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DanielleP last won the day on July 15 2019

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  1. 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 laundry or the dishes or the Spring cleaning while we are experiencing this odd calendar-clearing, but the
  2. Thank YOU, my friend! UGH, I am so sorry for the texts and the comments from the aunt brigade. I totally get it, and I know everyone here totally totally understands. Don't you just love when folks' idea of help is help that they can give on their schedule and with their own priorities and preferences? I'm especially sorry that your aunt's particular sort of self-care is harmful, and that you have to witness that on top of everything else you are dealing with. Thank you for the sense of perspective: I have often come close to thinking that one advantage of not having much local
  3. 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 time-sensitive than navigating the maze of new information that we were tossed into. I just knew that a
  4. 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? Oh, right. Relationships. I know there are stacks and stacks of scholarly works written on the complex navigation of relationships in a caregiving framework, and I am not qualified to weigh in on that ong
  5. 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 close friends, the nurses at the infusion center. Some of us prayed, some of us stood silent, some
  6. Beautifully said (as always!), my friend. Amen. Absolutely. Unfortunately, for my part, I never have the time or energy to lay out the proofs or disputes as thoroughly as I wish to or should. The pivot was, at the end of the day, an almost selfish solution, because it only leads to determining whether the person can be of use for my purposes or my mom's purposes, but it does not solve the root issue, which is absolutely the more important problem.
  7. “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, offered bravely to your face, can feel so affrontive and offensive. This is especially true when med
  8. "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 been useful at the beginning of our experience? Here's what I think: our loved one's diagno
  9. 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 thing that cannot be herded. It is inspired, it cannot be forced, and it is felt differently by differ
  10. Thank you so much, Tom! Means quite a lot coming from you. Thank you for all of your wisdom that you share here and elsewhere with the community!
  11. 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 in itself, or can be replenished. A replenishable replenisher, if you will! When I see fell
  12. Steff, Oh, my friend! Thank you for your kind words. Thank you so much for commenting and venting! I feel you. I love how you say "melt." That's such a perfect word. And I feel the exact same way when people tell me to take care of myself. I know they mean well, and I know it's healthy, but...you know. You get it! Please reach out to me ANY time. The beauty of us understanding what each other are going through is that we can BE there for each other! Sending you SO much love, girlfriend!!!
  13. Thank-you so much, my friend! That means the world, coming from you. I wouldn't exactly say you patients have it "easy!" It's so strange how it's all a dance of different responsibilities and different sacrifices. Thank-you so much for your kind words. Right back atcha. DP
  14. 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 turns out. I didn’t have it in me, Wednesday evening, to move those cans to the bin. I just didn’t. One
  15. 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.” A what? A canceller. Picture the big, important businessperson of cliché-fame telling her assistant to canc
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