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Friends Are Caregivers Too / by Katie Brown

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Friends Are Caregivers Too

January 30th, 2012 - by Katie Brown

http://blog.lungevity.org/2012/01/30/fr ... ivers-too/

In 2009 after having had cold-like symptoms and being out of breath, Julie Guarducci decided to see her doctor. An avid runner, she knew something was wrong. Finally in 2010 she was given a CT scan and an eventual diagnosis of stage IIIa non-small cell squamous cell carcinoma. After an unsuccessful thorocotomy, she began chemotherapy and radiation.

Julie was still receiving radiation when she started running again. She’s sure her radiation oncologist wouldn’t have approved but for many runners the motto “listen to your body” is one to live by and Julie thought her body knew best. Her body said “run” so she ran! She couldn’t get to one mile for about 2 weeks but gradually she increased her distance and in May 2011 she ran her first 1/2 marathon. She wanted to finish in 3 hours and she did it in 3:06 to be exact!

Two years later, Julie is still cancer free. One of the many things she is grateful to in contributing to her survivor ship is her friendship with Rene Rodriguez.

Recently LUNGevity held a caregiver contest where people from across the nation nominated their caregivers. Lung cancer caregivers willingly and selflessly devote their time to care for their loved ones battling lung cancer, while often neglecting themselves in the process.

While we were only able to award one prize, we wanted to take the time to honor all the lung cancer caregivers who were brought to our attention and with Julie’s permission we are re-posting her nomination of Rene.

When I moved to TX I had no family or friends, it was just me. I became friendly and eventually friends with a co-worker, Rene R. That was 9 years ago. Today he’s my best friend. This is what best friends do for you when you’re sick. Rene was with me every step of the way from diagnosis, through surgery and treatment and finally when I was told ‘there is no evidence of cancer at this time’.

He didn’t let anything get in the way of being there for me, not even sleep. You see, Rene works night shift, 6am-6pm so he would get out of work, drive 30 minutes and pick me up, drive another 30-40 minutes to the hospital then sit around (he didn’t sleep because he snored too loud) for several hours while I received my round of chemo for the day and received my radiation treatment. He did this for 2 rounds, 6 days each, and then continued to drive me back and forth to the hospital for the remainder of my radiation treatments.

Now I know family will do whatever is needed to help care for sick family members but for a friend to do what Rene did … there are no words and thank you doesn’t seem to be enough.

From me and my family, THANK YOU Rene! Without you to help I don’t know what I would have done.

Julie’s BF and incredible caregiver, Rene R.

We think Rene is an incredible lung cancer caregiver too!

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