Hello, new here so thanks for listening.
I have been caring for my brother who was originally diagnosed with throat cancer. After 12 months of extensive radiation and chemo, the cancer was gone (so we were told). On the very same day, we were advised of a new spot on the left lung. That was 2 years ago and in that time he has in counted countless radiation and chemo treatments...I honestly have lost track of exactly how many. He has been on a "break" of treatment and 3 monthly scans and doc appointments since Nov 19.
Everyday since diagnosis it has been the topic of every conversation, the meaning of every day and the thing that my whole life revolves around. He lives 300kms away from my family home and if he is not under my roof with my family, I am driving up and down the coast to his. I believe he cannot live any longer by himself as he just does not take the time to care for himself although he will tell you a different story. On the occasions that I leave him alone, the next day I find that I will have to clean up the constant mess of someone who is awaiting the cleaner to come in. I sometimes feel that I am doing everything to try and help him, but getting no signs from him that he is trying to help himself.
My marriage is suffering, my family is missing out and my social circle has dwindled down to a couple of friends. Im struggling to find the strength to continue, both physically and mentally. So many other things have happened in that 3 years, most of it I missed out on as I made him my priority. I feel like I have let my family down, and most of all myself yet I can't walk away. I know that he has had a terrible fight and I really must support him, but I am losing myself. Is that selfish?
Love to hear others that have or are experiencing the same thing and any advice you could throw at me would be great. I have to pull myself out of this.
Sending hugs to you @TraceyAnne ❤️
You are definitely not alone, and there are other carers such as yourself in the community here who can make suggestions and support you.
You might like to listen to our podcast about cancer and how it affects the carer too. If you are interested, you can find all our podcasts here, the one about family and dynamics and cancer would also be a good one to listen to.
I am also sending you an email about some additional support for yourself, so keep an eye out.
Cancer Council Online Community Manager
Perhaps time to step back a bit and recharge a bit? Putting a limit on the time and energy that we invest in our caring roles is necessary and is in fact a loving thing to do.
Cleaning before the cleaner comes can give the impression your brother is coping better than he is whereas leaving it will alert care provider to the need for additional services.
With the help of the Cancer Council s or other support I do hope you can find a good balance.
Hi, Yes I didn't make that very clear, sorry.
I am the cleaner, there is no other cleaner. I sometimes feel that is what I am most of the time. Just someone who continuously is holding it all together. I am scared to back away, as I feel if I do thats when he will give up.
I have learnt that asking what support our loved ones want from us is important, the state of your brothers house might be more of concern to you than it is to him.
We all want the best for our loved ones and people do better when supported appropriately, I do hope you will be able to find a balance between caring support and looking after yourself and your own family. I am sure the things that Kate sent through will be helpful.
I found emotional support for myself via a rural health initiative to be beneficial and following an interstate move I accessed free phone counseling through the Carer Gateway (where there is a lot of helpful information), the Cancer Council also have a free counseling service.
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