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Topic: BC + COVID pandemic = not enough help

Forum: Mental Health: Because Cancer Doesn't Just Affect Your Breasts —

Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around anxiety, depression & other emotional effects.

Posted on: Sep 2, 2021 11:39AM

Janewhite wrote:

I'm 40 years old. I have two little children, and my husband and I both work. In the past month, I had lumpectomy with bilateral reduction and then mastectomy.

I need more help than I have, but there's no safe way to get it. My parents were going to come, then my dad got exposed at work. Nobody cleans, and I find myself doing it even though I know I shouldn't.

My husband.. I'm caught between guilt because I'm asking too much already, and resentment because I need more than I'm getting.

How do you cope?

Dx 6/2021, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/5/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 8/24/2021 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 2, 2021 12:00PM jhl wrote:

Janewhite,

Can you get references for a commercial housekeeper? When I was your age, I broke my leg & could not be weight bearing for 8 weeks. I had a 2 story house at the time with children too young to take on the responsibility so we hired a housekeeper. Now, I have a housekeeper who comes every other week. During the peak of Covid & pre-vax in 2020, neither she nor I felt comfortable so we stopped for a time. Now, both her family & ours is vaccinated so I'm comfortable. She wears a mask while cleaning & I go outside in my backyard while she is here.

Try to be open minded & find a way to allow someone to come in a few times a month. It is not worth your health, recovery or damage to your marriage.

Stay well,

Jane

Dx 11/15/2019, IDC: Cribriform, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Sep 2, 2021 12:25PM Janewhite wrote:

We used to have a cleaning service before COVID, but not any more. The kids can't be vaxxed yet, so that's a whole problem.

We have a nanny, but she's sick this week. And anyway, she's mostly paid to deal with the children, and also she's very young herself and doesn't really know how to keep a house.

Maybe I can find a way to get a cleaner safely, I don't know.

Dx 6/2021, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/5/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 8/24/2021 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 2, 2021 12:36PM moth wrote:

I would have a serious talk with your husband. He just has to do way more. That's the way it is.

You're not asking too much. You've had major surgery. You should not be working. You should be convalescing. Make a list of what needs doing, cut out things that are not necessary.

When the nanny is back, give her a detailed task list, buy a box of clorox wipes and gloves for her and ask her to at least clean all the door handles, tables, counters. If you make detailed chore lists now, you can get her started off on the right foot when she gets back to work. Don't worry about neatness or clutter, worry about keeping things clean.

I agree that there are safe ways to get cleaning staff (or a friend or community member) to come clean your bathrooms, run your laundry. Go for a walk with the kids for the couple hours the person is there, make sure they leave windows open and exhaust fans on while they work and it's ok to return after they've left.

Have you got meals taken care of? Do you have a meal train from friends? If not, again, put up a menu list, ask friends to make, freeze & drop off at the door contactless.

It's ok for you to require this extra help now - I hope you find a way to get it!


I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/14/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/19/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/26/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 12/9/2020 External Hormonal Therapy 12/16/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/3/2021 External: Bone
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Sep 2, 2021 01:33PM HersheyKiss wrote:

I hope that people step up for you. Your job is to heal.

Thumbs up on a chore list for the nanny. A colleague has a young nanny for her two boys, and one of the nanny's chores is to start dinner in the crockpot. Nothing elaborate that requires cooking or browning beforehand -- just pour, turn on, and walk away. There are loads of easy recipes online. Her husband is in charge of cleanup so everything is ready to go the next day.

Best wishes to you.

Dx 3/1/2017, ILC, Left, 2cm, Grade 1, 3/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 2, 2021 02:41PM Janewhite wrote:

Food is actually the one problem I don't have. My husband is a very good cook, and I don't want to eat anyone else's cooking. It's the cleaning, and by cleaning I mean everything from dishes to sweeping the floor to laundry.

