I live in a Glass Tube

by Adrianne
(Neenah, WI)

I don't want pity. I need support. I feel like I am in a glass tube. I am screaming to the top of my lungs for help, and no one hears me. I am pounding on the glass, and it doesn't break. I am tired all of the time. I have put on forty pounds in the last two months. I cry one minute, laugh, scream and become withdrawn. I don't want pity. I need support.


My father-in-law has been battling lung disorders for the last seven years. He has had one bout of lung cancer; had wedge resection; COPD and emphysema that has advanced rapidly in the last six months. Now, he has stage one grade two to three cancer in his right lung again. A new treatment is setup for him. It is called Cyberknife. It has a 93% success rate. Yet, with all of that, with all that God or Yahweh, Buddha, Ala or whoever has given him, another chance at life, he still smokes.

He will tell you that his nerves are shot, or that he has smoked for fifty years and that it is hard to quit. He will tell you that he was exposed to asbestos and freon. He will tell you that he doesn't actually inhale, he just puffs. He has all the excuses down pat.

Here's the kicker. My mother has stage four liver cancer, and stage four esophageal cancer. There is no hope for her. There is no miraculous cure. She knows that she is dying, and she is at peace. She relishes everyday. I cannot visit her like I should because I am the home health worker for my father-in-law, and someone has to be with him all of the time. My husband tries to help, but his hours were cut at one job, so he had to take on another so that we have a roof over our head. So I feel a tremendous sense of guilt. Where do I belong? Who do I hold first?

We are both stressed. We are both in a glass tube. We don't want pity. We want someone to support us.

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Act Now, Live Later
by: Anonymous

I am in the same situation, only it is my mother-n-law. Sadly, I have been doing this for 11 years. If I had to go back in time I would have pushed much, much, much harder for assisted living.

We thought we were doing this great thing by taking care of her ourselves, but it cost me my relationship with my own family (my father passed away). My brother is terminally ill and no one bothered to tell me. When I asked why, they said they knew I was too busy with my mother-in-law to visit.

Your family will get to a point where they quit trying. Your father-in-laws quality of life will be much better if he lives in assisted living. Don't be like me and live in that glass tube for 11 years. Your life will pass you by, and people will move on and accept that you are no longer a part of their life.

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Mother First
by: Anonymous

My vote is with your mother - your father-in-law is your husband's priority. If your situation prevents your husband being able to contribute to his father's care, perhaps a nursing home or placement with your husband's sibling(s) (if he has any) is indicated.

If you don't spend time with your Mother during her last days, you will regret it and quite possibly blame your husband for it down the road. Good luck.

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