Care givers get really good at being advocates for our loved ones, when we become a part of cancer world.
Some of us keep a notebook from the first day of diagnosis to the last. It’s a journal of quotes from doctors, so we can recall conversations about care. Sometimes we make notes about medications, or schedules of treatment, even names of new nurses, specialists or social workers who join our team of experts.
It helps us advocate for our patient. It’s a crucial part of cancer care. Everyone needs an advocate. And as the care increases, we pride ourselves in taking control to make sure all the moving parts of the care process work in-sync. Control might sound like too strong a word, but believe me, it’s not. It’s the password that allows us to ask the hard questions; to inquire about doses of meds or why another MRI or CT scan is being ordered. Advocates earn their control.
And then the day comes when the word “hospice” floats across the room. The evaluation of the patients’ condition says there isn’t much more medicine can do and a different level of care is needed….end of life care. There are hospice nurses, hospice doctors, they explain what symptom relief is and what symptom management is all about. On the practical side, some one explains how insurance coverage handles hospice care. It’s all spelled-out in plain and simple terms.
But it’s not so simple.
My friend is facing this tonight. She’s been the leader of her husband’s team..the advocate. She’s taken a hard, heart-breaking job and made it her reason for living, while he has tried so hard to live.
Control will shift now, too. But I want her to know tonight, that this is not the time for giving-up. Each breath he takes now is just as important as the first one he took after being diagnosed. I want her to know she’s made the right decisions through-out this journey and she made the right one now.
I want her to know she’s not alone.