Hi everyone,

I found this site while looking for articles on caregiving from 1,000 miles away. I haven't found any articles, so here I am.  The reason I'm asking whether I should be a member of this group is that I'm a caregiver, but not at the stage where my sister needs help indefinitely. She has ovarian cancer, stage IIIc, DX August 2007. She has gone through hell and back, with only two six month remissions. She is still working mostly from home (her employer has been great). When things get really bad I go from my home in MI to her place in TX  anywhere from weeks or months.

We are the only living members of my immediate family. She is single, no kids. I'm single with two single adult sons. Sis is 50 years old, 11 years younger than I am. We lost our two brothers tragically each at age 48 in 2000 and 2005 respectively. Neither had children My mom died of breast cancer in 1986, age 56. Dad died in 2000. I feel like I simply cannot take any more losses. To lose my sister/"daughter"/best friend terrifies me. That's it. That's my family. There is no one else to care for Sis, and I'm in full blown anxiety disorder. She's been in remission but her numbers are climbing very rapidly, but with a clean ct scan and "NED", no evidence of disease. The protocol for this is to wait and see.

Sis and I know that her prognosis is not good given her history. It seems that I live and breathe by her ca125 numbers, wonder how I'll be able to stay in TX again without my friends and son. She has friends, one who has driven her to treatments, but none capable/willing to stay with her.

It's frustrating not to see Sis on a daily basis. We talk every day, sometimes for hours (Phonezillas!). Also, I've started to join her at her appointments through three way calls. Sis is 11 years younger than I am (she is 50). We visit each other several times a year in good times and bad.

So, my question is "Do I belong in this group, or should I just get support for anxiety disorder?" Thanks in advance for your comments.

Sincerely, Connie

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi connie, I read these wonderful words from you and tried to respond before but I am not sure if it posted. I am facing surgery in the next day or two and I will be back to talk to you as soon as I can after its all over. Thank you for stopping by to share. Talk to you soon. Carlo
Hi connie, I read these wonderful words from you and tried to respond before but I am not sure if it posted. I am facing surgery in the next day or two and I will be back to talk to you as soon as I can after its all over. Thank you for stopping by to share. Talk to you soon. Carlo
To both Carlo, Jeanne and the group, thank you for your kind welcome. So glad I joined when I did because my situation has drastically changed.

On Nov. 17 I flew to Houston, where I am now as a full time caregiver. Sis's numbers soared, scans showed several new tumors, and she was in a great deal of pain. Her doctor called me directly to ask me to come stay with her. He knew the new chemo treatments would be very rough. So far, two treatments and a lot of pain in her abdomen. When I arrived, she was on some strong pain meds which made her drowsy and did not stop the pain very well. Now she's on stronger meds, which work quite well, and she is working from home. We have a futon made into a bed in the living room, where she stays. She is still able to shower, go to the bathroom, etc. but only goes out for her appointments.

One of the difficulties I'm facing is her house. She is a hoarder, and beneath all of the junk the house is filthy. The first week, she would not allow me to declutter anything. I hated to do it, but told her I would go home because I can't live this way. After a day of not speaking, we found a way for me to tackle one room at a time. I'm employing a very industrious teenager to clean after I clear a section. It's hard to do the work when my primary job is to care for my sister.

Jeanne, it's true that you find out who your friends are. As soon as I arrived, her friends stopped calling, and we never have visitors. Two of her friends told me that they don't visit because of her house, but otherwise enjoy her company. We'll see if that's true once I make the place livable.

Next week we see a palliative care physician at MD Anderson. From what I've read on the MDA website, this is the person who will help us face the future.

It sounds like all of you are facing new concerns.....I'll catch up on the group and talk to you later.

Blessings,
Connie
connie, your doing right and I will talk more to you later, I literaly just got discharged from the hospital tonight where I had my gallbladder and stones removed, I am very sore and uncomfortable but know that day by day I will feel better and be able to sit and talk to you here more. Hang in there, I will be back as soon as I can. Carlo
Hi Carlo, So sorry you've had yet another challenge. I hope you are healing, and feel better soon. You certainly have been through a rough time over the past few years, and now this! You have taken care of others, now it's time to take good care of yourself.

Sending healing light,
Connie

Thank you for your kindnesses. I'm learning the hard way just how difficult it is to care for my sister full time. She is doing her best....even working from home a little each day. Sometimes her heavy doses of Oxycontin and Oxycodone fail to prevent pain from her tumors. I try to keep our time together the way we always have....remembering vacations, inside jokes, childhood experiences.

 

I'm not much of a cook :-) and she is a gourmet. Thanks to MD Anderson I've learned how to make light tasting  dishes packed with protein and calories. Fighting nausea is a constant battle for her.

 

For years, Sis has visited me in Michigan at Christmas, and my older son comes over as often as possible. This year he is coming to TX to keep up our tradition. How I miss him!

 

Sis's condition hasn't changed much since I arrived in mid November. She is well enough to take care of her personal needs and spend time on her computer. She tires too easily to go anywhere but medical appointments and chemo treatments. I'm cooking, cleaning, tracking her medications, taking blood pressure and temperature. Most of the time I bring food and drink to her.

 

How can I deal with homesickness?

What comes next for advanced ovarian cancer?

And why are her many friends strangely silent and absent?

Comments welcome!

Connie

 

 

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