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A fine balance

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Thats what I'm trying to acheive here. My dad has been having a lot of problems with his breathing. Finally got in to see the radiation oncologist who did say yes see a pulminologist. Also go see the general oncologist. So off they are going. Saw the pulminologist today. Gave him an antibiotic (I'm figuring infection thats why or bronchial swelling, sounds congested, etc.), a pill (mom doesn't know what its for) and an inhaler 2x/day. Hopefully that will help clear him up. Probably has radiation pneumonitis as well. Can't see the general onc until mid-Aug. Thats whats so frustrating to me. I continually asked them to make an appt, but because of the change in Drs at the center now its not until Aug.

What I'm having trouble balancing is just how much I'm involved and how much I'm not involved. My parents want me involved, or so it seems, and for the most part take my suggestions, but then there are times that they just don't seem to push forward and are almost like in a standstill mode. Then of course is the depression that they are both going through.

Just how do I handle this, work full time, care for my family and put up the brave front? Last week has been incredibly difficult as I have had to not show emotion to them and try to hide it from my children.


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Yes, I've been there and done that. It is a very rough road to travel. And since you are on this road, it means you are a kind, compassionate person that cares for others. Sometimes that's a tough spot to be in but I know I didn't want it any other way. The best advice I can give sounds pretty lame but it's what I've got.....

Take every day one day at a time. Don't look at tomorrow and try not to look back. Fill your day with as much as you can (making sure to find some time for yourself) and be as productive as you can in the areas that you described. Worrying about tomorrow only adds stress to today and in some cases keeps you from doing the things you could or need to do today. By only looking at *today* you may be able to relieve some of your burden.

I have a feeling that you are juggling things much better than you think. But do try to remember to "be" in today. And 15 minutes to yourself could do wonders. This is advice that probably works but it's difficult to do. I know, because looking back, it's what I should have done.

Take care,


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I can understand your mixed emotions. There is such a fine line between doing too much and not enough. I have struggled with that constantly for the past year and half since my father's diagnosis. Now he is gone and I still struggle in knowing where to draw that line in helping my mother adjust to her new life without him.

At times, I think it is impossible not to show the emotions, but the more rested and healthy you keep yourself, the stronger you will be for your family. You definitely, no matter what, need to make time for yourself. It is a very difficult situation you are dealing, and it will only be more difficult for you to handle if you don't take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. My thoughts are with you.

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Oh, man, this sounds like ME! My mom has colon cancer, my husband has lung cancer - I have an almost 3 year old, I work full time, I have a one hour commute EACH WAY to work, and my parents would like me involved in my mom's treatment but tell me that I don't have to. But I feel like I have to. My dad is a very young 75 but is a little hard of hearing and mom's oncologist (also Dave's oncologist) is very soft spoken. and I'm afraid my mom is only going to hear what she wants to hear, and it had better all be nice and pleasant!

Don't know how big a place you work at, but can you put in for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) so you feel a little less pressured about missing work to attend doctor's appointment with your parents? It sounds to me like you should be there, I don't think they're telling you the whole story, just want they can remember or what they heard. You might feel better if you were there to hear it, take notes, and make sure the right thing is getting done. It also helps when you need to do a little advocating for them if the staff at the oncologist's office knows your name and face. I know it helps me. My mom was "assigned" a different oncologist than Dave's but in the same practice when she was in the hospital, and that dude couldln't see her until August, which was totally unaccepable to me, so I called the staff that take care of Dave's oncologist and pleaded mom's case and they got her in to see Dave's doc within days.

and yes, take 15 minutes every now and then for yourself. Like DeanCarl has said to me, live for the present day, (and aim to get through that day each morning). Do the little things that might make your day easier. Get take out food for dinner if you are tired or don't have time to prepare dinner. I myself have fallen in love with rising crust frozen pizza. Let anyone who offers to help you, to help.

I don't know how old your children are, but our daughter is definitely affected by all of this. If she hears the word Grandma she says boo boo. if anyone says the word Daddy she says boo boo. I think she is learning empathy and doubt she's going to be affected for life by the experience (not any more than spending the first year of her life in an orphanage). you should explain to your children that Grandma is sick and you will have to help their grandparents some so you might not be as attentative to them as usual, children understand more than we think sometimes.

Take care and keep us posted.

Karen C.

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