Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

An Update - My Son is Doing Better, The Rest of My Life is Falling Apart


#1

I haven’t been on the site for awhile, but thought I’d update you guys.

My son is still on the Clozapine - 200 mg/day - and he seems to be holding stable or showing those tiny, gradual improvements everyone talks about. He still has some delusions of grandeur that seem to be fixed but mild enough to live with. No new ones thankfully.

He has gained a lot of weight, but doesn’t seem too bothered about it. We talk about healthier food & he does try with that, but he’s not getting much exercise. Overall, he’s doing really good though.

The rest of my life is not so great.
My father in law passed away from cancer & COPD last month. Not a huge deal since it was expected, but it kind of threw my husband for a loop - and he ended up getting a DUI so we have that to deal with. No one was hurt, he wasn’t driving, and it’s a long complicated story.

I started having a weird breakout from my glasses - only where the plastic touches. So, I figured I’d get contacts again & let my skin heal. No contacts for me - I have early-age cataracts. In both eyes.

The biggest kicker for all of us is we found out our favorite dog, who’s only 6, has cancer - and that it’s probably too late to do anything other than treat him enough to try to keep it contained & get him to eat. Just 6 weeks ago, the vet was telling us he needed to lose weight - and now, we’re medicating him in the hopes he’ll eat something.

It took me many years, but I got over grieving for my son’s lost future - I haven’t grieved over anything since then, and thought I maybe never would. Now, I’m heartbroken over our dog. Every time I look at a healthy dog, I can’t help but think why him - out of all dogs, why this one?

I’m starting to feel like one of those old people you meet that only talks about their aches & pains, and bad things that have happened - but we just can’t catch a break lately.

My husband is starting to get back in touch with family members he hasn’t seen in years since his dad passed. It makes him feel better - which is a very good thing. But, now they keep sharing old photos on Facebook, and in every single one, he looks so happy. I knew him in a lot of them, so I know he was - and that makes me sad too.

So, maybe, after all these years of holding everything together, I’m about to lose it. And, I feel stupid that of all things, it’s the dog that’s pushed me over the edge. I’m not sure what’s next - maybe a plane’ll crash on top of the house or something. Nothing would surprise me.


#2

Weight gain is kind of typical with anti-psychotics. It’s probably not his fault, and likely has nothing to do with his diet. It just happens. That’s what happened to my brother. He went on anti-psychotics, and gained lots of weight. After a while, it seemed like his body kind of adapted to it. Sometimes, after extreme trauma, all it takes is one little thing to push you over the edge. It sounds like you’ve had lots of little things lately (some of them, not so little). Other people on this forum have talked about how a dog has helped them keep things together. It sounds strange, but dogs seem to help people keep their own center. When everything else is going to shit, at least your dog still loves you. There’s a reason why they call dogs man’s (or woman’s) best friend.


#3

I’ve been wondering how things have been going for you. I’m so glad to hear that the meds are continuing to help your son, after all you went through this past year. That’s great news. :blush:

I’m so sorry to hear about all of the other misfortune and sadness you’ve had to deal with. What a terrible load.

I lost my beloved dog to cancer, just a few months ago. He was my constant companion, my ray of sunshine, always there for me when all hell was breaking loose with the other parts of my life. The pain was just awful. I didn’t wait. I started my search for a new furry friend within weeks. I will always always miss my little boy, but I love my new little girl. She was a rescue, but she actually rescued me :heart:

Time will heal. Peace.


#4

Dear @slw, Thank you for posting. I was wondering about you and your son.

I hope you catch a break soon:) Maybe just a little sunshine someplace :sunny:

I’m sorry about your beloved dog.


#5

That’s the other thing I was going to suggest. Getting a new dog. I know it’s probably a hard thing to consider. Like you’re replacing someone you love, and who loves you back. But… maybe there’s a dog out there, just waiting for you? I often say dogs are smarter than people. Maybe there’s a really smart dog who can help you heal? Or a really dumb dog who can at least make you laugh. Either way. It seems like a dog is bit of normal in a not-so-normal world. You just recently lost that. No wonder you feel like you’re losing it. If your dog helped you feel sane, maybe there was a reason for that? It’s not crazy. It’s not stupid. It’s not silly. It’s a friend.


