Caregiving is generally a labor of love; however, caregiving can also be a very draining experience. Those who are responsible for providing care to the cancer patient can suffer both mentally and physically, when attempting to do all that can be done, in ensuring their loved one is as comfortable as possible.
In relying on you for her care, your loved one looks to you for her every need. You, in trying to provide that care, will, many times, forget to take care of self. It is imperative that when you are the caregiver, you stop to take time for yourself. If you do not take care of yourself, first and foremost, you will not have the mental or physical strength to take care of anyone else.
Caregivers frequently suffer burnout. This becomes apparent when there are feelings of bitterness toward the patient, feelings of total mental and physical exhaustion, high stress and anxiety, anger, insomnia, depression, etc. Seek help. If you do not have family members that are able to help, contact your county's Social Service Agency and inquire as to what services the patient qualifies for. Many times, you will receive respite services, whereby someone will come to the house, a couple of days per week, and take over caregiving, to allow you to take time for yourself.
It is important that the caregiver keep as normal a life as is possible. Keep in touch with friends and relatives. Join a support group or two, so that you can interact with people who have circumstances similar to your own. There are many online support groups where you can join and relate with other caregivers, who experience similar circumstances, and can relate. Take advantage of the support sites. No one really knows what it is all about...unless they have been there. It will bring great comfort to be able to converse with those who understand what you are going through.
As much as no one ever wants to think about hospice care, where a loved one is concerned, sometimes it is necessary. It is always best to be prepared when a loved one's condition is such that survival is not likely. The Hospice Foundation Of America is a great website and has a lot of helpful information.
Disclaimer: Information presented within the pages of this website is, for the most part, that of my opinion and for informational purposes only and not to be used in place of the advice of your medical provider. You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of your medical provider and to conduct your own research on any topic of interest, for fact finding.