The Stressful Role of Cancer Patient Caregivers

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POSTED: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 8:52am

UPDATED: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 9:14am

HIDALGO COUNTY - In Texas, nearly half a million people take on the role of caregiver in the life of the elderly or cancer patient. And many times, those unsung heroes get overlooked.

Gloria Cruz said she can remember feeling down and pulled in a million directions.

In June this year, she and her best friend Barbara Montalvo received some life changing news from the doctor.

"We showed up at his office and he gave us the news that she had breast cancer. It's like huh, and I took it harder than she did," said Gloria Cruz, Caregiver.

Montalvo didn't even need to ask, she knew Cruz would be at her side through it all.

"I knew that she would be there for me, and we had been through other things together. So I mean this was just going to be another journey," said Barbara Montalvo, Cancer Patient.

 Cruz took on the role of Montalvo's caregiver.

"So many roles. Being a parent, being a counselor, being a friend, being just so many roles, financier, financial advisor," said Cruz.

But all those jobs, started to take a toll on Cruz. Quickly the balancing of Cruz's life and Montalvo's needs became too much.

"I didn't want any help because I was taking it real bad. I got sick, I lost weight, I wasn't eating," said Cruz.

In fact research shows, caregivers are at a high risk for depression and anxiety, chronic stress related health problems and loss of income due to missed work.

Montalvo saw her best friend deteriorating and knew a change had to be made.

"We came to the point where we cried about it," said Cruz. "She started crying because she said, I can't, I am sick, I can't be worrying about you. I can't be taking care of you, because I see how you are not talking to me, you stopped talking to me. You are just sitting there, remember, you are in a daze."

They two women say in unison, "You are in a daze." They now chuckle, but now at the time, the feeling was serious.

So the two asked other friends to help out. They said it's amazing how much just a little time and freedom made the whole situation bearable. The key to it all was more help from friends.

"I can not imagine anybody else, ya know. Once I went through this, I could not imagine someone going through this alone," said Montalvo.

So if you

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