Hello everyone! First, a quick update: I still have yet to start my second round of chemotherapy, but my platelets are finally on their way up! Yay! So I should be able to start treatment next week, and my oncologist has decided to switch me to a milder form of chemo so it’s not so hard on my blood levels. I am very happy with that! I see the light at the end of the tunnel!
I wanted to do a post about the people that can sometimes go unnoticed in times like this .. the caretakers. And I am not referring to the nurses or doctors (who are also AMAZING!), but the moms, the dads, the spouses, partners and friends. I feel like my illness becomes their illness, and they, too, take on the same stresses and grief as I do. I strongly believe that my caretakers need just as much emotional support as I do.
If you’re diagnosed with cancer, seeking professional help or therapy is kind of no-brainer: DUH! You need help!! But, it’s not so obvious for the caretakers in this situation. I have gone through the 5 Stages of Grief, and I will continue to cycle through them over and over while going through this (I’m on denial, AGAIN. “What? No, I’m just a normal twenty-five year old girl with normal twenty-five year old girl problems.” Yup, seriously. lol). Some of my loved ones and caretakers are cycling through the 5 stages of Grief right along with me. The only difference is that I am working with a professional to pin-point which stage I am at and how to work through it in a healthy and productive way. My loved ones who are experiencing the denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are trying to find their way out of a dark, cluttered room of emotions all alone. And they have no idea what’s going on and can’t find their way to the exit. I see them try to self medicate on their own, but this usually makes it worse. All they need is some one to guide them through the darkness and start turning the lights on! And Caretakers, that doesn’t just mean dumping your problems on a friend over drinks… this is serious, dark stuff that needs to be addressed by an experienced professional. Your friend may be a GREAT listener and having a support system around is awesome, but they are not going to guide you out of the darkness. If you are going through loss or grief, there is no shame in seeking help. And just because you’re not the one who is sick does not make your problems any smaller or less important.
If you know some one who is going through grief or loss, remember to just give them a BIG hug, even if it’s out of no where. Send them an email or message on Facebook just to say that they and their loved one are in your thoughts. Be a good a listener and a shoulder to cry on if you’re up for it. I know that being a caretaker can sometimes feel like you are constantly in some one else’s shadow. If their behavior starts to concern you, it’s best to just let them be. You cannot help some one until they are ready to be helped, and taking on other peoples’ problems only creates a greater stress on you. Not to say you can’t express your concern, just don’t expect a reasonable response.
So a BIG shout out to my caretakers (you know who are are!). Even though my treatments are almost over, the journey will continue. And of course I am always thankful for having such amazing family and friends who support and cheer me on through all of this.
Lots of love!
Edited: Certain people have been edited out of this post upon request. :*(