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I am getting so burnt out....help!? 
Started by lilbear
22 Mar 2013, 2:36 AM

My Father was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago with prostate cancer with bone metastases.  He has gotten more and more frahile and we have been through many ups and downs.  We really didn't think he was going to make it to Christmas...but he is still with us. This rollercoaster has been long and very hard. 
My mother was his primary caregiver but after Christmas,  I saw her start to spiral down and lose her strength. She cannot cope with it all anymore.   She became depressed and had a nervous breakdown.   Antidepressants are not agreeing with her, so we don't know what to do.
She gets times when she cannot even speak coherently.  She knows what she wants to say, but it comes out very wrong.   This can happen with a breakdown!   She gets very, very frustrated and constantly asks me when she will get better.  I don't know! I wish I knew....but I don't!  I get fed up with being asked repeatedly the same things.
So, now, I have my father to look out for and my mother!
To make things worse....my Dadhad an awful fall Sunday night and fractured his arm...apparently right where a tumour is.  He had surgery today to repair it.  This has sent my mom into a major tailspin again.  She cannot even get herself up to go see him and feels guilty.  She also keeps saying she just wants it all over finally...just let him go.  Does hospice have counselors or psychologist's that can help her?
I am so tired of doing everything for everybody.   My family is suffering....I feel bad for my kids because my time is taken from them.  I feel like a puppet and everyone else pulls my strings to make me go and do what they need.  I have no life!  I am so burnt out!
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Reply by NatR
22 Mar 2013, 2:41 PM

Dear Lilbear,

my heart goes out to you.  What a huge load you are carrying - it's okay to say that you are tired and out of ideas .

my first thought is - who are your contacts for home care, community support?
can you make some calls to those people and tell them how drastically your parents situation has changed?

another thought - your moms behaviour may not just be related to depression.  You should have her doctor see her , run some tests

the reason I say this is from my own personal experience with a parent who acted similarly and was dealing with changes in her mind, going into dementia as well as having mini-strokes which really changed her daily abilities to think act and function.

please understand I am only speaking about my own personal experience but I want you to understand that many different things can be going on under the surface.

also Know what a great person/child you are to your parents.  You are doing your best but you need professionals to step in and give you some serious respite and relief.

this is not easy for your parents or you. 
But you cannot do it all!
take a big breath and make a plan to call in the troops!

you are worthy of taking a break and letting others step in.

i know your dads recent fall has kind of brought a more serious level of need for both he and your mom.

its sad to see, it's harder to deal with - but you are being heard
pkease write when you need to and let us know what happens next.
i know others will respond to your nite as well - with other ways to support and help you

i send you from my corner to yours a big cyber hug! 
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Reply by Mark99
22 Mar 2013, 3:58 PM

Lilbear I can see and feel in your words the desperation and struggle with all you are doing and the pressure that rains upon you daily. My words and thoughts pale against what you are feeling, facing, and doing. I have been a caregiver for my wife and toward the end I too felt the sense of no life but I knew that my life for the time Donna had left was dedicated to her care. At the time it didn't help but after I took some pride in knowing that I was there and did what I did. That said you have both parents who are in need and you have to face what they do and say that rips the fabric of what a child is to a parent.

I found a counselor at cancercare.org and for three years she allowed me to share and weep and begin my grieving well before Donna died and after. I cannot recommend the professionals who work with cancer patients and caregivers more highly. They understand what we face and how to manage it. They give us the vision to see between the lines or our daily struggle and those issue which lie deep within our hearts. And I may have resources at hand to help you beyond listening.

Please keep sharing with us if for nothing else to exercise your voice and heart with those who have gone before you.

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Reply by lilbear
22 Mar 2013, 6:45 PM

Thank you for your responses.   I do find myself questioning whether or not there may be more going on then we think with my Mom.  She has been seen every month by her doctor since things started with my Dad. Her doctor is fairly certain that the last few years of continuous stress has caused this, but she did request a catscan.  My mother became quite anxious at the mention of that and I was told that if she was showing improvement,  then don't stress her out more by making her go for it.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  She was starting to seem better and then all hell broke loose when my Dad fell.  She really spiraled down again.   I called her doctor right away and she has prescribed some anti-anxiety pills with the further understanding that if no change she is to go to the hospital.   She has gotten better in the last 24 hours and the pills are definitely helping.   She sleeps a lot,  which I was told she would, but she's eating again and not as worked up.  Even her speech has improved some!
My fathers prognosis is not so promising.   He had his one arm operated on but it appears that he did break his other arm also.  His doctor told me today that things do look quite bad.  He has quite extensive spread of tumours throughout his body/bones.   It appears he may also have a tumour behind his right eye.  It is quite bulgy and he sees double.
I have called the local hospice to try to speakto the coordinator/helper that we have been in touch with for the last few months.  I am waiting to talk with her, but she may not be back in until Monday.  
You know what else really sucks?! My big brother just left today to go to Jamaica  for a weeks holiday and so he is even less help then usual.  My financial situation is in the crapper because I haven't been able to work while helping with my parents...and he gets to go on holidays and not interrupt his work or life!
I am so frustrated at times and resentful of him....but I know what I am doing is the right thing.  I just know that I wouldn't have been able to go away.
That's all for now...
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Reply by NatR
22 Mar 2013, 7:26 PM

Dear Lilibear

glad to hear back from you but very sad to hear how difficult your dads condition is.  This is a lot for you to handle on top of your mom needing so much support.

its good that her doctor is hands on and offering help.
hang in there Lilibear you have support here and can vent anytime.

i cannot imagine your brother going away and not offering any help - oh scratch that - I do have experiences with family members also so I can relate to feeling alone and being left to hold the bag.

let your frustrations out here and do what you can to ensure your dad is comfortable and pain free as much as possible.  There is no easy way to get through this time - but I promise you that you will always be glad you did what you are doing.

