Ok, so I've been blogging less than a week now, and all ready I find myself asking the bloggy community for some suggestions! After lurking around on your blogs for a while now, I know I can count on you!
I have a brother, Michael, that I love dearly!
Mike is in late stage 4 kidney cancer with multiple bone mets, and I am his primary caregiver.
We also have a sister, Patti, as well as our children. They help me beyond belief!
Mike had surgery to remove the diseased kidney last September, and is doing quite well physically. He is still taking chemo every day at home in pill form. That being said, here is our problem....
Mike's blood counts tend to fall rapidly, as they do with most chemo patients. When this happens, he becomes pretty much housebound. He is stubborn (to put it mildly), and could go out in public if he wears a mask. Pride gets in his way there...he won't do it! I'm not going to fault him for that. I have no idea how I'd react in his situation! Lately he has started locking himself in his apartment and just watching trash tv all day! I'm talking things like "Jerry Springer" reruns or "Lock Up" for hours at a time.
We are dealing with some real issues with boredom here. Not to mention the depression that goes along with it.
Recently, Mike has had some MAJOR personality changes, and has become quite the "Drama King" ! He calls me complaining over the smallest things (like a girl auditioning on American Idol whose voice made his bones hurt). I know this sounds petty.....but really it's not! I work full time and he has been known to call me up to 20...yep 20..times a day over things like "did you see Obama get out of the limo and walk in the parade" or "Kentucky is ahead by 2 points" ! I do understand that he needs someone to talk to, but sheesh! I am leaving customers to answer the phone for fear he's really sick or something has happened! When he really is sick....he won't call until late at night. That means a trip to the ER insted of clinic.
I've told him that he is welcome to call me at work when he needs me, but this has to stop!
He doesn't listen! He does the same thing to other family members and friends as well. I actually had to double my cell phone minutes because he used 2700 minutes in 2 weeks along with all of my rollover minutes! We had a home phone installed for him, and luckily the bill has been less than $200.00 a month since! He lives on disability alone, so I pay the bill for him. I'm going broke!
Mike is quite the graphic artist, as well as a poet, and a master gardener! He has been published several times, and until a few months ago, was working with a friend of his that owns a screen print shop. He also facilitates a Celebrate Recovery group, and has been active in our church. All of that has changed. He's just quit everything he normally did. He says he's bored with it all. We are trying to find him a new hobby or something to keep him occupied. He still lives by himself, and is not allowed pets in his apartment(we thought a kitty may help). I know alot of his depression is the weather, and I have no doubt that the cold makes his bones hurt more. Once spring gets here, this should all change. For now, I'm really worried!
He has started doubling his pain meds so he can "sleep the day away" and not worry about anything. He's also developing alot of paranoia. I've talked to his doctors about this, and they tell me it's very common! They called it "chemo brain". I didn't know there was such a thing!
The doctors suggested an anti-depressant. Mike shot that down quickly. He does not want the world to think he's a "crazy chemo patient", or take another pill!
I truly beleive that Mike does not realize everything that he is doing, and it scares me!
The other day, he had to go to clinic to get a shot of Procrit. They called him back 4 times for his shot, but he was busy talking to the people in the waiting room and wouldn't go! So they let him talk and took other patients in. When he finally realized how long he'd been waiting for his shot....he threw a fit in the waiting room. The nurse told him that she had given someone else his "slot" because he wouldn't stop talking. Mike heard that as "she gave someone else his shot" !!
Now he's convinced that the nurse just gave him a saline injection, and gave his Procrit to another patient! AAARRRRRRGH! He told me that I'd see he was right when his counts didn't come up the next week.
Well......being that this was his first injection of Procrit, he didn't see much improvement in his red cell count! You can only imagine how that went!
I had a meeting with his oncologist this week. He said that medically, Mike is stable and there is no reason for him to behave like he is. I'm at my wits end! I could handle this if I was dealing with a child, but it's getting harder and harder to explain to adults who have known him for a long time, why he's acting like this. He says he doesn't care! He's a cancer victim, and people need to just let him do what he wants to do!
I THINK NOT !!
Has anyone ever experienced this? Any suggestions?? He shoots down every idea or suggestion we give him! :0(