My 62 year old mom has had a malignant and inoperable brain tumor since February 2014. Her symptoms were manageable throughout radiation and the beginning of chemotherapy. However, in the last 6-8 weeks, she has deteriorated significantly. She had to be hospitalized in late July for multiple seizures. When she walked into the ER with my father was the last time she walked unassisted. Since then, she needs a walker and tires just walking from one room to another. She needs assistance getting out of bed, toileting, dressing, and most other things. She also has serious memory deficits and cognitive problems. The doctor said she is the equivalent of someone with moderate dementia.
My father is 76 years old and although he is physically healthy, he has gone down psychologically in the past 6 months. Some days he just lies in bed and won't lift a finger to help.
I haven't lived at home since I left for college at 17. I work and live 500 miles away. I have a good job, big group of friends, and a girlfriend.
I came home after my mom left the hospital to help out. I thought it would be temporary, but 6 weeks later I am still here. I am trying work from home, but it really isn't feasible because there is a lot I can't do. I've already used up all of my paid leave coming home to visit between February and July, and now I'm using unpaid FMLA to make up the hours I can't do from home. I have about 250 hours of FMLA left to last until the end of the year. My mom's prognosis is uncertain; the doctors think it could be months to a year, and the literature I've read online is all over the place, sometimes the median life expectancy is 9-12 months from diagnosis, other times 2-3 years.
I am in serious panic mode because I'm not sure what will happen next. Sometimes I go to my car and just start screaming and punching the steering wheel. I have already been dealing with the fact that I will lose my mom, who is the person I love most. Now I'm facing the prospect of losing everything else in my life too. I have frequent thoughts of running away, but I'd probably kill myself from the guilt. We have no help either - my father's children live out of state and don't care, and my parents have no friends, church group, or other family anywhere nearby. My parents can afford in-home aides, but my father hates strangers in his home, and thinks they will steal because they are mostly black.
I am angry my parents had me so late in life. I am angry that I have to deal with this alone and at my age. I am angry I have to be power of attorney and make important medical and financial decisions because my father is too weak of a person to do them. I am angry that the one person I always turned to for advice and comfort when times were tough is now too confused and not lucid to be there for me. I am angry at all of the people on this forum and others who act like caregiving is a "blessing". Maybe it is if you have a spouse to go to work and pay your bills, or an extensive support group to give you respite and a shoulder to cry on.