View Full Version : How To Cope With Family Illnesses

08-31-2016, 07:59 PM
I wanted to know how everyone copes with family illnesses. Before I begin, I am talking about any illness within your family, whether it is you or someone you know. This could involve both mental and physical health. You can be as general or personal as you want. I need to get a lot of chest so I apologize for this long post. I'm about to get personal here but I suppose I just need to express myself to cope so here it goes *Takes a deep breath*

I myself have no known health issues. My family is a different story...
Please know that I made some edits to the original post as some things have changed recently.

Mental Illness - My family has a long history with it. There is intellectual disabilities, bipolar, schizophrenia, and ADHD. My dad is suffering from a mental illness (see below regarding him). I only have to deal with it when I talk to certain family members, something I don't do often due how they can be confrontation with me.

Elderly Father - This has been the hardest and most difficult. In my original post, I was taking care of my father with help from my aunt (one of his daughters from another marriage).To start with, he has various conditions - Parkinson's disease, blurry eye vision from cataracts, irregular heartbeat, and Lymphoma, an aggressive cancer that he must take pills for to keep it in remission. He was diagnosed with dementia several months ago and we (my aunt, husband and I) no longer care for him. He was at a nursing home but is now at a hospital. He has declined to the point they are evaluating him for hospice care due to recent falls. While he is not 'dying', the hospital determined hospice would better serve someone like him due to his condition.

I am having a hard time dealing with this reality. I am remaining strong due the demands of my teaching job but today, it hit me hard. My mom passed around seven years ago from an illness (she never went to doctor so we have no idea what really killed her), and now I find myself approaching another family death. My family does not help the situation though we agreed to stop the fighting since my dad is on the decline; I'm honestly not holding my breath. I am seeing a therapist now to help cope with the situation but I know things are only going to get harder from here on out.

Again, sorry this is so long but I hope this helps others see they are not alone in the struggles of living with family illness.

09-01-2016, 04:40 PM
Hmmm. To put it simply, illness runs in my family. They found out about mine when I was in elementary and I tend to gasp for air..even if I'm not running, lol. But all jokes aside, it comes and it goes. At first, I felt deprived because it but my parents did everything so I could live normally. I joined various sports but with maximum supervision, lol.

Bottom-line is, even if you're facing or dealing with hard situation, everything's easier with your family's support. I was the one who had a weak heart but my brothers have their own illnesses. But yeah, we support each other so it's all good. :)

09-01-2016, 05:04 PM
Similar story for me.

My youngest sister was diagnosed with Diabetes when she was 1. She was also diagnosed with an extremely severe wheat allergy at age 4 (celiac disease, if you want the technical term). She's 16 now.

Since my family didn't want to make her feel like she was weighing anyone down, we all ate a lot of low-sugar food and gluten-free food growing up. I still remember once I got my driver's license how I'd go down to even the local Taco Bell and have food with wheat that we could otherwise never have at home. Over time, I started to mature to the point where I started to care about her health and condition more instead of being a selfish loser who only cared about the impact her life was having on me. To this day, the things I did back then have never sat well with me.

Alzheimer's disease has run in my Dad's side of the family for years, and he's been showing the early-onset symptoms of it for a while. It's something everyone in my family has recognized, including him. It's damaged my relationship with my Dad a lot because he's forgotten things that he said multiple times to me just the day before. Carrying a notepad with him so he can write things down has helped his short-term memory, but it's caused him a lot of depression since he's realizing that age is catching up with him, and he's slowly starting to lose his mind to the disease. I had to move out of the house with him because that reality was damaging our relationship to the point we couldn't share a house anymore. Things were said at that time that I really wish I could take back.

I feel your pain. Let me be the first to say I've made a lot of mistakes in my dealings with my family in this regard, and the emotional pain eats away at me sometimes. If you ever need someone to talk to about what you're going through, my door is always open. Maybe I could get a few things off my chest, too - if you've got the patience for it.


09-01-2016, 06:28 PM
If you ever need someone to talk to about what you're going through, my door is always open. Maybe I could get a few things off my chest, too - if you've got the patience for it.

