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Guest A friend in need

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Guest A friend in need


I have been lurking here for sometime, my mom was diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV back in September 2003. She has coped relatively well, she is currently having chemo. She has been bedridden with some pain and that has severely limited her mobility, but all in all, she is better than most, she has not had too many medical complications, thank God. She emotionally has her good days and bad, a lot of bad lately b/c she is stressed and miserable with being in bed, but hopeful to work towards regaining some of her freedom.

My question to you is, the caregivers, how do you manage to deal each day? I work full-time, but see my mom probably once during the week and on weekends. My commute is over 1 hour, so my nights are basically spent just watching TV. I am just too emotionally drained to do anything else. I feel I should be "happy" my mom is relatively ok right now, but how is one supposed to be happy when their mom is fighting a terminal illness? I didn't think I needed an anti-depressant, but now I am beginning to wonder. I have no real joy in my life, some laughs during the day, but I find it difficult to talk about it all the time and I find myself pulling away from some friends, but not on purpose. I find myself angry that we are in this situation, but never angry at my mom, I just wish I never had to deal with this. I just want to be happy, go out, see friends, do fun things with my mom and family and that all seems impossible to me. I do not mean to sound selfish, but there must be some balance to all of this, especially right now, when things are relatively "calm".

And my faith is waivering, but that might be best left to another area of this board. I believe in God, pray to him for strength and courage and of course for a miracle. But in my heart, I do not believe my mother will be cured, I guess my faith is just not strong enough. I am having a very hard time turning my worries over to him.

I am sorry for this rambling post, it is so much easier to discuss this here with people that understand. And I am very sorry if anything I have said has caused anyone to be upset, that was not my intention. I just really hope I can find some words of encouragement.


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Hey friend,

I think we all have gone through or are going through what you are at the moment. I know for me, I didn't have time to adjust, it just went way too quickly for us.

All I can say is do the best you can. You can only control so much. The rest you have to let go and let God. Walk the walk and know that God will always be at your side. It is okay to even yell at Him. He has big shoulders.

It has to be difficult to not be able to be with your mother more, but use the time that you have with her well.

I would suggest though that you see your doctor and get some meds to deal with the stress, be it an anti-depressant or something else. Stress has a way of overtaking us and hitting us blindsided. Take care of yourself so you can be the support person you want to be.

Best of luck in this roller coaster ride you are on.

Much love,


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Dear friend,

I think it is perfectly normal to be so emotionally drained that all you can do is maintain the absolute essentials. See, it's okay when you have cancer, and it's also okay when your mom is the patient, because cancer doesn't affect people in a vacuum -- it takes on a whole family and more, sucking the energyout of them while they try to fight.

I think it might have been Dean Carl who said that while we ride this emotioal roller coaster, it saps us all so that we can't really do much else.

It's a tough fight, and wears one right to the bone. I don't know how caregivers do it, myself. It was bad enough having cancer.

As one affected significantly by cancer in the family yet holding down a full time job, it is not surprising you don't have emotional reserves. As cancer patients, we're told to eat to maximize our calories per bite, and how to reduce stress in every arena of our lives, and it is expected that we do that. The unsung heroes are our caregivers, who suffer with us, and still try to put forward their best effort to work, to maintaining normalcy.

Please, take it easy on yourself. Nobody wants you to kill yourself while you're taking care of one of us. That is counter productive.

You do what you have to , and that includes taking good care of yourself.

Remember, you're always in our prayers.



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Guest Piermarie

Dear friend -

My situation is similar to yours although my mom moved in with me and my family. My husband has been very strong and that has been such a help and I also have two daughter, Mikayla, 6 and Olivia, 3. I was fortunate when we first found out about the cancer to be able to leave work for 6 months and I just recently went back. I, too, did not want to take anything for my "down" moments. My friends encouraged me to do so since they could see it more than I could. I did go to support groups and I also went to a therapist before I decided to finally give in and take an antidepressant. It has definitely taken the edge off and made me feel more 'normal' although at the same time, my mom was doing a lot better and that has a real effect on my mood too. When she does well, I feel so much better too.

