I'm just at the end of my rope here. I guess I just need a place to vent.

I'm 19, and my mother is 51. She was diagnosed with stage 4 BC a few years back, and it's progressed dramatically, spreading to her brain and her spine. She can no longer walk, relying on a wheelchair.

I, as her only child, left school to be with her and take care of her. I never knew it would be this bad. Keeping up with the housework, taking care of the dogs, yardwork, cooking, errands, driving six hours to and from her doctor appointments, getting my mother anything she needs, and trying to keep myself together. I can never do enough.

I hardly have a social life. My friends no longer call or text because they know I can't go out. I hardly sleep due to the stress and my mom waking up throughout the night every night. I've gained over 50 pounds in the past 3 months. My relationship with my boyfriend is extremely strained because he lives about an hour and a half away. He's basically the only one I have left, and I'm probably going to have to give him up.

I can't help what I feel. I know I feel resentment towards her for having this dramatic life change. Not to mention I recently found out I've been lied to half my life, finding out I'm adopted. I know it's not her fault and she can't help anything, but I can't help what I feel.

Every few seconds she's asking me to do something. Then, the second I sit down, she asks for something else. Half the time I can't even take a shower without it being interrupted.

I try my best to keep it all together, but there are some days where I just don't want to do anything, and apparently that makes me a terrible, lazy person. If dishes get left or laundry doesn't get done, I'm told to "get my head out of my ***." If my mom doesn't have things her way, she yells. If I want to go sit in my room, she cries because she doesn't want to be alone.

She's so rude when she tells me to do things. I know I should just let it go in one ear and out the other, but it's easier said than done. This probably sounds bad, but f I was dying, I'd be a lot nicer to people instead of constantly trying to start an argument with me.

My grandma, who takes care of my aunt who's a paraplegic, comes over every once in a while, but it's always to gang up on me to tell me I'm not doing enough, or to give me more work to do and think about. My grandma is constantly verbally abusing me, and has convinced my mother that if anything happens, everything will go to my grandma. She truly is the meanest, witchiest person I have ever met in my entire life, and if anything happens to my mother, I plan on cutting ties with her. She acts as if my mother is at her house every other day, when in reality she's hardly over there once a week.

I'm literally the only person who can take care of her. My parents are divorced, my grandma is old, we have no living relatives, and my mother's medicaid section that she's under doesn't offer outside help, and she refuses to change it because it will mess up her insurance and we need it desperately.

My mother starts arguments with me, saying I'm extremely hateful and saying "Oh, don't worry, I'll be dead soon so you won't have to deal with me." I try to explain to her that I'm trying my best. I'm only 19 years old, and this is a lot of responsibility for one person to handle.

I explained to her that not having a life and lack of sleep is draining me. Her only response is "I have cancer. I'm going to die. Your problems can't even compare, so shut up." I'd trade places with her in a heartbeat. I'd give anything for it to be me instead. Just because my problems aren't as severe as yours means they're not important? How am I suppose to take care of her if I'm not in a healthy mental and physical state?

Every day I feel worse and worse. I'm drowning, and there's nobody there to throw me a rope. Half the time I go to bed at night praying that I won't wake up. If this is what life is, then I don't want it.

I know I could never off myself. I couldn't do it. But I'm just so tired of life. I don't want to deal with anything anymore.

I can't send my mother to a nursing home. She's too young, and I would never forgive myself.

This is all a nightmare, and in the end of this h*ll we're going through, my mother dies. She doesn't get to see me graduate college, help me pick out my wedding dress, get married, or have grand kids. I no longer have someone to rely on, someone who believes in me 100%, a best friend.

I feel like such a s**t person for getting so irritated with her and constantly having attitude. I know I'm going to regret all the arguing with her when she's gone, and I'm going to hate myself for it, but it doesn't change anything now. I just don't know what to do. I'm losing my mind.

I know this post isn't a question, but I just needed to get it out somewhere. If you read all of this, thank you for listening to my rant. I hope you all had a wonderful memorial weekend.

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You've received excellent advice and sympathy. I can understand your position and the conflict you must feel, so hopefully I can also offer some perspective.

My sister's breast CA was stage III/IV when she was diagnosed; it eventually metastasized to her brain and spine as well as her lungs and throughout her body. She too was unable to walk toward the end.

If your mother has had any full brain rads (radiation), it may have affected her cognitive thinking; this may be why she's now so hostile toward you. It could also be the fear of dying at only 51 years old.

I have a feeling it's a mixture of both, and that she resents the fact that she's facing the end of her life so early, but you're still young and have a full life to live. That may be why she cruelly told you at this time that you're adopted.

Still, there's no reason to tolerate abusive behavior from either your mother or grandmother.

