I am sure I am not alone when I say that the past few weeks have felt like a few years. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of those who have lost someone to this new viral threat, and the fear felt by those who have been diagnosed or who love someone who has been diagnosed.
As we all hunker down as best we can for the greater good, several concerns float through my mind, like stones skipping on water. I am sure this is true for all of us who are caregivers. We may be pushing through the laundr
I know it’s happened to all of us at some point during our experience as caregivers: the “self-care” lecture. Eat a vegetable! Take a stroll! Get to the gym, even for fifteen minutes! Get a pedicure!
And on, and on, and on…
How do these conversations make you feel?
I confess that they frustrated me immensely in the earliest days and weeks after my mom’s diagnosis. I was actively offended any time that someone had the audacity to suggest that anything was more important or more tim
In my time as a caregiver for my parents, there is one theme that haunts every interaction and every decision: the status of the relationship between the folks having the conversation.
(Well, duh, Danielle, because that theme determines most things in life, doesn’t it?)
(Sure, Inner Monologue, you are correct, but I’m the one writing this, so shush!)
Where was I?
I know there are stacks and stacks of scholarly works written on the complex n
Happy Monday, my friends!
(Yeah, I know, it’s weird, I said “Happy” Monday…it’s not necessarily an oxymoron…hear me out!)
I was always the kid who enjoyed the first day of school. How about you? The first day of vacation was pretty great, too!
There is great power in “firsts.” We are almost supernaturally (or superstitiously!) drawn to the gravitas of beginnings.
I remember very clearly making a circle of hands around my mother when she began her first treatment: my dad, some
“You know, I heard that green tea/apricot pits/jogging/apple cider vinegar/kale/broccoli/mustard greens/fresh avocados/yoga/this miracle powder/oil/salve/etc., etc., etc. will cure your mom’s cancer. You really need to try it. It worked for my cousin’s friend’s stepmom’s brother. Let me get you the information!”
If you have ever had a loved one with cancer, you’ve heard these offers. You know exactly how they sound. The personal heroism of a friend or neighbor or acquaintance or coworker,
"Hindsight is 20/20!"
"You know, in retrospect..."
"Looking back now, I'd..."
"If I had it all to do over again..."
"If I had known then what I know now..."
Chances are, if you're a caregiver, you're guilty of saying at least one of these catchphrases at least a little bit often.
I know I am. A LOT a bit often!
Why is that?
Why is it that we never feel prepared to be a caregiver, and always feel like a little of our well-earned wisdom would have bee
Sometimes, HOPE is a kitten.
Okay, okay, sure, I know, that sounds a little weird. And a little bit like a desperate attempt to pass a poetry exam.
Let me explain…
Hope is strong and confident. Hope can be fickle. Hope can be hard to corral, name, and predict.
Hope can be ephemeral, and hope is also everlasting.
Hope can be full of contradictions. Hope can take many forms, directions, shapes, and sizes.
You’ve heard the expression “herding cats?”
Hope is one th
Part 3: Resources
One word that is perhaps overused in the professional cancer services field is a word that is also overused in many other humanitarian fields: “resource.” Sometimes, it seems like a catch-all. What do you guys offer? We offer resources! Hm.
What does “resource” mean to you?
To me, it means something that is drawn from by someone in need of help. Something that is stocked and available to give concrete assistance in a particular situation, and is either infinite i
Part 2: Resets
The beauty of the Sunday afternoon chores, in addition to creating a zen moment before winding up for the assaults of phone calls and emails and appointments that can come between 9am Monday and 5pm Friday, is that they serve as a sort of reset. A blessed, welcome reset. Whatever was undone from the week before is still undone (LOL!), but nobody died because of it. The cans of cat food that didn’t get moved from the kitchen counter to the bin in the pantry? Not lethal, it tur
Part 1: Routines
Are you a person who likes routines? Or are you a person who likes to play things by ear, deciding in the moment?
See: I had always thought I was the latter. I am not the most organized person in the world (sorry, family!), except in those moments when I absolutely have to be. So, it’s always seemed easier to me to make plans on the fly, at the last practicable moment.
Or, so I thought.
Funny thing about lung cancer: it’s a “canceller.”
Hello, my dear friends!
I. Have. Missed. You!
It is so tempting, in my relationship with caregiving, to take on blame. Blame myself for this or that. Plans didn’t go off accordingly? It’s my fault. Time got away from me without my control? Oh, that’s my fault, too. Sign me up!
Since my last post, our “best laid plans” were thrown out the window. Forcefully. To be totally real with you, my friends, I had wanted so badly to post about ALL THE HOPE in May. I wanted to fill your inbox
Hello, my friends!
I HOPE, wherever you are, that you are having a beautiful Spring!
I HOPE, whatever you are up against, that you are finding support and peace in your endeavors.
I HOPE, however you need, that you are finding the time to create room for yourself in your busy schedule.
I HOPE, above all, that you and yours are doing well.
Thanks to #LUNGevity, May is officially “Lung Cancer HOPE Month.” This particular awareness campaign places a much-needed focus on all
"Boy, what a week!"
...How many of you know that phrase by heart? All of you! (And not always starting with such an innocent word as "boy...")
Well, that's been my week. And I know it probably has been for you, too.
Just by way of illustration: I went to the grocery store a week ago. On the day of my mom's most recent treatment. Mom's treatment stays usually last about 6 hours, so the day is toast by the time we get home, and we are "pooped."
So, back to the groceries.
I. Just. N
"Why don't you join us?"
"Can you come? Want to go?"
"I'll check my schedule."
"I will try..."
"I can't. Thanks, though! Maybe next time!"
Doesn't this sound like the common Caregiver script?
I know it does in our house.
Invitations turned down and plans not made.
The secret is:
Even if I thought I could go to the event, I wouldn't want to.
Even when I think the potential plans are logistically possible, I always feel as though I have incre
Welcome! Settle in. Get comfortable.
If you’ve joined us here, lung cancer has touched the life of someone you love, and has thereby touched your life as well. I am sorry.
Well: I am sorry you are going through this, for sure, but: I am so glad you have found us here. Excited, even. You have found a new family, and a new wealth of resources. You will not be alone in this (insert your preferred word: some say “fight,” some say “journey,” I say “process”)!
A few words about me, so