#6

My husband says he’s not going to get another dog he’ll get attached to like this one, but I plan on going to get him a new puppy as soon as I can find a similar one.

I’ve already got feelers out in our network of beagle owners for a puppy similar to Jack when the time comes.

If he won’t have the puppy (I know he will), I’ll have no problem finding someone in my husband’s beagle club to take him.

I’d gladly do a rescue, but Jack is both a pet and my husband’s best hunting dog. His colors are rare too, so it’ll be a hard find. It’s funny though - he was the last puppy in a litter. Kind of a left over that no one wanted. But, he turned out to be an awesome dog that we wouldn’t trade for anything.


#7

You know the saying…the straw that broke the camels back? It was something really small. I think it is that way with us. We expend so much energy dealing with the effects of the illness on the family and learn to handle it --then bam–something far less stressful (not that losing a pet is not stressful, but in terms of what we deal with day in and day out, it is) just breaks us.
And even when a parent it expected to die, you still have to grieve.

You are not stupid, you are exhausted. Take a breather and give yourself a break!


#8

I’m so sorry. It sounds like you guys have been through a lot lately. As for the dog I can totally relate. My father was caregiver to my mom who had Parkinson’s. He got cancer and went in the hospital but contacted an infection and was hospitalized for almost a year. Since his body wouldn’t heal he could only eat ice chips for months on end and he slowly for thinner and thinner until he was just a shell of a person. He was with us in his mind and was very brave but it took a toll on the whole family. He finally had another surgery and died soon after.
I thought I had grieved until my sweet dog died a few months after. I couldn’t go to work or do anything. The grief hit me like a freight train. Our pets are part of our families and I totally understand your grief. We are nursing our old dog now and doing the same thing you are. she doesn’t have long I’m afraid. Her body is worn out and she is too old to have surgery.
I am glad your husband is reconnecting with family.
My husband isn’t doing very well right now. He isn’t sleeping well and is getting migraines back.
I’m still trying to walk in the morning a few times a week. I hope you can find something to give you some peace.


#9

Dogs are such an important and vital part of who we are so you should not feel silly over this; they are just as important as humans in my mind. Do what feels right and consider another companion when you are ready. We all go through different seasons in life and having someone to love along the way is what allows us to keep going. I was amazed at the relationship that I built with my two dogs. I never had dogs up until a few years ago and what a joy they are in my life. My mom has Schizophrenia and coming home to them helps ease the stress of the day and the stress of life. Sending all the best in your search and remember to take one day at a time. It seems all so trivial but it’s a statement (taking one day at a time) that can move mountains. I recently learned how to adopt this concept and it’s been working well for me over the past few weeks.


#10

I keep writing this, then deleting it. I think it’s a silly post, and I don’t really know what bearing it could have with what you’re going through… I grew up on a farm, and we had barn cats. One day, one of our barn cats gave birth to six kittens. Then the mother cat died. We nursed the kittens with an eyedropper, trying to save them. But only one kitten survived. The runt of the litter. She was the smallest, weakest kitten on the planet; but she was the only one who survived. If any of the kittens should have died, it was her. But she was the only one who made it. She grew up to have baby kittens of her own. I don’t know if there’s a moral to that story. Don’t give up on the runt? Don’t give up, when everyone else around you is dying? Anyway, that’s what happened.


#11

@slw And here I had been hoping that we weren’t hearing from you because your next post was going to say meds had turned your life into sunshine and rainbows. Well, I have to say, it was a really bright spot for my day each time I thought about that possibility for you the last couple of weeks.

Do you think that since you had to hold the sky up for so long, pretty much singlehandedly, for your son and now that things are looking so much better for him that maybe the serious illness of a beloved dog has presented a chance to take a break from being so strong all the time? Go ahead and feel some pain, dogs are worth it.

I am sorry for the loss of your father-in-law. Before you just didn’t have any time to spend worrying about your husband. Now with your son doing better, maybe the two of you can find more time for each other.

Our dogs are such an important part of our lives, I really wish they lived longer. Seems like I have buried too many best friends.


#12

Slw:

!

Sending love from our family’s fat beagle


#13

So sorry, the dog part is most closer to my heart, just being truthful here.
You have been through so so much with your son, and that too, all your energy, Now more energy is required from you and you are tired from giving so much.

