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Lessions in How "Not" to Cope

Guest NowakowDA

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Guest NowakowDA

How can I put this? I crashed. I hit the wall. I bottomed out. I tanked. However you want to say it I reached my limit Friday night. The strange thing is that I didn't see it coming. Now I can look back and see the warning signs I missed, but when I was going through it nadda, zip, nuttin. The first sign I should have heeded was my sleep, or rather my lack of sleep. For the past three weeks I don't think I've gotten more then two to three hours of sleep each night. And that nightly total only comes in short naps. The second warning sign was my eating. Normally I will eat two meals each day. Yesterday, however I don't think I ate anything. The only dishes I saw on the dish rack this morning were the ones I used for Mom's meals yesterday. Another sign I should have seen was the drastic cut in my fluid intake. I will usual get about 64 ozs of fluid each day. However, I noticed this morning that none of the soda or the fruit juice in the frig has been touched. The 16 oz frosted dark blue glass that I use every day for my water was clean and in the cabinet where I store the dishes.

For the past three weeks my concentration has just vanished. I can not set down for more then a few minutes without jumping up and finding something to do. I can not set still long enough to start reading a book. The one thing that finally shook my befuddled mind was an overwhelming sense of euphoria that hit me yesterday afternoon into early evening. I finally listened to that little voice screaming in the back of my head telling me that there was something wrong. About nine last night, everything came crashing down. I then realized that I had missed the warning signs that my body was trying to give me. The really strange part is that I remembered everything that happened yesterday. I remember getting Mom ready to go see the medical oncologist. I remember waiting in the examining room and talking to the doctor. I can remember getting Mom home and fixing her something to eat. I remember getting her to take her medicine, which is no simple feat. I even remember fighting the traffic and finding a parking space at the UNM Cancer Center.

So! Last night, about 10:PM I took three Extra Strength Tylenols (to stop my legs from aching), then I placed my dead white as* ah-h, my dead white butt on the bed and turned on the TV. After about an hour the TV did it's job. My brian went numb and I went to sleep. (Thank you Filo T. Farnsworth, where ever you are). I still woke up every hour of so to check on Mom, but I managed to fall back into bed and go back to sleep. In the morning, I did three things. First I ate breakfast. Second I drank lots and lots of fluid. Third! Well, after all that water I've been doing that third thing all day. I'm thankful that Mom didn't figure out what was happening. Right now she has enough to deal with.


P.S. kids don't attempt to do this at home. The above was undertaken by a professional idiot who has years of experience at being dumber then a rock.

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You made me smile. Yes, it is definitely easy to get so keyed up that you miss all those signs. Glad your body took over and let your brain get a little rest. No need to tell you that you must take care of yourself or you'll be no good to your mother. You obviously already know that, but like all of us sometimes just have too much to deal with. And it is kind of scary when we realize how much we've been functioning on auto pilot without really being aware.

Your mother is very lucky to have you. Your love for her just shines through each message.

Wishing you both the best.


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Hi, Don, I just want to add a note of encouragement and support. You might already know some of this. For one, of course, you must take care of yourself. Right?

The worst of the shock for us was in the first two weeks, then we knuckled down and did what we had to do. In a few months, life seemed more like normal, the new normal. You can do this. Just do what the doctors say, no matter what, just keep going if your Mom can tolerate it. Tell the nurses any side effects, they will load you up with suggestions and medications to help. Accept help from friends, neighbors and relatives, they want to help. Call the American Cancer Society if anyone gives you any trouble, your employer, insurance companies, there is a lot of help available.

On radiation - my husband started seeing results in about 2 weeks. On chemo - a lot of elderly women were taking chemo when he was and they seemed to do as well as he did plus had really good attitudes. He had chemo and radiation together but that may depend on your mother's general health. Fatigue was the hardest side effect and it does come and go according to what kind of treatment he is getting. On Levaquin - we got amazing results from that, cleared up pneumonia in about a week. Overall, right now, treatment has helped and it was worth it. Parts of it were very hard but it was worth it.

Stay in touch, I will be watching to see how you are doing.

Margaret in Iowa

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