My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October last year. Since he was diagnosed I have pretty much been the rock for him and my mother who are both aged in their 60. I’m 34 have the most amazing husband and 2 gorgeous children 13 and 11. I have been the one both of them have depended on since the very beginning. I’m their transport to and from treatments. I do any paper work that needs doing. I’m pretty much at their beck and call. And that’s ok. I get that completely in this day in age they do struggle to keep up with it all. However since my fathers last treatment away I have all of a sudden become so anxious. I have never felt this way before and it scares me. So silly considering he’s the once going down the cancer road. So much so I have had to put off going with them on a specialist appointment to Brisbane as I just am feeling completely overwhelmed with it all. Luckily my sister has said she will do this trip. The guilt tears me apart. I feel like I don’t know how to cope with this anxiety feeling running through my body. I think I’m just very scared of “what comes next”. Watching someone you love deteriorate in front of your eyes has a huge impact and clearly I was not ready to witness this.
so here I am asking for some advice on how I cope with all this. I’m having trouble sleeping and eating and just feel really terrible.
Kase, I'm not sure what advice I can give because I'm not sure that I'm coping with my Mum's terminal cancer very well. But I did just want to say that you are doing a fabulous job and have every right to feel overwhelmed.
The horrible part of cancer is that it can be a long and exhausting journey. Giving so much of yourself is a beautiful way to support your parents, but it's impossible to sustain over the long term without impacting you, your health and your life.
My mum has had cancer on and off for 4.5 years. During that time I have spent countless hours at hospital with her, doing various things for her, generally caring for her (and my dad). I'm getting married in 2 weeks and that has consumed my life recently. We planned it at short notice to maximize chances of mum being there. In the midst of that I'm working and generally trying to maintain the life of a normal 27 year old. Today my Dad told me that I'm not spending enough time with Mum and his comment broke me.
I guess I'm saying all of this to both you and to myself. As caregivers, we can only give and do so much. We still have our own lives to lead. It sounds like you have been the absolute rock for your family, and now it's time to prioritize yourself for a bit. Let your sister help a little more if she can. Find out what services you could connect your parents with. Anything to remove some of the caring burden from yourself.
Hearing my personal rant may not be what you need, but I hope it helps to know that someone else understands where you are at. And for the record, you're doing amazingly.
Thanks for reply Mel. You certainly make a lot of sense. I know this is just the beginning and I know I need some help myself. Which I am now willing myself to allow for that help. Lucky I do have the most amazing family around me and support me.
All the best for you wedding day and sending so much love to you and your family on this heartbreaking path we are heading down. Xo
you have nothing to feel guilty about ,there can come a time when it seems to overwhelm your thoughts and energy,dealing with a loved ones Cancer and being there rock,but you also have to try and find a balance with your own feelings,a chat with a professional can help to suggest some coping strategies,,you need to be healthy for yourself and your parents for what lies ahead.sharing the responsibility can also help.
it really messes with your head. I have been doing some listening to great podcasts and trying to write as much as I can everything I’m feeling. I know we are only just at the beginning and luckily enough I have realised that I needed help. Realistically I probably should have got a little help sooner. I’m sure the guilt will always be there but your right I need to take time out and regroup. Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate it!! Xo
@Katekat thank you so much. I did get your email. I’m not sure I would like to do the group chat Just yet but I definitely think a one on one would be beneficial. I find it very hard to talk about it with out crying so I will definitely be a blubbering mess on the telephone.
Your parents are lucky to have a wonderful daughter like you, being always there for your parents whenever required. It really touched my heart.
I hope your father gets better soon, what are the doctors saying regarding his treatment. I'll suggest you stay calm & positive and give a lot of love & care to your father, this way he can feel somewhat better and relaxed. You can also do meditation to calm yourself.
You don't have to feel guilty as you're doing enough as per your ability. It must be really hard for you to look after your parents and childern at the same time. You're really brave and fighter, so keep fighting. Lots of love and best wishes from my side!
@Iyana271 thank you for your kind words. It’s a crazy ride this cancer road, and I guess I was a little in denial thinking I was strong enough to do it all and keep every one positive and calm. However I know that now we are all just human and it’s ok to fall apart especially when it come to something like this. We won’t know his out come till his appointment in a few weeks. However he has deteriorated so much from the chemo I’m pretty worried about what the doctor is going to say.
I understand how hard it is to walk this path alone with a lot of worries! But I think with the little hope & positiveness, it will become somewhat easy to fight with cancer. sometimes will power play a most important role to fight with any disease, so be beside him & give him mental support it will surely strengthen his will power.
Btw Good luck with the upcoming appointment! I hope you'll get good news next week.
Be part of this supportive community