I work with school children so I have lots of patience :) Thank you for offering and if I ever need someone to talk to, you will be first on my list. As of now, I seem to be doing okay...just worried about the future.

09-03-2016, 12:31 PM
This is definitely hard to deal with because having family, especially those that you hold so close and dear, go through such an ordeal and feeling helpless makes everything harder.

My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3a breast cancer two years ago. I was actually angry with her because she hid the fact that she was going through a mastectomy in her home country before returning to the US without undergoing chemo or radioactive therapy. At the time I was studying to be a pharmacist and already studied about oncology so learning about that really twisted my gut. It was even tougher because both my brother and I found out from my aunt who my mother was residing with and we were in another country. After we heard about my mom coming out of the surgery and recovering well, we somehow convinced her to go through chemo and radioactive therapy that successfully put her in remission! It was a really challenging at the time since I was away from home (Las Vegas during pharmacy school) and couldn't communicate with my mother much nor know if she was receiving the right treatment since there was a language barrier. But in the end after endless amounts of research, both my brother and I realized that she was receiving great care there and she'll be fighting cancer with everything she's got.

At the same time I was going through a rough patch in my very long-term relationship with my now ex-boyfriend. Everything was a huge emotional rollercoaster for me. I actually realized I couldn't cope with the amount of emotions and stress so I sought out a therapist. For those few that do know me, I'm not one to really seek help, so this was a huge step for me. But I will be honest, having gone to seek out therapy and actually have someone help me through my ordeal without judgement or helping me realize what my feelings were telling me helped TREMENDOUSLY. I know it's always great to have a friend or someone to just listen, but having someone know how to help you deal and understand as well as accept what's going on does more than relieve you, it can save a life. I won't say that I had suicidal thoughts, but being helpless and feeling worthless is something that can bring you to a dark path. I know therapy is expensive and I was lucky to have some monetary help, but there are always programs out there to help.

People deal with family issues in different ways and the hardest ones to deal with are the emotional trauma because humans can only handle so much. If you need the help go for it! There's no weakness in that. They are there to help .... not to just make you think you're crazy because it's never about that.

09-19-2016, 02:59 AM
It sounds like you've got it really hard. I couldn't have imagine having to take care of my parents. How old is your dad/how long do you think he's got left? I know its unbearably hard to think about and might make you feel like a bad parent, but you'd be freed when he passes away. I know it might make you feel awful to think that way, but I can assure you that you aren't. It's only natural to think that way.

I can relate a bit. My younger brother was born with a degenerative muscle disease and had to use a ventilator to breath from the day he was born and could hardly move. He really could only move his hands and his feet a bit. He had to have nurses take care of him day and night and between the nurses shifts my parents would have to take care of him, changing his diapers, flipping him over, etc. He lived to be 20 so you can especially imagine how awful it must've been to change his diapers for example. I me and my younger brother Ian, who is two years younger than me (me, Ian, Joe[handicapped], Eli btw) handles it probably the worst way you could. We did drugs throughout highschool and up until I was 23 and ended up getting addicted to heroin and other pain pills. It got pretty bad for quite a while there, and while I don't blame the circumstances entirely for my problems, I'd quite often wish for Joe to pass away at the very least for my parents sake because they were quite obviously falling apart from it all. He ended up passing away ago and me and Ian have been clean for three-ish years and we're going to college though still living at home. So it's gotten quite a bit better, though it was pretty hard when he passes especially for my parents.

So I really feel for you and really hope it gets better soon. Though I can totally sympathize with you, I can't imagine being in the situation you're in and am honestly very impressed you've gotten to this point.

09-19-2016, 04:13 AM
Hang in there . I've been there before (grandparents had Alzheimer / Lou Gehrig's ) My dad passed from pancreatic cancer .. Just know if you ever need someone to talk to you can feel free to message .

09-19-2016, 04:22 AM
I have the same case with my brother [9 yrs old], he has an ADHD and it's really hard for us to find a cure for his problem since it will be hard for him to adapt it when he grows up. My parents did everything so that we can find a cure for it, but since we're just an average family we really can't handle expensive treatment for it but one doctor suggested us that we should just understand him and help him change so that when he grows up he can slowly cure his mental issue, I love my brother so much, we all love him, so all we can do is just understand him and slowly cure it by ourselves as a family. May god help you with your issues too.

