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For the new caregiver -


Snowflake

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Another re-run, posted for someone who was new and scared and who is now pretty regular - I'm sure a substitution can be made of the father figure referred to here to the loved one going through the whole "newness" thing:

Okay, TIME OUT! Find someplace quiet, someplace away from everyone else, someplace "comfortable" and face the monster head on. DO NOT RUN FROM IT, it will NOT go away. Take several deep breaths and take a look inside yourself. Find where your strength is and draw from it... Remember how horrible this day seems to you so you can put the rest of the days in perspective as the horror and shock wear off a bit (they will, you will have other days of horror and shock, probably, but nothing like the initial...)

...now, as for your father being very quiet... Let me tell you from experience, hearing the news that YOU are the one with cancer, NOT someone on the news, NOT someone down the hall at work, NOT someone in the carpool, NOT a neighbor, but YOU is something that will knock you on your *ss mentally. It's inconceivable - and it's true. VERY hard to deal with....and then, there's the realization that it has NOT won yet and that you are going to fight it with everything that you have and even if it DOES win, it will NOT be an easy conquer, the monster will have to fight all the way to beat you down. I experienced some of the worst time in my life mentally, physically, and emotionally through this disease - the surgery HURTS - a lot, emotionally it all takes a toll - mortality is something huge to face, and mentally? Well, that's the BIG battle. Knowing statistics and spitting in their face, living with doubt, knowing that even though there may be no sign of it now, it can come back at any time and turn your world upside down... But da_ _! When you make it through ALL THAT, and win some of those mental battles, overcome the pain and all the other crap, BOY, does that feel GOOD! ...and then, although you may not want to engage the enemy again, you're up for another battle...

Here's some perspective for you - he's not dead! He has cancer, but he's not dead! You still have time to spend with him, it wasn't a coroner calling you that that "random beer truck" won the game of Chicken. Make every moment count and remember how dear he is to you. Some day, he WILL die, you have been reminded that no one lives forever and given a chance to make it ALL count - take that opportunity and make sure that he LIVES in the time that he has left (months, years, decades, NO ONE knows for sure!).

Hang on, it's a wild ride. Keep your hands inside the car and make sure the bar is across your lap, it'll try like hell to buck you. We'll all be here when you need someone to hold you in...

...and another post when doubt was entering the picture, along with the feeling that it was "too much" to handle:

I don't think you quite realize that you have already picked up the load! If you hadn't picked it up, you wouldn't be going through the spiral right now.... You ARE strong enough to handle this, you just need to get through the "acceptance" part. You cannot change the facts, you have to accept them. Some of the hard part is separating "facts" from "statistics". Your father has cancer, THAT is a fact. However, your father is NOT a statistic.

Work through the panic. Breathing exercises (like the "natural childbirth" breathing techniques) help. Something I have picked up in life is this: Find a place where you are alone. Soften the light, lay down on the floor and take five deep cleansing breaths. Be aware of your breathing, FULL and slow breath in, hold it for five seconds, full and slow exhale and begin again - five times. The anxiety will bubble up in your chest - go with it. CRY, relax your body and let your MIND deal with what is going on up there. RELEASE the pressure, keep up with the deep breathing and the tears until you can breathe without the pressure on your heart - that iron band that won't let you even take a deep breath right now...

NOW you will be ready for the news next week. I'm pretty sure "worst case scenario" is running through your head right now. Deal honestly with what you will do if the worst case is true (but don't dwell on it, set aside some time to think on it and then step away) - THEN, if it IS "worst case", you are prepared...and if it's not, WOW!

You CAN do this. You have the strength, you have the will and you have a NEED to do this WITH your father. Channel it, find where your strength is and keeping going. If it's too hard to deal with the "big picture" set your goals to one day at a time, one step at a time. Talk to your father, share information with him (only information you think he can handle), DON'T tell him he's 'going to die' - give him incentive to LIVE...and show him "proof" that people can survive this disease, print out some posts from here.

