After my cancer diagnosis, I didn’t realize how much I would need to depend on others. I was in for a surprise! When the appointments started and the treatments got intense, I relied so much on my caregivers. I will be so eternally grateful for them and all that they did for me during my battle with cancer.
What is a Caregiver?
A caregiver is the person who…
- changes his/her work schedule to drive you to chemo (my mom)
- ensures you take your anti-nausea medicine when you are so sick from chemo/surgery that you just don’t care
- ensures you eat a little protein when you can’t taste a thing because protein rebuilds cells
- sits hours upon hours at doctor’s appointments, chemo labs, hospitals and pharmacies
- prepares menus for your family when you can’t
- stands by when you got to the bathroom to make sure you don’t pass out or start heaving your guts up
- gives you Neupogen shots at home (in my case, my daughter became a nurse a few days before my diagnosis.)
- greets guest with a smile while you put your wig on
- thanks visitors for the food and explains that you just can’t see them today
- moves from out-of-state to stay with you as long as possible (mother-in-law)
- pretends to never see your bald head because you would just cry if you knew the truth (my wonderful husband)
- gives up softball because of the need at home, even though a scholarship is possible (my youngest daughter in her senior year)
- buys groceries because you are not allowed to go to the store, per Dr’s orders
- assumes the coordination of all school functions
- cleans the house, folds laundry, does dishes…when you can’t
- watches you go through ‘hell’ and tells you that you look great
- sprays Lysol in your office every day when you leave (Monica, Principal’s’ Secretary)
- makes pink curtains for your office (Monica, Principal’s’ Secretary)
- hold’s a Pink Celebration (RBW Staff)
Even if you aren’t in the position to need a caregiver, chances are: you know someone who is a caregiver for someone else. Whether they are caring for a spouse, a child or an aging parent, caregivers need to have someone to talk to when they feel overwhelmed. They need plenty of rest, a break now and then, to have an outlet or to join a support group, if possible.
A Few Ways to Care For Caregivers:
- if a husband is caring for his wife, his buddies need to take him out for a guys night, football game or just get away for a few hours
- if a wife is caring for her husband, her friends need to plan a girls night out
- the same if a parent is caring for a child…aunts, uncles, friends need to come over and take turns so that the primary caregiver can have a break
- if you know someone who is a caregiver, take them a meal from time to time or even a gift basket of ‘necessities’ such as paper towels, paper plates, etc. during these busy times-those items are so convenient.
Cancer has the ability to interrupt so many lives. Don’t let it. Don’t give away your power! Cancer does not have to control your life. The power in living comes when you keep your schedule and routine.
For more ways to care for the caregivers in your life, visit me on Facebook!