It is after 1am and I am lying here after an exhausting day. I don't know what to do or think so I thought I would right it down.
I have been dealing with family issues for ages now (probably at least six years) but a lot in the last two years. Before I got diagnosed I was working long hours so I could have a Friday off every two weeks to spend with my parents. It also took me over an hour to drive to work and coming home was sometimes worse. My mother has dementia and my father was coping less and less and called on me continually. I spent each Saturday or Sunday there as well. I knew then that i was becoming exhausted but felt there was nothing i could do as there was only me to help. My parents live over an hours drive away. My daughter was in London and my son was on call 24 hours a day in his job. Then my daughter returned for a surprise visit in Feb '09 and for a brief period I was so happy and felt that finally I could relax and rest. Then in March '09 I got my cancer diagnosis and my world fell apart.
Telling my father was one of the hardest things I have had to do. We waited until I had had one chemo session and before that I kept lying to him telling him i was busy in meetings each day at work or that I had the flu or gastro or something to cover the weeks I was having surgery and then recovering and then the first chemo sickness. He reacted quite well considering. Then i had to stay positive around him as he was still dealing with Mum and trying to care for her when he was exhausted each day himself. She was becoming rapidly worse and was very demanding. He did have help with some carers from time to time but he was starting to look very unwell. Anyway - to get to now .......Mum is finally in full time care (this took a lot of hard work to organise) and Dad is not coping. He is so lonely and depressed and I still have to deal with numerous daily phone calls from him and problems. We have now decided to move both Mum and Dad to my area as Dad has agreed he can't live in the house on his own anymore and so far from his family. We had to do a lot of talking to convince him this was for the best. Today I had a frantic call from him - he has been having panic attacks. I organised for a neighbour to sit with him and then my daughter to go there and my son and I headed down too. We all talked and packed Dad up and then Dad and I went to see Mum. I then took him to see my brother ( who is also very sick - he had a brain haemorrage in March '08 and never fully recovered and he has a serious illness as well) Then I drove back home with Dad.
I don't know what to do - All day I have been smiling and keeping Dad happy while all the time I have been crying inside.....it is hurting me so much to see my parents like this ....my Dad is suffering and so sad that his wife is in a home and he is missing her so much. When I go and see my mother my heart aches....she is so frail and she begs to come home .....her dementia is worse and she is so very confused. I just want to scream and cry ....why is this happening ....why is life so cruel......why do i have cancer when they need me soooo much ....why do I feel like I just can't cope with all of this .......I just want it all to stop .....i can't do this anymore .....telling everyone I feel ok ..and Dad today told the nurse at the aged care facility...I couldn't do any of this without my daughter ..she is so strong. She is my rock.
No ....i'm not ....I'm scared and tired and I just feel like giving up .......please ...what do I do ....I feel so selfish because I don't want to help anymore. Can't anyone see ..I have had months of being sick and of feeling scared and now I just want to focus on getting well and staying well and I can't because each day is filled with dealing with my Mum and Dad. I feel confused because before it was clear - I would look after them and then get on with my life but now things are different because I don't know whether this cancer will come back. It is so hard now because my future is so uncertain. Today I was so scared because I could hear myself speaking and telling Dad not to worry and that we would handle everything, just relax Dad. But deep inside I was struggling to stay calm. The tears were just below the surface and the fear was threatening to overwhelm me. I so badly need someone to just give 'me' a hug and tell me they are going to look after 'me'.
God - that sounds so selfish. My parents are both 88. Why do I feel like this. I want so badly to be there for them 100% but at the same time I almost resent that I can't just walk away as I am so tired. My home was the one place where I could curl up and cry and relax and sit and be me. I now have to hide my feelings, bottle them up until I feel i am going to explode. And that is what I am doing now - exploding with all the pent up emotion of today. I have just thought I should be grateful that I still have my parents ....and I am ..I really am ...but to see their pain and not be able to take it away. I can't even tell my Mum I'm sick. They lost my sister 13 years ago and I am so scared they will lose me....My dad would never cope with that......I am supposed to be there for them now and I just don't feel capable.
Thankyou for bothering to read this if you got this far. It is horribly long winded -but now I feel I can sleep. It is a little after 2am.
Kind regards, Willow
I have just read back on this and thought how self indulgent it is but I will post it as I have noone else to tell and I have to get through tomorrow. It is out now and I will cope ....but it is so hard to face each day at the moment.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.