Sorry about your eyes too, maybe we are so preoccupied with our family members we really put ourselves at the back of the line . Now though you are able to move up the line a bit,

It shows us here that in a strange way things are so much better with your son .
I’m really sorry about your husband story too,
My dog is 6 too, and yes it’s tough for you , your dog is needed, wanted and loved and why your dog at this young age.
Bless you, I’m thinking of you. Facebook can be good and bad at times, I used to feel bad when my friends with kids same age , or even those kids (I’m friends with) posted really great nights out, holidays , pictures etc.

Hang in there so,pleased your son is continually improving .
Ps I love beagles, I have an English cocker spaniel and he came into our lives in 2012, I believe he was sent to help us for what was coming on the following few years.


#14

It’s not that I’m tired so much - it’s that no matter what we give, how much we spend, what we do, it’s all going to work out the same way. All we can hope for is some more time with him and to be able to extend his quality of life.


#15

It’s a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that very good message of hope today.


#16

i hope you find some comfort in reaching out on this site. There are many terrific contributors who are supportive. It sounds like you are hitting a wall and it’s time to call in the troops. May you thoroughly treasure your time with your beloved pet and may you get your daily long, holding hugs from those who love and see YOU.


#17

Slw, this is my second response but I just read this and LOL
"maybe a plane’ll crash on top of the house or something. Nothing would surprise me."

You keep that sense of humor and share it with the world. We need you so much. My husband has cataracts also and is going to get them fixed this winter. When are you going to have your operation?

Oh, and about that plane. My brother works for an airline and he told me that if you ever find a part of an airplane don’t go to the news but call the airlines and there’s big money in there for you. Every piece of a plane as a bar code on it. Just sayin


#18

I seem to be able to make a twisted joke no matter what - a lot of people don’t get it, but that’s OK too.

Things are better today. They’ve been trying to treat his nausea to get him to eat & only just added pain meds on Friday.
Last night, I staggered his medication (he’s on soooo many pills. 7 different drugs, 13 pills a day) and saw that his appetite came back after the pain meds had an appropriate time to kick in.

So, now I’m staying ahead of the pain for him & he’s more like his normal self. They allow him 1/2 to 1 pill every 8 to 12 hours. I didn’t want to over-medicate him since some of the other ones cause drowsiness in addition to the pain pills, but now that he’s getting a full pill about every 8 hours, he’s doing much better.

I can’t tell you how many times I cried over him yesterday. First, he was oversedated and it was like he was already leaving us when you looked in his little eyes. Then, I’d take him for a walk & he usually loves it. But, once, he jumped on the couch to go to sleep with the leash on and the other time he turned around to come home after about 5 minutes.

Today, he walked for 30 minutes with me ( a lot of it was spent sniffing) and then refused to come in the house. When I went to put him in the yard, he tried to drag me back to the road.

It’s amazing how big of a difference taking care of the actual problem he’s having right now made.

Of course, I know that at some point what he’s taking now will no longer be enough. And, his cancer drug (Palladia) only borrows some time if it works - it will stop the tumors from growing for awhile, maybe even get some shrinkage, and when it starts up again, it will be faster growing than ever.

But, today has been a good day and I’ll take it. At least my son’s illness has taught me that - always be thankful for the good days, even if you can’t forget that a bad one is lurking behind a corner.


#19

I took a ton of pictures of my furry boy and I together during our last weeks/days together. Now, I cry when I see those pics (it’s only been a few months, so I’m still grieving), but I’m sooooo glad I have them. Just something to consider…

Enjoy your beagle baby. Hugs.


#20

I understand why you now feel like you are beginning to crack under the pressure. You have been on high alert for so long that you have no reserve left. Because your son and husband are doing relatively well, you are able to actually grieve and let go in dealing with your dog’s cancer. It is now safe for you to let go of the need you feel to hold it together for everyone else, and to actually catch your breath for a moment. Then your sweet dog has a savage cancer, and it is finally safe for you to feel again. Now is the time for you to care for you. Love yourself and attend to your own needs for a change. Let you become your primary focus. Heal, regain your strength, energy, and your love of self and life. Breathe. Feel the anguish instead of burying it. Let it wash over you. Know that you are safe and can handle it. Rejoice in every positive thing in your life. Find what is beautiful and good and focus on those things. Look back and see what you have been through and survived. Rejoice in the wonder that is you.