You can only be responsible for your decisions and I can tell you have a big heart and that you are doing your very best for your parents.

let go of the resentment and anger as much as you can - you can deal with those feelings later.  Right now you are busy to the max with your parents.

keep writing, our forum readers will answer and hear you.
whatever your doctor offers for your moms comfort and care - I hope you can take advantage of those services as much as possible as you may end up being overwhelmed and have trouble being able to keep going.

i admire your honesty and sharing your feelings with the forum.  It's definitely not an easy thing you are doing.

hold on and take one hour at a time
my British roots would suggest putting on a big pot of tea, it's what you need to get through a crisis - they always said!
(my feeble attempt to make you smile)

i hope you have a close friend nearby who can share the tea.
it helps to talk about things / that's why we are writing each other today 
 Best wishes
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Reply by lilbear
22 Mar 2013, 8:18 PM

Thank you natR for your input.  I keep telling myself that it has to get better.  I try to take one day at a time, but it is all very overwhelming sometimes.   
We just moved to this town a couple of months before my Dad was diagnosed and then we were thrown into chaos.  We had to help my parents close their business, sell their house and had a granny apartment built in our home to accommodate my parents moving in with us.  I haven't had much time to form any friendships here yet, so I do feel even more alone.  My brother lives about 1 1/2 hours away,  but hardly makes the trip down.  I am glad my parents could come in my home.  I cannot imagine how we all would cope otherwise.
I worry that my Mom will not get well enough to see my father again before he passes....but that's probably jumping the gun.
I will try to keep writing here as it does help to release some in writing. 
Thanks for listening/reading, 
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Reply by Tian
23 Mar 2013, 2:36 AM

Dear Lilbear

I think NatR and Mark99 have offered you very wise words. I just want to reiterate that it is perfectly understanable that you feel overwhelmed and need help. I can't conceive of anyone capable of bearing the stunning burdens you face by themselves. Your father, your mother, your kids, and - don't forget - yourself all require attention. Optimally it would be great if your father could be accepted into a hospice because they are concerned not just with the patient but with the entire family. Leads could be provided to the right path for each individual.

Unfotunately it seems your brother has decided to bail but on the bright side I would think that your spouse's support makes up for it because they must be someone special to have your parents move into your home. And although you haven't made new friends can you not seek support from friends in your former community? In any case you are always welcome here. All parents would be fortunate to have a child like you.

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Reply by lilbear
23 Mar 2013, 1:54 PM

Thank you very much for your kind words.  It is so comforting to be able to express myself on here and not feel judged in any way.  It is something I so desperately need.
Unfortunately, where we live, they do not have a hospice that has rooms for the patients.  It is in the planning stages, but right now we have only a hospice centre to visit and I am having a hard time finding the time to get there between all my other responsibilities.
I have tried to stay in touch with friends from my former community, but it is mainly online.  It is better then nothing though and I have had some people that I haven't seen for many years reach out and try to offer comfort.
As for now, I know I am doing the right thing...it just gets very tiring.  Thank you for saying my parents are fortunate to have me.  I am fortunate to have them too. 
Yesterday, my Dad told me how he wished I did not have to carry all this weight and he worries about me!  This man is dying and still he worries more about me....amazing love!  All week he has been hallucinating from all the pain meds and yet that thought came out so lucid!
Thanks again,
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Reply by NatR
23 Mar 2013, 2:07 PM

Dear Lilbear 

i was just wondering how you were doing and saw your email notification come into my mail 

its very hard for you to be in a new place without support network but as you said it has turned into the best situation for your parents and their illnesses.

as Tian said your parents are lucky to have you and I can guarantee that when you look back on everything you did for them - you will be glad you did

going through the stress and fatigue now is the hard part - but the words your dad gave you must really have helped!

you are a Caregiver 
you are doing a job no one else can do for your parents.  You are giving back from your heart;)

i understand your feelings and I "get it"!
having worked in long term care and also caring for a family member I know your dedicasprit pitot and your fatigue.

it is worth it for your parents and they loved and raised you - and now you are giving back

i am so glad you have the forum to vent to and get replies from others  who understand and care

 Sending you strength today and wishing I could drop in and share tea or coffee with you and give you a big hug in person;)
you are in my thoughts;) and others as well

best wishes and tipping  my coffee cup your way 
natR ;) 
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Reply by Mark99
23 Mar 2013, 2:58 PM

You've take a terrific first step by opening yourself up to people here, looking for help, and finally finding within yourself the questions you have. Many (i.e. your brother) shut down and flee. I believe that doing that opens one up to issues years latter. It is hard now for you. In fact overwheleming but you are seeking help and doing. It will serve you well later.

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