There we were, two cancer widows in a discussion about whether or not we let our cancer stricken husbands see us stressed when we were in full ‘care giver’ mode.
I was saying how I tried so hard not to let Leroy see me as a worried, tired, stressed-out care giver. My friend Michelle said she tried to do the same thing, but it kind of back-fired on her, when her husband got upset that she wasn’t sharing those kind of feelings. She certainly felt the same way I did, but didn’t want her husband worrying about her. Clearly she was able to hide her emotions, because he got the impression, she wasn’t feeling any of the pressure that comes with being a cancer care giver.
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of bad days where I cried, barely spoke because I was so sad and tired, but I tried to stay strong, not just for Leroy, but for me because it helped me hold on to the hope that I so desperately needed during his illness.
Pushing forward through our cancer crisis was the only way to go. I tried to stay educated about any new discovery in colon cancer. I tried to stay informed about Leroy’s treatments. I tried to offer encouragement on the days when he needed a little extra push and most importantly, I kept my eye on my patient; every waking hour. Cancer isn’t a constant disease, change happens fast and noticing that change quickly can mean the difference between life and crisis.
Care giving is no easy job. Hiding the stress of it all is part of the challenge.