• Would love to hear from wives/caregivers, and...

    Asked by mamajltc on Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Would love to hear from wives/caregivers, and...

    how you do it? My husband was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago with colon cancer. He now has stage 4. The cancer is no longer in his colon, but his lung. For the past 21/2 years, I have worked 45+ hours, been to every appointment (I am a nanny and am off on Thursdays)...used my vacation time for various appointments and go to chemo with him every Thursday. He is an incredible man and when he asks why I do what I do, I tell him, this is what you do when you love someone and that I feel that I get more out of his strength and love than he could ever imagine..that he is, indeed, my hero. That being said, i find myself so tired...He is incontinent and has a colostomy bag, so often times (please forgive my details), have to clean him and other things (his bag leaked on the rug yesterday while getting out of the shower). There is nothing I would not do for him, and I need to do these things, but there are sometimes I am so tired and so sad about it all. Any other women in the same position. Thank u

    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      As a Cancer Patient myself 3 times, and as a caregiver for both my mom and dad when they died from cancer, bless your heart, and thank you for what you do!! It is tough, I know, but please know that it's tough on him seeing you have to take care of him. Since I have been on both sides I can say easily, that taking care of Mom and Dad, was harder on me than me having cancer, as far as how I felt. It was tough on me seeing them fight. And at the same time I know the feelings of having to have someone wait on me hand and foot. You are a strong woman doing great things, you too, are a hero.

      And your post brings up another thought, maybe we need another category on the right under "filter questions by diagnosis" and include "caregiver".

      Good luck to you both.

      over 4 years ago
    • danellsar's Avatar

      I am so thankful that, so far, my husband has been able to care for himself in those areas. That's really tough for you. Can you get some kind of home health care assistance to help with these type of details?

      On the one hand, I agree that this is what you do for those you love who are suffering. On the other hand, you are not a trained nurse, and it does sound like your husband needs more wound care than you can give him.

      I also agree about the "caregiver" filter.

      over 4 years ago
    • Marisa's Avatar

      Dear mamajltc, I take care of a man with Stage IV lung cancer. Art has been incontinent for at least a couple of years. I remember him leaking urine the first time while we were shopping at RadioShack, and it was shear panic time for him. The loss of dignity was very hard. He also developed severe constipation over the last year and a half, and the only solution is daily enemas. Miralax and dulcolax help a little, but the morphine has stopped his bowels from moving. Now that he's so weak from radiation treatments and his inability to swallow solid food, he cannot do the enemas on his own. We've developed a pretty good routine of using the enema and then him just going right there on the floor if he can't get up on the bowl. I have plenty of rubber gloves so I can reach my fingers inside him and "help" the poo out if necessary. I was afraid that having to do this would change our relationship, but the constipation / poo routine is just part of the program now. This is so horrible to talk about, and this answer might get censored - sorry for being so graphic! If any caregiver needs support on this very personal and embarrassing subject, believe me, I certainly understand what you are going through! If you are a cancer survivor experiencing bowel issues, please know that your caregiver loves you and is willing to help in any way you need! Let us help!

      over 4 years ago
    • RebeccaW's Avatar

      As a wife of a husband who has stage 4 cancer, I understand how tired you can get. It was such a rapid change and I unplugged immediately to come home and help him out. Luckily, I've been coaching him enough to get his health to a place where he can take care of himself for the most part but it has been tiring to get to this place. One thing I found myself doing was holding everything in and then having my moments where I would just burst. Like the moment I was on the phone with my mom during a disagreement and I burst into tears and threw my phone threw the window. I ended up crying for two hours.

      Then I realized that I was so focused on him that I didn't take care of myself very well. So I had a heart to heart talk with him and training him on what he could do on his own that would help take some of the burden off. We were realistic. If I helped TOO much (which I have a tendency to do) then he relied on me too much. So we found a balance that worked with both of us. And I found myself disconnecting from him a little more to have some "me" time. Whether that was writing, video editing, going to school online, having coffee or lunch with friends, going to church, getting a massage or going on a walk alone - it was a must for me to keep sain in the midst of what we all were facing. And when I did that it not only helped me be less tired but some beautiful stuff came out of it. Some of it shocking. Like a script for an inspirational film based on a portion of our story.

      No matter what you do, take some time for you. Because if you don't take time to take care of you...you won't be able to take care of your wonderful husband without burnout. TRUST ME ON THAT ONE!!!

      over 4 years ago

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