Dx 6/2021, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/5/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 8/24/2021 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 2, 2021 03:27PM NotAsCalmAsILook wrote:

different take: I have been dealing with cancer through the pandemic and while DH picked up more household responsibilities I had to adjust to less being done. Harder was to adjust to it not being done the way *I* would have done it. As long as the kids are ok and fed, it’s ok to reduce your standards for a limited period of time. I just couldn’t see letting anyone else in the house while I’m compromised.

It’s been almost 7 months since my surgery and I still have limited energy. Much of it is going towards my working. So we still are letting some chores slide. As I feel better I’m picking up more. Sometimes it is in fits and starts. DH has a better appreciation of my contribution to the house

If your arrangement with the nanny didn’t include housework please consider asking about their willingness and paying them for these increased efforts.

Dx 7/2020, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/12 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 3, 2021 12:18AM Janewhite wrote:

Today I tried to be more forceful about asking for what I wanted, and in some ways it was successful, but in other ways... it made me more aware of just how much we disagree about what needs doing, and WHEN it needs doing. Like, he'll leave dishes with food in them on the table overnight, and he doesn't do any kitchen cleaning other than washing dishes. He did what I asked, but made it clear that he thought I was being absurd.

I need to ask him to do every little thing, and I hate it so much.

Dx 6/2021, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/5/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 8/24/2021 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 3, 2021 10:28AM Firecracker73 wrote:

Hi there-I’m not sure what state you’re in, but while I was going through active treatment, there was a wonderful organization called Breast Cancer Awareness that would locate people to volunteer services for just what your asking. You may also want to reach out to your nurse navigator or hospital social worker. They may be aware of community resources. I agree with the others, however, your job right now is to be taking care of you and resting. Best of luck

Dx 1/20/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/15/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 3/29/2018, IDC, Left, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/17/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 6/4/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 12/27/2018 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 9/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 3, 2021 11:00AM moth wrote:

So pulling this out a bit, just taking a look at the forest instead of the trees.

There's a thing that happens with a cancer diagnosis. We lose control. We've literally lost control of our bodies, our cells are waging a rebellion. We are sucked up into a medical system of scan and tests and treatments and whole language that is new and has to be mastered rapidly.

We yearn for control.

And that sometimes gets spread out into non cancer lives, where losing control over anything is another thing to resist and we get really upset about how everything in our lives isn't the way it used to be. I get it! I'm so like that!

but sometimes, you just have to let go. So long as you're not getting insects or mice, who cares about the dishes? Dust bunnies, clutter, dishes in the sink, dishes on the table, toys all over the floor, laundry on the couch. SO WHAT.... it's all ok. Cuddle the kids, watch a movie, get it cleaned later. You don't have to be superwoman, you don't have to be dealing with cancer & surgery & work & be a super mom & have a spotless house...let.it.go. Just for a bit.


I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/14/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/19/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/26/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 12/9/2020 External Hormonal Therapy 12/16/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/3/2021 External: Bone
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Sep 3, 2021 11:03AM jhl wrote:

Janewhite,

One of the most difficult things we are forced to adjust is our expectations. You are 10 days out from a mastectomy. Give yourself the freedom to let yourself heal & not just physically but also mentally. I am like you in that I never let the dishes go overnight without at least rinsing. I spent many a holiday up until the we hours getting all the dishes cleaned. It was usually unnecessary effort & it took me aging to allow myself to change. But, you are actually in the fight of your life. It's not pleasant to think about but if you died tomorrow, your husband would let the dishes go and mourn with your children & family. They would not care the kitchen were clean or the clothes ironed, rather they would remember your loving smile & warm hugs.

Instead of nagging about wanting your hubs do the housework just as you would do, try thanking him for dinner & walking away. Spend time with your kids and him just living in the moment. The dishes will keep & your home won't be invaded with pests. He will have more work to clean caked on dishes but that is his choice. Lower your expectations and give yourself and your family the grace of tolerance.

Be well & kind to yourself,

Jane

Dx 11/15/2019, IDC: Cribriform, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)

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