It's almost impossible to remember my life before this Cancer diagnosis, it has consumed us. I'm at the point now though where I can see the good side to this and not just the bad. My mom and I are together now all the time, I am much more compassionate at my job (I'm a catscan tech), and I know that when people say "make every moment count" , I do!!! I realize too that life is too short to worry about things you can't change or have no control over and cancer is one of them. I can't change this but I can make the most of it and the time I spend with my mom as well as my kids. If I feel like expressing an emotion or thought, I don't hold back, my mom knows everything that I feel for her. I may not have gotten that chance to do that or felt the need to in the past.

I hope this makes sense to you -



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Hi friend,

Reading your post was like taking the words right out of my mouth. My mother was also diagnosed in Semptember 2003. Although, they never got a biopsy result (after doing 2 of them) our Oncologist is sure that it's lung cancer and has been treating her with that diagnosis. My mother is my best friend, she is only 51 years old. We live together. Needless to say, ever since the diagnosis I just haven't been myself. I used to be a very energetic 25 year old and now I have no energy for anything. I also work full time. My mother is staying with her mother while I work. So every night after work, I go over there and stay with my mom for a few hours, then I go home and sleep.

My mom is also doing better after 4 months of chemo. She's walking a lot better so I'm very hopeful. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I completely understand what you're feeling. I barely spend time with my boyfriend anymore, I don't see my friends, and have pulled away from a lot of people in my life. I find it very hard to talk about it with anybody. I just recently found this board and it's the first time in 4 months that I've found people I can relate to. I wish you strength and endurance to fight this battle...whenever I feel like giving up-I remind myself who I'm fighting for and just keep going. I'll keep everyone here in my prayers.

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Guest Karen C


I'm going through something similiar, in how I feel. In my situation, my husband (David C) is in remission right now, but I also have an hour commute, we have a newly adopted two year old (well, we've had her just over a year) and I'm just tired and stresesed out all the time. Add to that Dave's mood swings (yes, I know, hard to believe that my wacky husband can be mean and moody, but I think he saves all his humor for this board, and all his bad moods for me!). He's just so worn out from the treatments and I think the brain radiation really did a number on him. So I know he can't help MOST of it . . .

He's not as sick as your Mom, yet I live with him and take care of him and our daughter. Plus work full time, the commute, keeping house, getting and cleaning up dinner, etc. etc.

All I can say to you is, it won't be like this forever. I keep telling myself this. i hate to say this, but the reality is, either she'll get better and life will return to some sort of normalacy, or she won't make it and life will change, perhaps not for the better, but without the stress I guess.

But, like Dave says, God doesn't give you any more than you can handle. You can and will get through this.

Like you, I have so little free time I spend it in front of the TV (falling asleep in front of it too many nights) but I honestly think if I could get out and get some exercise I'd feel a heck of alot better.

Is there a gym nearby you can join, maybe go get on the treadmill for 20 minutes each evening? If I didn't have Faith to take care of that's what I'd do.

Hang in there, and know that everyone is here to support you.

God Bless,

Karen C.

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I am a primary caregiver and have had this role for 15 months. As a male, this does not come naturally, so I have to work at it. First, a caregiver must take care of themselves first, so they will burn out and not be able to help much. This means watching your own health, doing fun and interesting things outside of being caregiver for your mental and emotional health. Someone once told me it is like the heart, which pumps blood to itself first before it supplies the rest of the body -- so it can do its job. Also, you need to have someone you can talk with openly on a regular basis to relieve your emotions, frustrations, etc., for they are many on this journey. You can certainly vent here and get support, but it does not take the place of a one-on-one person you can talk with. I had to carve out a portion of my life that was "cancer free", where I did things just for relaxation and enjoyment -- kind of, mini vacations from the cancer scene.

Secondly, each cancer patient needs an advocate -- someone who will keep up with the scheduling, medications, appointments, etc. and battle the system to get the patient what they need. That often falls on the primary caregiver. The patient is often too tired, too sick to fight these battles by themselves.

If you have any specific questions of me, I'd be happy to answer. I never thought in my wildest dreams I could pull off being a primary caregiver on an ongoing basis, but with my faith I have been able to rise to the occasion. And maybe that is what these trials in our lives are about -- showing us we can rise to the occasion. Good luck.


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