Caregivers are heroes: Recognition for all you do
Last night it came time for my monthly booster shot of Coley fluid from caregivers and I had a new “nurse” and step in to save the day!
I could've had someone else do it or done it myself (as I've done a few times before) but given the situation, I was hoping my sister would give me my shot. Without much hesitation, she agreed when I asked, and I was very thankful! I knew she didn't like needles and had always preferred that someone else give me the injection, but she empathized with me. Like many times before when I was sick, she put her desires and needs aside and was there for me when she knew it would make me feel more comfortable. Despite feeling a bit lightheaded, she performed like a pro! I lifted my arms up in victory and told my nephew who was nearby watching a movie, “Mommy's a hero!” My nephew is only 3 so he didn't understand, but I'll be sure to tell him again when he gets older. 🙂
Later in the evening I was reading through a thread of conversation in the Facebook group I started for people going through complementary and alternative cancer treatments and I observed this same compassion and selflessness in other caregivers – a son desperately looking into different treatment options for his dad; a brother staying up late and getting up at 3am to check on his brother and give him medicine. It moved me and made me reflect on how hard health struggles are for those taking care of their loved ones.
I thought of my mom, my grandma, my aunt, my friends in college, my sister and others who worked alongside me during the most trying time of my life. In some ways, I'm pretty sure it was harder for them than it was for me.
People have told me things like, “Wow, you beat this crazy cancer!” But in reality, I know it's “we,” by God's grace, who worked together to do what we felt was needed for me to have a shot at long-term remission. I couldn't have gotten this far without a lot of help from a lot of people, and I hope I always communicate that.
So, I want to recognize those who have stressed; lost sleep; endured heartache; taken time off work; gone outside their comfort zone; taken risks; scoured books and websites for answers; talked with doctors and specialists; traveled to doctors appointments; made special food; given massages; shopped for medical supplies; administered treatments; given up a lifestyle they enjoyed; sacrificed their own health; been patient, loving, forgiving and tender; and sat, listened and cried alongside people with health challenges like me.
If that describes you, you've been a great gift to your loved one(s) and I appreciate you! If you're still in the process, I pray that you find the strength you need to continue as long as it takes!