09-19-2016, 08:38 AM
My family doesn't have a history of mental illnesses. The only two Immediate problems that are in my direct house is my mother's moderate OCD, Depression issues. I believe I may have severe depression (Self harm, For a long while I had constant thoughts of suicide) I'm extremely prone to existential crisis and explosive anger (I'm usually quite reserved *Sips wine*) For a while I had problems with OCD, mainly due to psychological issues, not hereditary ones, But I couldn't look out windows, I had to do everything starting with my right foot/hand. I cope with my mother by letting my sanity slip a bit, IE: I talk to myself a lot, not in public, but I'll mumble to myself in my room, I tend to listen to a lot of music depending on my mood. My musical tastes depending on my mood (Hope it helps)
Punk: Feeling angsty
Pink floyd: I like the dark side of the moon to just sit down and listen to for an hour or two if I'm feeling particularly overwhelmed.
Death grips: Makes me feel powerful for some reason.
I do have self labeled "expression problems" In the form that I can't really express myself around my family, as I'm either seen as a stupid teenager, They'd be intolerant to what I say or something else. That's why I picked up playing music, It helps if you can't say something to anyone.

10-05-2016, 07:50 PM
It sounds like you've got it really hard. I couldn't have imagine having to take care of my parents. How old is your dad/how long do you think he's got left?

Well my dad is 76 and he is slowly progressing down hill. I honestly don't know but he's at the point where I worry about something happening at any time; he's very stubborn about using a cane to steady himself and going to a hospital about when he gets chest pains, It is very frustrating and I can't force anything on him; his doctors can stress to me all they want but I have no control over his actions - you can't force a horse to drink - I think that's the saying -.-

So I really feel for you and really hope it gets better soon. Though I can totally sympathize with you, I can't imagine being in the situation you're in and am honestly very impressed you've gotten to this point.

It's not without it's challenges but I appreciate your sentiment. At least, I have a new job to keep me busy and help save up for when the worst happens.

07-28-2017, 11:28 PM
Commended. My dad has alzheimer's & it's already being such a problem for us. Hope you can get through your problems as well :)

01-26-2018, 04:13 PM
I am going to get really personal and share a lot in a separate post because I think it is important that you feel that you are not alone in dealing with a family with health issues.
I myself suffer from chronic illness, both my mother and brother have chronic illness, and I have experienced many family deaths due to illness.

These experience have lead me to my professional career in nutrition as a personal chef working with a nutrition company founded and lead by doctors.
I also have a lot of experience working with children.

In my experience, many mental, mood, and behavior disorders are food and nutrition related. My work and life experiences have also lead me to the science based conclusion that all illness and disease is in fact degenerative disease from micro nutrient deficiencies (many of which being mineral deficiencies)

