I can't do this anymore.


I'm sure some of you know me from 5 or more years ago, when I was caring for my terminally ill father, and trying to take care of mom who was grieving even before he passed.

Well, now that mom has cancer, she is inoperative due to fibrosis, from all of the radiation and brachytherapy treatments she went through. Long story short, she is suffering so terribly and even though the tumor is super small, stage 2 and has no spread, she has to live with this awful pain. She has rectal cancer and she can't even sit down correctly. She has to lean sideways or lie down in order to sit with the family.

She has NO quality of life. I try to make things fun for her at home, I cook all of her favorite meals that she taught me to cook as a child, we have game night with my siblings, try to make her laugh, but at the end of the day, her life is not a life anymore. She isn't a candidate for hospice, because her tumor is "maintained" and controlled with chemo pills, but she's so so so depressed.


I've been in and out of the hospital with chest pain, heart palpitations and other symptoms alike ALL from stress. I'm 43 years old and feel guilty for even leaving the house for more than an hour. I work from home luckily, and my partner lives here too. We bought the house and making renovations to it so it'll look nicer and updated. I wanted to make mom happy.

For me, when I even think about watching mom go through what dad went through -- I cringe. I can't even think about it. My worst fear growing up was losing mom. She's still the same person -- spunky, same personality but SUFFERING. She's on oxycondone, like a lot per day, she hates morphine and Fentynol. So she takes the oxycondone as much as the pain comes on (prescribed correctly) -- but it still doesn't truly help her anymore and she has built up a tolerance. At this point, addiction isn't my concern.

Next week, we were supposed to bring her to the beach house for an entire week. We do this for her every single year, but this year, she thinks she may not go due to her pain. Now I feel guilty for going for a few reasons: 1, my sisters will make me feel guilty for leaving, 2, It's Mother's Day!!! 3, I don't want my mom to feel bad or sad.

I'm having such bad panic attacks that I cannot even function! I see a therapist, but it's not enough. My relationship has really gotten very distant too -- we never do things together, ever. We take care of mom and it feels so incredibly overwhelming. My mom is one of those stubborn old Italians where she refuses to have a nurse come in to keep her company or anything of that nature.

I'm losing my mind. So I'm sitting here writing to you all with huge heart palpitations and I don't know what to do or where to go. I lost many friends because I couldn't give them the time or didn't want them to come over in fear that my mom would feel uncomfortable. I lost myself. I've never been this depressed before and it's scaring me -- my thoughts scare me.

Please send some prayers or positive energy my way. I'm truly suffering as a care giver...

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Lordy, I can identify.

May I ask where you are in perimenopause as the anxiety and panic along w depression can be in part due to hormonal changes many yrs leading up to meno...? IN this situation, elder care is stressful and can exacerbate peri symptoms - man of which you describe. Thyroid is important to investigate - if it is off, can contribute to panic and palpitations. Make sure you are well hydrated in the interim.

We have a front row seat to our own mortality which is intense - and adds to stress. So it makes sense you are experiencing a variety of symptoms.

So sorry that you're having to go through all this. I took care of my mom for several years before she had to go to a skilled nursing facility. Some days were worse than others, especially when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and had to endure treatments for myself while caring for her. I was very blessed to have the support of my family. The one thing I kept telling myself was that expression "God never gives you anything you can't handle". I told myself that He must think I can handle an awful lot! Anyway, prayers are going up for you as well as some positive energy thoughts. You will get through this, but the road may be a little bumpy for a time. Take care, and be sure to recharge your own "batteries" even if it's just for a few moments each day.

The Boogs,
Your words;
"If it wasn't for me and my other half, my mom would either be living with one of my sisters or in a nursing home."
Is there a reason WHY she couldn't live with a sister for the time being? (Because mom doesn't want to is NOT a reason.)
Are there resources for a nursing home?

At this point, it doesn't matter what "h*ll" your mother will put you through if you change her situation, it's about the h*ll you are already GOING through. It's about 'surviving' the stress. How many more hospitalizations will it take for you to change this situation? The next one may be a real heart attack.
Do you know what panic attacks are? They happen to people who don't want to be in a situation they feel they can't get out of. You have already admitted you can't take care of your mom when you're stuck in bed.
I suggest that you and your other half hold a family conference, letting your sisters know that you will no longer be able to care for your mother in your home on orders from your doctor. The ball will be in their court. If they won't take her, let them know she will be placed in a nursing facility. Do not argue or attempt to explain. That only wears you down farther.
It's time to be a bad *ss when dealing with your family. You have to play hard ball with these kind of people or they will continue walking all over you. You are the only one who can stick up for yourself.

By the way, what does your other half suggest? Are you listening?