Physically, it's much too challenging for anyone, age or healthy status notwithstanding, to care full time for someone who is wheelchair bound, and whose condition will continue to deteriorate.

I assume you're accompanying her to chemo and doctor appointments.

Ask her oncologist privately, if possible:

1. Estimation of duration of your mother's life. Don't worry about being frank; they deal with this on a regular basis and can tell when a body is beginning to shut down. My sister's oncologist gave her about a 3 month window and suggested she get her affairs in order.

2. (a) Possibility of getting household help and in-home respite care, and/or (b) hospice care, either in the home or in a hospice.

3. If there are any breast CA support groups through her office, hospital, or the infusion center. If there are, join one.

If you can afford it, hire a neighborhood kid to walk and/or clean up after the dog. It's one less chore you'll have to deal with.

Cook larger meals ahead of time, plan for several days, then you can spend less time in the kitchen. If she has "chemo mouth" and food tastes too bad to eat (which happens during and after chemo), try juices. We ended up using a lot of apricot and pear juice, which for some reason didn't taste metallic as did most food.

Create a schedule by which you both have respite time. Give your mother a pad on which you list what she typically asks for, let her check off items, and perhaps once in the morning and in the afternoon attend to those requests. If she protests and says she needs them now, tell her that you'll attempting to provide for her needs but absolutely, physically and/or mentally cannot do so under the current conditions, and there have to be some changes or you'll have to leave her home.

If she pulls the "you're not my real daughter b/c you're adopted" thing, you can do the same thing. I wouldn't normally advise this but it sounds as if you need to play hardball.

Remind her that you're there voluntarily and can leave if you're not treated right.

Use paper plates as suggested, set aside a time for just doing dishes and laundry, and stick to the schedule.

You're going to have to stand your ground and be firm about not letting her and her mother manipulate and insult you.

Remember, (a) you don't have to be there, (b) there is professional help available for end stage CA, and (c) you're an individual who's entitled to respect.

Worst case scenario, if you feel as though you're ready to scream, go outside for a walk, just to be alone. Although I wouldn't normally say this to anyone caring for someone in end stages of cancer, you may have to remind her that you are doing this voluntarily and if you're not treated properly you won't do it. And don't back down.

Your mother and grandmother are ganging up on you, manipulating and verbally abusing you, perhaps because these are personality traits they've had all their life and they've found a captive victim. You're the only one who can stop it, and remember that you have a right to do so.

Something else that might help: check out CURE magazine online; it's for people battling cancer and their caregivers. There are some excellent articles. You can also order a subscription, but at least online you'll have access now.

Good luck, and never forget that you don't have to take abuse from your mother and grandmother.


Reading your post made me think about my own 20 year old daughter and I wanted to just reach right through my screen and give you a hug.

You are much too young to be going through this. Even the most mature 50 year old can break down under the strain of being a caregiver. Not that you're immature, I'm sure you've grown up throughout your experience as a caregiver. But when I think of my daughter having to do all that you do I can't even imagine it. You've risen to the challenge and you are to be commended for everything you've done for your mom. She should be very proud of you. I'm proud of you and I don't even know you.

Have you considered hospice? It's covered by Medicare and they can provide you with some relief so you can get out or go take a nap or do whatever you want to do. They will bathe your mom, take over her medications, and just be there to help you with anything you need. Hospice isn't just for people who are in the process of dying, it's for people who have maybe another year to live. And with your mom's breast, spinal, and brain cancer I'm sure she'd qualify. It's a big step to take but I work hospice (I'm a nurse) and every single case I've worked the family is so amazed and so grateful for our services. I hope you'll look into it.

And honey, caring for someone 24/7 is too much for anyone to have to deal with regardless of the situation. Caring for someone 24/7 in a dysfunctional family is nearly impossible as you have discovered. There's no shame in considering a nursing home for your mom. There is no age limit in a nursing home. People don't "dump" their loved ones in a nursing home, family places their loved ones in a nursing home because caring for them at home is too difficult. I hope you'll consider this also.

Please come back and vent here as much as you need to. We care and want to know how you're doing.

You're a good daughter. Any mother should be proud.

You are doing an AWESOME job! The rest of us caregivers understand that more than anyone. You're a responsible 19 year old who set aside her life to take care of her mom. Like everyone else has said, you need HELP! Call in hospice. There are usually more than one hospice organizations to choose from, so interview several of them before you decide. It won't cost you anything. You should also consider getting your mom into a nursing home. I'm 63 and have a friend of mine living in a nursing home (she's 64) after a stroke. She'll never get better. It's sad, but she needs that level of care. You didn't give your mom breast cancer, it's not your fault. Now you can only do the best you can do. You're not a machine, you're a young woman doing an awesome job in an impossible situation. Call in some support and if your mom and grandmom aren't happy with it, too bad. You need to take care of yourself first, so that you'll be there to take care of your mom. Please keep us posted on how things are going, we understand and we care about you.

