Caregiver For Cancer

I've become a caregiver.

If someone was taking applications for caregiver I'd never get the job.  After 26 months of on the job experience I still don't know if I'm well suited for my new role.  New challenges appear weekly and change like weather patterns.  My life flows with the 'weather patterns' guiding me and I realize each and every day that I'm not in charge of much of anything.  I react to the circumstances,...adapt....redirect resources and my time.

I balance what resources I have between an ill wife and two teenagers.  There's no book or manual to read on what to do.  I do find comfort at times learning about others that have traveled down this road but there's precious little that I can find. (I ended up here looking for other's stories)

I often meet folks from other families at the treatment centers.  An observation I've made... it's usually customary to say who you are with and why you are 'here' when you meet people who have brought someone to treatment.  The conversation then extends to something far away... about children or a life experience... as if both of us are giving each other a mental vacation, if even for a few minutes while our paths are crossing at this improbable place.

I used to walk or ride a bicycle but it gives my mind too much time.  I cannot read much either.  Keeping mentally busy keeps me from reflecting too much on what could drag me back into depression.




sladen sladen
46-50, M
2 Responses Apr 13, 2008

I was a care giver to my mom. I quit school, quit my job, canceled my lease to my own apartment, and moved back in with my parents to help her. The hardest part was trying to explain it to my sisters who were 4 and 6 at the time. It was really hard when my 6 year old sister came crying to me and said, "I don't want mom to die." And being a 21 year old kid I was going through a lot with the way my life changed and how much more I had to be grown up again. [Until my mom re-married I was the oldest of 3 kids to a single mom who worked 3 jobs to pay bills. Something that had changed when my mom meet my dad.] There were a lot of times when I honestly didn't know how to deal with everything...but my mom fought like a champ and kicked cancer's ***. And I truly wish that outcome for you and your wife. I may not know you and I may not ever meet you but you are my brother in Christ and I will pray for you. Take solace in the fact that you are not alone...That there is someone right now feeling the same way you do now. Take solace, but don't give up.

Oh, sladen - when I read your sharing, I felt I was looking in a mirror. I don't know what your experience has been, exactly, but I do find that so much pressure and responsibility falls on the caregiver. Unfortunately the patient and the other loved ones are so focused on other things that the effort not only goes unnoticed, and unappreciated (except for the occasional pat on the butt, God love ya, honey, comment) but frequently actively resented. <br />
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No adult wants another telling them what to do and when. It's tough work. Tough.<br />
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May I recommend to you a website called "The Wellness Community" ( They have physical onsite support groups in many places, but more useful for my purposes, they have online support groups - and for caregivers as well as patients.<br />
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I was skeptical at first, but I find it remarkable how much it helps to spend an hour or so once a week with a group of friends who are experiencing trials and tribulations and fears and worries similar to my own. More comforting, when I say, I am FRAZZLED, and here's why - my fellow group members can say, and mean, "I KNOW."<br />
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I encourage you to contact the wellness community. They have a fast-moving vetting process - they call you and ask a few questions about your needs and expectations, and assign you to someone who leads you through the new member process. <br />
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The site also contains a wealth of information about cancer, special podcasts about cancer topics, etc.<br />
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Give it a shot. If you're where I was - up's the only way to go.