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Thoughts on Caregivers, Connections, and Setting (Helpful) New Year’s Resolutions!


DanielleP

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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 you know who you’re “talking” to: I’m 29, and I’m a full-time caregiver for my parents. My awesome mama was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC in March of 2015, and has been on an immunotherapy (PD-L1) clinical trial ever since. My awesome papa has other serious health issues, so we all hang out together, as a team, three stooges making the most fun we can (we’re good at that) and doing our best to keep the to-do lists at bay.

Ahhh, those to-do lists…

Ahem. I’m sorry. That’s a topic for another day!

I’m a Social Media Ambassador for LUNGevity (more info here), and a volunteer for other projects of LUNGevity and for various other lung cancer organizations. I am a full-time advocate for better lung cancer care, research, and treatment. You can find me on Twitter @Actorielle, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Actorielle or at danielleremkuspardue.com.

Most importantly: I’m invested in YOU, in US, and in what it means to be a “Caregiver.”

I have no particularly special training, and no specialized skill set for the tasks and responsibilities of “caregiving.” Here’s the secret: none of us do. We all learn by doing. We learn as we are called upon to fulfill needs. Bridging gaps between an uncompleted chore, an unshopped grocery trip, and an unresearched new treatment. We all tend to launch (or, rather, be launched) into this lung cancer world, with differing levels of healthcare experience, and all grasping for every bit of credible information we can find. Every bit of comfort, reassurance, honesty, and…help.

That’s just it. We all begin this process needing all the help we can get. Your loved one, your patient, has his or her medical team, and has you. You, in turn, can have us. This. LUNGevity’s resources for Caregivers (start here) are vast, and practical, and vetted. You can find everything from peer-to-peer mentoring, to message boards, to an individualized app that organizes your specific lung cancer experience. However: amongst all these tools, where does that leave you, the person of the Caregiver? Where can you feel…Connected?

Here.  In addition to your family and friends and extended support network, join us here!

LUNGevity is greeting 2017 by undertaking several exciting new endeavors, including this one: a new initiative to blog and chat specifically for the Caregiver audience. It’s almost like a New Year’s Resolution!

As we explore this New Year’s Resolution together, you and I and LUNGevity, we will consider a different topic every month. I will introduce the topic here, on the blog, for your perusal. The following week, LUNGevity and I will host a chat over on Twitter, so that everyone (you, me, your family, your support network, and our entire community of fellow Caregivers) can come together to discuss, vent, learn, and grow.    

After each chat, I’ll review our conversations and post a de-briefing blog post. Where are we? What do we know now that we didn’t before? What do we need? Where can we go from here?

So: it is my great honor to invite you to our inaugural #LCCaregiver Twitter chat of 2017, to be held next week, on Wednesday, February 1st at 8pm EST: “New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers.”

What do YOU want to say? What are YOU working on in your relationship with yourself as a Caregiver, and in your relationship with your loved one? If you have been a Caregiver for a while, what would you like to improve or change? If you are new to this role, what do you need in order to feel comfortable?

As for me, I’m still working on what that title entails. I think we all are. In fact, that one word means something different for every survivor, every family, every household, every situation. “Caregiver.” Care partner, carer, caretaker?

For me: daughter, friend, and advocate.

Join me as we walk this road together.

I am so excited to learn from you.

Love and thanks,

Danielle

LCCaregiver 020117 graphic.png

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