Overwhelmed; this is all new | Caregiver Action Network

Overwhelmed; this is all new

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Overwhelmed; this is all new

In September 2022, I found out that my Dad has stage 4 cancer.  He found out in late July after going to the ER complaining of back pain. My Dad was working full-time, never had an illness or injury, and was generally a heathy guy with no bad habits.

Fast-forward less than 3 months later, we are now at the end of chemo round 1, and he can barely walk and has lost 75lbs.  My Dad also lives alone, has tons of steps and stairs in his house, and has to continue to work because Social Security isn't enough. His mind has deteriorated, I think more than chemo brain, as he is going to appointments on the wrong days and generally does not have the capacity to do anything other than rest. Everything has been so rapid and overwhelming.

With no one else living with him, no partner, no close friends, and little family to help - things are piling up on my end. 

I live 1.5 hours away, am the main bread winner for my family, and have a teenager at home with special needs.  All of this has become so much. At my job last week, my HR Director called me and told me to take the rest of the week off because it was apparent that I was losing my mind.  It wasn't a vacation... I had to go take care of my dad on those days.  Laundry, cooking, cleaning - so much moldy and expired food in the fridge. Plants dead and on their way out dying. Waking up to dry heaving and coughing so hard that it sounds painful. There were also a ton of errands, shopping, and driving to/from appointments and the pharmacy. 

As of last week, I now need to stay with him overnight once a week to help out with all his needs. Not just the day-to-day but also needing to figure out how to get him to create a POA, Will, Living Will, getting rid of an old storage unit, old mail box that's halfway across town, and why are there two unused vehicles outside?  He also needs one of those Life Alert and a wheelchair.

Needless to say, my existing condition of having anxiety and depression has been knocked into an entirely new level.  Things that usually help like exercise are no longer things I am enjoying. I know those things are important, but I am just not wanting to do it.  What is worse is that I am an athelete, so my usual joy of mountain biking has been squashed.

Having no idea why I am on here telling a bunch of strangers about my situation, and even if this is going to be read or people understand, I at least feel a tad better writing it out.  But I'd like to know what other people do to cope... and that I am not alone. Recommendations? Advice? I would love it.

NicholeGoble's picture
Hi, kpoutside. Thank you for

Hi, kpoutside. Thank you for sharing your story here. I know that posting on these forums can sometimes feel like screaming into the void and you never know if it reach anyone. I cared for my grandfather when he was diagnosed with cancer and so much of your story resonated with my own experience. Having heard from so many other caregivers about their caregiving situations, I am sure so many can also see themselves in what you shared. 

All of that to say: please know you're certainly not alone.

In terms of any advice I can offer? I'd recommend reaching out to the Caregiver Help Desk. Based on what you shared, it sounds like you're really the one doing all of the day-to-day caregiving for your dad and that is certainly alot to juggle. The Help Desk can possibly identify some local resources that might lighten the load a bit. You can reach them via phone toll free at (855)227-3640. You can also reach out via chat (you may see the orange Help Desk icon at the bottom right of your screen) or e-mail. Their hours are Monday-Friday, 8AM to 7PM Eastern.

I hope that is at least a little bit helpful, and I hope some others will see your post and share their stories and advice. Always feel free to reach out if I can be of any further assistance. 

Nichole NGoble@CaregiverAction.org