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Topic: How to help when your loved one is depressed & seems to not care

Forum: Caring for Someone with Stage IV or Mets —

A place where family members, caregivers, and loved ones of people having a Stage IV (metastatic) diagnosis can share, discuss, and support one another through the tough times unique to this diagnosis.

Posted on: Sep 9, 2020 08:18AM - edited Sep 9, 2020 08:20AM by bengallover77

bengallover77 wrote:

My mom was diagnosed August 3 wtih stage IV breast cancer that has spread to bones. She had a large fungating mass on her breast that she hid from everyone even when she sees a doctor regularly for a blood disorder she has. She has started radiation and has just started an aromatase Inhibitor and verzenio. She is very depressed, not eating much because she insists she is not hungry. My mom has always been very private and can be very difficult at times. I do not know if she is not eating because of the aromatase inhibitor and Verzenio or if it is the depression. When I try to discuss it with her she says she just doesn't feel good, she will not take the nausea medication because it makes her feel cold. Then she will say she is depressed because she is in pain, when I ask where the pain is, she tells me its from the tape on her bandage that radiation puts on her after her treatments. She is so nonspecific I cannot help her or know what to tell her onoclogists. When we go to the doctor, she always says she feels fine and always denies she is in pain even though the breast mass has to be extremely painful. . She will not entertain the idea of going on an antidepressant, would never go talk to someone about how she feels, and just gets angry when we try discussing things like the importance of eating and drinking enough. I just don't know what to do. She will not let my Dad help her, she insists my brother doesn't care and doesn't do anything but watch TV or sleep. I go over to her house everyday after work to spend time with her, clean up and help out. I see her on the weekends take her on drives and bring over her favorite foods, but nothing I do seems to improve her outlook. I go to all her doctors appointments, she has basically left it up to me to discuss everything with her doctors because she has no desire to talk about it. I don't know what to do to help her get through this. She doesn't even want us to tell family and friends because she doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for her.

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Sep 9, 2020 06:33PM PoppyFlower wrote:

I am so sorry you're going through this.

I totally get it. I'm taking care of my SIL who is in a similar situation with MBC to lymph nodes and lungs. She has VISIBLE lesions on her chest, throat and (I assume) her breasts because I can see her tank top getting wet from the oozing pus. She's refusing chemo and radiation and she's on Letrozole and Ibrance. Luckily, she got her appetite back when I came over and started cooking for her. She has cravings now, which is great, because she said she didn't have ANY appetite and had diarrhea for two months.

She also hid this from everyone for 2 years while she tried to treat it herself, afraid to go to a doctor. She regrets that decision now....

I try to tell her the good and positive things about her progress when she gets depressed. She also have bad lymphedema so she has little mobility. So she gets panic attacks when she can't pull up her undies. We laugh about her "plumbers' butt but she hates that she is so invalid right now. But I continue to bring up the positive aspects of her life now compared to before going to the doctor. She doesn't want to know the prognosis because she doesn't want to be limited by that arbitrary number.

We keep talking about the things that improved, things to look forward to, and we keep the communication open. She is also very private and she admits she should have told someone earlier. She also recognizes the benefits of talking things out. She got a therapist online so she talks to her weekly and she likes her. So that helps too.

You have to keep talking to your mom. This isn't easy to go through by keeping things in. I'm sure she wants to talk to have to give her a chance to come around. I'm not trained for this but all I do is listen now...

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