1. “Take all the time you need.”
I had a wonderful boss and employer who understood my position as my Dad’s primary caregiver. Having their support and permission to work when I could was the greatest gift. It allowed me precious time with my Dad and the ability to focus on him and his care. As anyone who is facing cancer knows, there is SO much time spent in waiting rooms that I was able to bring my laptop and work remotely. I generally welcomed the distraction and the chance to use my brain for something non-cancer-related, so working from waiting rooms or in the evenings wasn’t a huge deal for me. I will forever be grateful for that support.
2. “You’re doing an amazing job.”
As a caregiver for a patient who is physically declining due to treatment and/or progression, there are never-ending things to manage: side effects, additional doctor’s appointments, insurance issues, pain management, nutritional roadblocks – the list seemingly never ends. While it’s a labor of love and I wouldn’t trade one second of the excessive difficulties, it’s a nice reminder that – even though most days it didn’t seem like enough – my efforts were helpful and making a difference. To take a step back and be told that my hard work was paying off in some way always gave me a much-needed boost.
3. “He must feel so loved.”
When your loved one is given a cancer diagnosis it can leave you feeling so incredibly helpless. Nothing you say or do can take it away, but, boy, is it nice to do things for them. It really brings new meaning to the “Acts of Service” love language. It gave me immense comfort after my Dad passed that I did everything in my power to be with him and help him as much as I could. From driving and attending all of his appointments, to flipping his pillow for him I count all of those “tasks” and interactions a huge blessing that I think of fondly. I do believe he felt loved and that is a great gift that I carry with me to this day.
Resources for Caregivers
There are many facets to cancer caregiving. We want to do everything we can to support you in your role as a cancer caregiver.
As cancer survivors, caregivers and medical professionals, we built our Cancer Navigation Tool for people just like you. It’s a 5-step personalized planning tool that can help you determine which path is the best path for your loved one, along with some guidance in moving through the process. Use our tool to take action around your loved one’s treatment plan. We’ve done the research for you so you can also use it to find second opinions, resources on symptom management, and more. Last, you can find support for both you and your loved one for the many areas of your life that is impacted by cancer.
By using this tool, we hope you get peace of mind that you’re effectively advocating and caring for your loved one.
Joy Brewster Rusthoven, Executive Director