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Caregiving: Taking Care of Your Spouse & Yourself

Diana Denholm can relate to the challenges of being a caregiver. A month after her husband proposed, he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

While he survived the cancer, he was later diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Even after receiving a heart transplant, her husband continued to deteriorate and develop other conditions, including severe osteoarthritis, skin cancer, kidney failure, depression and Parkinson’s disease. Denholm was her husband’s primary caregiver for over a decade.

Even though Denholm, Ph.D, LMHC, is a medical psychotherapist, she felt incredibly unprepared for her role and found little direction for navigating the many stresses and challenges of being a caregiver.

This inspired her to write the book The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband, Caring for Yourself, which gives women the practical tools to traverse their day-to-day lives and communicate with their husbands.

3 Comments to
Caregiving: Taking Care of Your Spouse & Yourself

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  1. I was widowed at 50, 3 yrs ago and have been emotionally ill ever since. In the last 7 or so months I’ve been in the hospital for depression related issues because I had no idea how to take are of myself as every one said to do. 3 yrs out, I am now learning to treat myself better. I deserve it, I took great care of my husband who had cancer for 12 years, I owe it to myself to do the same for me. Talking to the Crisis Line has been the biggest gift ever. I am so thankful for that service. Also NAMI is helpful.

  2. I have not read the book, but will be getting a copy soon. Some of the things that I read on this site has encouraged me already. I am 56, my husband 58. Within the last 2 months he had toes amputated due to diabetes, had stroke following surgery, contracted C-dif twice while in hospital, had 4 more strokes along with Kidney Failure. Re-hab is not an option for him at this time, so he will come home tomorrow confined to a hospital bed. We were living on oour own, but our daughter has moved in to help with his care. I have had so many emotions, it is hard to know where one ends and another one starts. They are all mingled up in each other. I do feel anger, hurt, sorrow, yet joy that he is still alive. I feel resentmen in the fact that everyone is concerned about him and his condition and could give a flip about what I too am going through emotionally and physically. I work a full time job as someone has to have income for us to make it own. I leave my work and drive straight to the hospital and spend time with him, a first I tried to stay every night, that worked for about 6 weeks, then my body cold not take sleeping in that chair every night. I was starting to suffer physically. I now get there about 5:30 PM and stay till 9:00 to 10:00 PM , Go home, shower wind down an get to bed about midnight… Up and at em again the next morning. Saturday and Sundays I spend all day at hospital. All I ever hear from his family (parents and sibblings) is oh my Its killing me o see him like this, oh my, poor him, oh my, please make sure they (doctors) are ding everything they can for him. Like I don’t already do that… They never say, can we do something for you? can we sit with him while you get some rest? Our children do help with these things, but they have spouses and small children, so they are limited to what they can do. Our friends put all of their concern toward him as well. Never do they say can we do anything for you??? It has been hard to keep from saying, what about me, Hey I am in this too! Hey don’t I count? I think they just don’t get it because they have not been through it.

  3. I guess this site is for men to. I have been married for 45 years my wife is very I’ll and confined to a wheel chair. My wife has been in hospital for a week and now transfered to rehab center. I never though I would ever allow that to happen I am very sad and mad at myself. I am also disabled and doctors tell me my wife needs rehab to build up her strength and that they feel I am not able to care for her. It hurts to have had to do that and I feel so sad and loanly. I have no one to talk to sometimes I feel like I am loosing my mine.On top of everything else insurance company is being a real pain doctors say no way my wife can be released to home insuranes company says they don’t want to pay. After hours of hospital fighting they agreed for one week.I don’t know how much more I can take. This is the worse strength we have had in the past 45 years. Would be thankful for any suggestions life anymore is getting to hard to deal with.
    Thank you



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