01-26-2018, 04:16 PM
I have had a lifetime of health issues and chronic pain, have done countless blood tests, MRIs, and xrays, and have tried various muscle relaxers, pain pills, and an lyrica all before the age of 18. I never found any treatments for what my doctor had determined as fibromyalgia effective, and at the age of 17 I began to express to my doctor my desire to explore holistic means of treatment. At 18, we redid all of the testing to rule out lupus, RA, etc in order to confirm fibromyalgia, and then my Doctor asked if I had wanted to follow through with a diagnosis.
I told my doctor I did not want a diagnosis because I had a strong feeling that I was experiencing a food related illness and was determined to find a solution my doctor refused to aid in.
Before going to college, I was heavily interested in becoming a doctor and had taken measures to go into biology for my bachelor's.
However my first semester into college my desire to help people in a practical way was greater than the false cures big pharma offered in our modern medicine industry, so I made the decision to go to culinary school so I could practically apply the knowledge I had obtained into helping people make dietary changes for their health and enjoy the process.
Going to culinary school was a tough experience. I had started to make correlations between the food I was eating and the symptoms I was experiencing.
The quality of ingredients at culinary school were so bad, my symptoms skyrocketed. I could not miss work, so whenever I was sick, I would often habe to take a sick day at school. And by sick, I mean in so much pain my skin was on fire, my muscles weren't functioning well enough for me to move (stiffness, weakness, spasm, etc), and the brain fog made it impossible to think.
After I graduated culinary school, I began an elimination diet which took about a year. In that time I had figured out that a vegan paleo autoimmune diet (if you are wondering what that is, feel free to ask and I can make a separate post) allowed me optimum function, and minimal bad days.
Even with a high raw diet with minimal exposures to protein such as gluten and lectin, I was still experiencing symptons. I had tried various micronutrient supplements from stores and found none very effective, so just turned to establishing relationships with farmers at markets.
Through a divine appointment I met a group of people living in Houston Texas who were doing work with Dr. Wallach, Dr. Glidden, Dr. Javia, and pharmacist Ben Fuchs who focus on micronutrients, epigenetics, and disease.
My dear friend Dylon suggested many times for me to try their nutrient therapy and stubbornly refused.
Some time later we end up being roommates, and one morning as I was groggily making my way to the kitchen, I collapsed in the hallway.
Yeah....it was one of my bad days.
Dylon asked if I was alright, I replied, "Yes," and without another word he came over to me with a glass of BTT in his hand. This time I did not turn away the supplements.
I sat on the floor, drank the glass of liquid micronutrients, and made my way back to my room.
At the time my diet was impeccable, and I could feel the nutrients taking effect. I has replenished some of the nutrients my body so desperately needed in order to function.
Skipping ahead 6 months, I had now been on Dr. Wallach's nutritional therapy consistantly and I began to feel like a normal person.
I had spent YEARS working with gyms and athletes and has never once considered hitting the weight room because because this time of my life, if I had worked out more than a yoga session or a walk I would spend 3 days in agony recovering.
I still have symptoms from my deficiency disease...but nothing compared to my past...or the symptoms my mother experiences.

My mother also was chronically ill throughout my life.
When a woman becomes pregnant, one of two things happen:
1) the baby comes out seemingly healthy and the mother is depleted of her nutrients
2) the baby has birth defects or illness.
My mother has always experienced health issues such as endometriosis and depression.
After her 3rd pregnancy, when i was 7, my mother's body was left so deficient she had to get a historectomy to stop her symptoms (surgery is always an extreme measure)
Shortly after my mother developed sciatica and fibromyalgia.
Helpless and desperate to rid herself of symptoms...my mother quickly fell into the pharmaceutical trap. Her doctor had her on 13 medications at one point.
If she wasn't suffering from her illness, she was suffering from all of the side effects of the pills hiding her symptoms with more symptoms.
eventually my mother weined off of those medications and found a medication routine that worked with 4 medications.
in the past few years my mother started to show extreme signs of allergic reactions to her medications and could no longer take many formerly effective medications.
Her body continued to be depleted of nutrients over the years and she developed sciatica once again, had bulging disks in her spine, and stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column).
None of her doctors suggested nutritional therapy.
Just more stays, MRIs, surgeries, and pills.
And a life of being bed ridden in her early 40's
My mother's spinal surgery was successful in the sense that she wasn't paralysed, but still only able to be active for no more than 2 hours a day because of excruciating pain.
My father and I has been pushing holistic treatment for a while now, and finally she decided it was time.
When she approached her doctor with, "I no longer want to be on medication and I need help exploring other means of treatment," her doctor replied with, "I can no longer help you."
Over the course of 6 to 8 months my mom has derived off of her pain medications, blood pressure medicine, and antidepressants in exchange for plant based relief.
Driven by my own experiences I have made it my career to help people in their recovery and lifestyle change through nutritional therapy and diet under the very same doctors who helped me and am preparing to spend several weeks with my mother for her rehabilitation.

01-29-2018, 04:05 PM
@Macrobiotic - wow, you really been through a lot. I'm glad in the end, you got things figured out to where your symptoms aren't as bad and you are able to help your mother. I'm going to be updating my post later in the week regarding my family illness issues involving my dad, which have not improved.
If I had to guess at your diet, there's probably lots of veggies and if it's vegan, meat like substitutes. You'll have to tell me more about it in another post.
Thanks for your words in your first post.