Care givers in the battle…

I had the privilege to be a part of a colon cancer retreat for patients and their care givers over the weekend.

These are brave couples.  The patients are fighting off their advanced disease and their care givers are searching for ways to help in that fight.

I listened to the care givers talk about their fears and worries.  One loving husband has taken on many household duties, but it sounded like cooking for his wife was one of his biggest challenges.  He knows how important good nutrition is in the cancer battle and he was looking for ways that would help her keep an appetite and stay strong during treatment.

One of the wives talked about how her husband has decided he just wasn't going to admit to himself that he even has cancer.  He continues to do everything he did before diagnosis.  He finally agreed to get a will written and that happened only after constant pleading.  She is beside herself wondering how she can be a care giver, if he doesn't want to be cared for.

And then there was a women who, with tears in her eyes, spoke about the fact that she has no control of this crisis in her life.  She can't fix what has happened to her husband and she's always been able to fix most things....but not this.

Any of these sound familiar?  My guess is YES.

Care giving comes after the words "You have cancer."  I've never seen a "How to..." tool kit sitting on a shelf in a hardware store.  Shopping malls don't have "Care giver kiosks" with hand-outs available on a busy weekend.

We learn it as we go and if we're lucky enough to get some hints from someone who has walked that road ahead of us, all the better.

Care givers are warriors too.  They just wear different uniforms.

 

 

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Al October 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

All of the caregivers here could write the How To Be a Caregiver book. All of the steps and suggestions would be so helpful for someone new to caregiving. But beyond the obvious steps, as each of you did, you had to determine what really worked for you in your circumstances. Sometimes even the trial and error method was not successful in spite of your best attempts. While I know that caregiving is alot about science, it is the art of making everything work together for your loved one that leads to the best outcome.

Caregivers are angels in my book. I live with one. Now in her time of great need, I hope that I can measure up....the bar is very high. I am a newbie but I also have the vision in my minds eye as to how she cared for me.

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Judie October 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm

We all know that we as patients would do almost anything rather than give our loved ones the title of caregiver. And yet - and I will say this until I no longer can - we patients would be nowhere without our caregivers. The love they give and the adaptability that they need are bottomless and needed and so appreciated! "Thank you" is so insufficient, yet the best our language has to offer. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all caregivers!

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sasha October 16, 2013 at 7:51 am

Everything sounds so very familiar Laurie. Even though we don't suffer the physical pain from the disease , the emotional pain is so overwhelming that the pain can actually become physical at times........at least it did for me. We struggle through the entire process with our soul mate knowing that it's out of our hands and the only thing we can do for them is give them our love and support. Caregivers are very special people.............still lifting

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