We're all here for you in the virtual world, but you have to take the step in your real world. Keep us in your thoughts and your actions should follow.

I hope someone else can use this information and that the person I originally replied to isn't too upset that I re-used it...

Becky

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Becky you will never know what an inspiration you are. I saw so many of the things you are talking about while Johnny was fighting his battle. It was very difficult for me but nothing like it had to be for him. Describing it from the patient's view as you have makes me even see things that I missed. I'm sure that this advice will be of great help to many just starting out on this ride. I only wish I would have had someone to point those things out to me in the beginning.

I would like to add just one thing. There are times that a caregiver is forced to make split second decisions. You have to know what you are facing and what the patient's wishes are. Be certain that you as an advocate are given all of the information required to make a decision from knowledge not panic. If the battle is later lost you will have a lot of things to question make sure that you do not have to live with the knowledge that your panic and lack of acceptense caused you to make uninformed choices.

Caregiving is a very hard thing to do but as Becky says it is doable. You really have no choice but to do it and do it the very best you can. Watching what a loved one is going through both physically and especially emotionally can knock you down everyday. It can also give you the oportunity to do the most good you will ever do and feel some of the strongest emotions you will ever feel. Still what you feel is not half what the patient feels. Take Becky's advice and learn to handle your part of the ride. Until you do you will be no good to yourself nor the person you love.

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Becky,

I thank you for reposting this - I have printed it out and (hope that is OK) and I can think of several family members that I will hand it to if I have to go through this again. Most people twice your age don't possess the wisdom that you have. Thanks for sharing......and I love your jokes - keep them coming. Oh, what is a "sticky"?

Love and hugs,

Nancy B

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Nancy,

My father always told me, better a wise a** than a dumb one! :shock:

ANYHOW... a "sticky" is a message that can somehow hang around on top of the forum no matter when the last post to it was. It's magic! (Pretty cool, huh? I think Rick invented it or something like that...Katie said "make it stick" and Ka-Pow, it stuck!)

Sure, print it, just don't SELL it! I haven't copyrighted anything yet but am seriously considering writing a book - don't want folks to "borrow" my stuff and then accuse me of plaguerizing! :roll:

Take care!

Becky

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Thank you Becky, for the timely reminder. Dave and I have just returned from a wonderful, but rather exaughsting trip to see the grandkids, and with David feeling much weaker now, I was about to slip into "pity party" mode. You gave me a kick in the rear end and now I am climbing up out of the hole again.

Bless You,

Paddy

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Snowflake

As soon as I read the first post, I remembered it was to me. You posted that to me the day I found out that my Dad had lung cancer. When I read it, I cried. It brought back memories of how insecure I felt at the time. The tears are also "happy tears". Tears of joy that wonderful people like you are here. That post meant so much to me. I was at the lowest point of my life that day. You and many others really lifted me up.

I have changed so much since joining this board. At first, I had NO HOPE. When I saw the "Just for Laughs" forum I thought, "What is wrong with these people? What is there to laugh about?" But now, I am filled with hope and I visit the "Just for Laughs" forum daily. I honestly don't know how I would be doing if not for you and all of the wonderful people here. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving your time to respond to posts.

O.K. girl, now that your head is so big that it won't fit through your front door, just sit down and relax a while. (Until it shrinks back down to normal!) :lol: Seriously, THANK YOU for that post, shugah!

Angie

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  • 4 months later...

Becky,

Thanks so much for reposting this. I am coming up on the anniversary of my Dad's death (Oct. 14, 2003) and reading this brings back so many of the feelings I had when we were dealing with Dad and cancer. I can relate to so many things in your post. It brings sad thoughts but also happy ones.

Jean

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Becky,

I never read that before it's awesome!!!!!!! It's just not for the caregiver. I think it will give patiences the strength they have and just

don't know. Thanks! WOW!!! I think you should repost it at least every

other month for the new people. I wish I had read that when I was DX it would of helped tremendously.

You have the great ability to put what you feel into words. And you nailed it. Thanks again!!!

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