem to care enough to do a darn thing. I'm quite sure many will understand that mental place.

Blueeye -- your post saddens me terribly and should give everyone pause for thought. I'm so sorry this journey ended so badly for both of your parents and know the fall-out for you is particularly difficult.

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I couldn't agree more Christine. Although I don't currently consider myself to be in anybody's care... I have been on the caregiver side of things and know they can often be under more stress than the patient. It is important for us all to remember to ask caregivers and family members how they are doing as well. They too need support, caring and compassion.


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Great post Chris!.. I have been putting myself on the back burner for 4 months. I just went to the doctor finally the other day when I SHOULD be going every 2 months. I now have high blood pressure which I have never had before. all this stress is gonna do me in...thanks for the post and reminding me I need to watch out.

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