My first instinct is to tell you that if you don't take care of yourself first, then you cannot be a good caregiver for someone else. This is the same motto when taking care of children. I only take care of my mom for a few hours a week, and I feel the burden on my shoulders like this huge weight, and yet it's nowhere near what you are doing. I feel stressed, angry, exhausted, and resentful because my lifestyle has changed since I moved her closer to me. I definitely would get some outside help and give yourself a break. Your life matters too, and I think if your mother was well and thinking rationally that she wouldn't really want you to endure this suffering.

True! My in laws come over and sometimes a couple of friends, but I keep it to a minimum since she's been so sick. And with my own stress, I guess I'm choosing to push some people away because I'm just not in the mood to absorb anyone else's energy. I'm tapped out. :( But you are so right...

I am going to address one small thing here. You have left your friendships go because you thought your mom would be "uncomfortable". I have my friends (those that understand) over often, and my mom loves to see them and interact with them, even for a short time. It is a break in her day, and a huge help for my mindset. Maybe she would like to see some other people, even for a few minutes, and then she could go and watch TV or whatever she normally does. My friends all call her Mom, and she loves the attention. Maybe you could try this once or twice and see how it goes. And it may do YOU a world of good. Good luck!

Thank you everyone. All sound and wonderful advice. Sad thing is, one of my sisters who happen to be the proxy is bipolar and she is also an alcoholic. During Easter dinner at a restaurant where we all took our mother, my sisters were fighting, throwing wine on each other, making a scene to where the mayor of the town had to walk up and comment, and sadly, remove one of my sisters from the scene. As much as the toxic sister is helpful, she barks at everyone for not doing enough. She mocked me for going to the ER twice and saying, "Oh stop it, it's just anxiety! Why do you make a scene?" She downgrades my ailments and stress and doesn't realize how much I sometimes feel like I loathe her for being such a toxic person. She even gets mean with my mom but she is the one that handles the doctor situations. I'm the one who cooks meals every day, spends time with mom and cares for her at home. I feel like running away. If it wasn't for me and my other half, my mom would either be living with one of my sisters or in a nursing home. We bought my parents' beautiful home so that my mom could stay here and so that we could make it a nice inviting home for the family as well. But I guess that comes with a lot of grief.

This has helped a lot. Your comments have made me feel less crazy.

The Boogs,
It is because you Love your Mother SO much,that it makes it even harder...I know and had Many of the same feelings you are having when I was caring for my Mom for 9 and a half years by myself.I lost my friends and my health too.I felt lost then,but since her death,I feel even more lost.
Hopefully,your vacation will help your spirit and you will come back recharged.Your Mother needs you and I know you want to be there for her.She is very lucky to have you.
I am sending prayers your way.
Take good care~

Dear overworked friend,
You sound like you are ready to snap. Your health problems are a direct result of what the stress is doing to you. You have got to listen to your body. You MUST reduce the stress you are under or the chest pain may lead to permanently disabiling health issues. You can not sacrifice your life for hers! She is at the end of her life, you have 40+ years left.
Immediately call a family conference of everyone who can assist with your mom. YOU do NOT have to shoulder ALL the responsibility yourself. Your sisters and brothers (and anyone else) needs to sign up for caregiving on a calendar. Why do you feel you have to do it all? Your mom is everyone's responsibility. Make the calendar for a month at a time and, later, if someone can't work on their day, THEY are responsible to find coverage. Tell them your doctor is demanding you reduce your work load or you will suffer irreversible heart damage.

Why do you (and no one else) take responsibility for entertaining your mom? If she is in that much pain, she doesn't need entertainment, she needs rest and pain relief.
Your intentions are wonderful (trying to please her in every way) but you don't realize that the responsibility has to be shared and that you will loose your health if you continue to be the sole caregiver. Explain to mom that your health is failing and that you HAVE to have others take care of her (whether she likes the idea or not.)
Google what stress can do to your mind and body. It can kill you.
Mom will adjust.
May God cradle you in His arms and help you find the strength to make these changes. Positive vibes and energy is being sent to surround you. Also a big bear hug to relieve the anxiety. Good luck.

I would not ignore you own medical conditions. It sounds like your health is really suffering. Since your siblings aren't on board with helping, I'd try to avoid them distracting me.

Are you your mom's Healthcare POA? With her chronic pain, it's understandable that she's depressed. Is she being treated for depression? I'd encourage that and also try to get support for her to get help from professionals from her doctor. Sometimes, the doctor can say things that you need to get a bath aid, nurse, or housekeeper. Sometimes the patient will listen to the doctor if hesays they really need it. OR maybe, your doctor needs to say that YOU are not able to continue doing certain things. Explain to mom that doctor's orders require a change in the duties, that she needs certain professional support and then make the arrangements. If your mom is still resistant to taking reasonable measures that ensure relief to both her and you, then I would question if she is fully appreciating the severity of the matter.

I realize that you have to pick your battles, but, if your own health is suffering, I'd have to make arrangement to help myself and hope that mom will adjust.

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