Bless you for all that you are doing. You are very strong and courageous for 19; however it is time to let professionals take over. Check with your Mom's doctor for hospice help. They will be a real blessing for you and your Mom at this point.

You have to take care of yourself and prepare for the rest of your life. It will take time but from what you have already experienced, you will do just fine.

Sending you loads of hugs and best wishes.

No one person can provide 24/7 care for another. That is at least two, if not three full time jobs. As difficult as it will be for you to do and for her to accept, it is time for full time professional care for your mother, and as others said, maybe hospice.I don't know the mechanics of making that happen, but I just wanted to provide you support. Please don't feel guilty. It is not your fault your mmother got sick. You've helped her tremendously already, and it's a shame she can't show appropriate gratitude. Maybe if she was a little more gracious, you'd went to stick around a little longer. Behaviors have consequences. No one should be miserable to be around and then be surprised when you want to leave. You're only 19, and it's time for you to go live your own life. Your mom may be angry and bitter about her turn of events, but that's not your fault, and it is entirely selfish of her to expect you to put your whole life in hold to be her sole caregiver.

May God bless you, you are a hero.
I suggest therapy for you, NH for mom and earplugs for dealing with granny.
Work on yourself, try to get a decent paying job maybe with local government, or a company that still offers school reimbursement. Fr the first year make it just about supporting yourself and transitioning into YOUR life. Later you can decide what industry or career you want to grow in.
Mom will be gone soon and you need to be able to stand on your own 2 feet. Obviously you are a hard working young woman.

Mom needs to be in a NH, she is bitter, regardless of where she is. Lets start living your life instead of only focusing on the end of hers.

First you are doing a wonderful job. Give up cure and go for comfort. Cut yourself some slack. You need hospice, you have your Mom's care, your grief, her grief, household chores, too much for anyone o handle alone. What is the money situation? Can you hire a houscleaner, and a handyman? These suggestions lift some of the burden of caregiving, and give much needed support.

What I say next will sound callous, it is not my intention to hurt you, I have problems with affect, so forgive me. You don't have a lot of time left with your Mom, and it sounds like your Mom and Grandmom are dumping their grief and fears on you. To stop the fights, you must deal with them adult to adult, not child to parent. Set boundaries, and hold to them.

Your grief will overpower you, paralyze you, and make you doubt yourself. Don't let it. Feel it, don't run from it. Go to your Mom with it, and ask for help. Start honest conversations; ask for life advice, cry together.

How to stop the fighting,gratitude. Fill your heart and mind with everything Grandmom and your Mom have done for you, thank them, thank God for them. . The bad thoughts disappear and love overwhelms you. When I want to quit, when I have no help for days, when i think if that cranky old man yells at me one more time, I think of how much he had done for me, how I love him, love fills my heart and my responses become supportive not combative. Try it. The more you do it the better you get at it.

You need a support team. First I suggest a therapist for you. You are dealing with death, sickness, grief, loss, overwhelming responsibilities, loss of freedom, plus your mom and grandmom not dealing with their grief. You need help, fast. It will give you a confident. A good therapist eases your fears, gives you courage, and teaches you how to handle the situation. You want a psychlogist not a psychiatrist.

I am so proud of you. You are handling an impossible situation. Most people much less a 19 year old would have broken by now, but you stand tall. That shows me; you have courage, grit, and a loving heart. You are a special person.

We are here for you. Stay with us. We know what you are going through. Go back and retitle "Help, Only 19, can't cope, need advice, Mom stage 4 cancer".

I commend you for doing what you have been able to. Forget the dishes and use paper plates. See if you can hire help, for at least an hour, now and then.

You found out you were adopted? I think I would just have to laugh at the absurdity of finding that out, now. Believe me, we all have skeletons in our closets.

Your mom really, really needs long term 24 hour care by skilled professionals. It is hard to see my mother in a nursing home. (I am older than your mom.) But, there is no such thing as being too young to be in a NH. She may even need hospice care.

#1. Take care of yourself. Get your mom the nursing home or hospice care that she needs. You have done all that you physically can. If your grandma keeps wanting to open a can of worms, set boundaries and do not discuss anything with her. You are next of kin, not her.

Let us know how you are. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Get help from your mom's doctor and get her placed in a nursing facility.

Alilexa, it's late wherever you live and I wanted to give you a bit of hope and peace before you deal with nighttime care and hopefully some sleep. You will be getting some excellent advice from folks here, a lot of support and you will know you're not alone. Sounds like you've been doing an amazing job. My caregiving experience doesn't give me the nuts and bolts answers you need, but you will get help here.

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