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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 inboxes with notifications that there was a new post here every day. I wanted to fill your “Caregiver Quiver” (ooooh, I like that, I’m gonna use that!) with so many HOPE arrows that you would have a weapon to combat every moment of hopelessness. After all, May was Lung Cancer Hope Month (thanks to LUNGevity!). That’s huge. For a diagnosis that used to be like a flipped hourglass, any dose of HOPE can make the difference between having or losing the will to fight. We who spend every day in the LC community know there is SO MUCH HOPE, and yet Society At Large still sees the hourglass. So: I had wanted so badly to fill your May with links and resources and information on the newest and best stories and breakthroughs and answers. That was my “best laid plan.” But then, my dad ended up in the hospital for the entire month of May. My mom is my LC patient, but my dad has his own chronic health issues that require frequent hospital stays. You know the darndest thing about hospital stays? They aren’t always marked out in my day-planner! Shoot. Go figure! So. There went May. And I have been tossing and turning and being grumpy and angsty about letting you guys down. I went and pulled the tweets from our last #LCCaregiver twitter chat, when we talked about HOPE and how we could spread hope and share hope and how we as caregivers could encourage our loved ones to have ALL THE HOPE. I was in a real funk, guys. I really felt like I had lost the chance to really make Lung Cancer Hope Month “count.” Then, it hit me… Do you remember what we talked about in that chat? Because I do, and I will NEVER, ever forget it. We talked about HOPE, and sources of hope, and we said: this community is our source of hope. This group of souls going through the same thing is our source of hope. We feel hopeful by being there for each other, thick and thin. And my angsty funk? My trying to stick to plans? That was all making me feel hopeLESS. I was acting and talking like a person who felt hopeLESS. No more. I reject that trap. You are my family, and I am yours. I don’t need deadlines and set schedules to be there for you, and you don’t need that to be there for me! The most relieved I have felt along this entire walk with lung cancer have been the times when I let go of trying to keep to an ironclad schedule, and have instead followed my gut and allowed myself to really be present in the current moment and what the moment needed. I want to be present for you, and I know you are present for me. We are all in this together. Now, don’t get me wrong: I DO want to catch up and write some posts about ASCO (the major oncology conference that just took place in Chicago); about recent drug approvals; about ways caregivers can find peace. And I will. But I also know I won’t be letting you down. Let’s chat! TONIGHT (Wednesday) at 8pm ET, let’s chat about the support network you keep around you. Let’s talk about what you need, where you feel most confident and least confident, and what you can do to help your support system help YOU. This is an ongoing conversation, believe me; let’s all grab our tea and put on our slippers and come together to follow #LCCaregiver tonight. Questions are below. I hope to “see” you there! Bring a friend; all are welcome. Love always, Danielle #LCCaregiver Twitter chat, tonight (Wednesday) at 8:00PM ET. Follow #LCCaregiver on Twitter to participate! T1: Who do you consider your “support system?” T2: What are the strengths in your support system? T3: What are the gaps or weaknesses in your support system? T4: What has been the hardest thing to ask someone? What kind of help is hard to find? T5: Would you rather people ask what you need, or just volunteer specific help? T6: What resources or tools would you like to have in your Caregiver Quiver? (sorry, can’t help it, I really love that phrase now) (If you’ve never used the LUNGevity Navigator App, just wait: I’ll tell you about it tonight!) T7: Are there local resources for caregivers where you live? What local resources would be cool to create? T8: What can the nonprofit orgs like LUNGevity do for you? (have you checked out LUNGevity’s awesome caregiver resource center?!) T9: What can your fellow caregivers best do to support you from afar?