What is a Caregiver?Posted: October 23, 2013
There are a myriad of definitions for “caregiver.” I would like to share a little about my caregiver after I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in Sept. 2012. I was in a difficult position because the communist cancer cells had escaped and spread to all lymph nodes on the left side, lungs and, one spot on my liver. Having shared that background, please let me introduce my caregiver — my husband person.
Here are a couple of examples of the things my caregiver gave to me …
Lessons in fighting
My caregiver has had to fight to survive on several occasions and I had never had to do that. There were only two occasions when he really ‘busted my chops.’ The first was shortly before beginning chemo. I was sitting on the couch, shoulders rounded, sad-looking – you know, kind of like the proverbial lump. He spoke very forcefully and basically ordered me to ‘sit up, throw your shoulders back and, hold your head high.’ I did what he said and it worked.
Second example was when I went in for my 4th treatment and after the blood work, it was discovered that my red cell count was in the dumper. I was sitting in the recliner dealie for treatment and right as the nurse walked away from telling me, I started to slump in my chair and cry out of frustration. In that same forceful (and loud) voice, my caregiver said, ‘sit up, hold your head high and find out what the next steps are.’ I sat up, put my head up and when the nurse returned I found out I needed 2 units of blood. Got it and got the 4th treatment as a result.
A new mindset
I was not able to deal with the diagnosis because of the word “cancer.” It was so depressing. I felt doomed for a time. I had even expressed that perhaps I would not do anything about it. Again, prior to my first chemo treatment I was lying down in bed and my caregiver came in to chat. I looked up at one point and said, ‘but I have never been really sick my whole life.’ He looked me straight in the eye and said, “You aren’t sick now. You have cancer.” Big revelation to yours truly.
From that statement I realized that I may not be able to fight cancer, but I could fight and kill cancer cells. And that was my approach. I was a 4 bagger. The 3rd and 4th contained the good schtuff. When they were started, I would talk to the schtuff as it was starting into my system and order my sword yielding samurai to kill cancer cells! (My caregiver would send in marksmen.)
Gratitude to Caregivers
My husband person became very tired. He still worked full-time (quite a blessing for him to get out of the house). He did so much of the housework because, frankly, I was asleep for most of the day and night the first week after treatment. And I wasn’t very perky at all the rest of the time.
I cannot say too much about caregivers. From my perspective, they appear at times to be almost ignored. Most folks, naturally, are focused on the patient.
So to my caregiver and caregivers everywhere … thank you. You are indispensable to your loved ones.
Note: This is the first in a series of posts about my adventure.
I welcome all your comments and questions. If not comfortable answering a Q, I will say so.
And finally, I do not have full memory from the time I started chemo to about a month after the 6th one (that was February of this year). Some of what I post will be based upon input from my caregiver over the last 7 months.
Thanx for visiting.