3 Things I’ve Learned From Cancer Caregiving So Far

3 Things I’ve Learned From Cancer Caregiving So Far

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I’ve always have so much trouble trying to follow the ‘rules of blogging’ and only talk about one topic. I just can’t do it. It’s not me. I’m so much more than one thing. My life is so much more than just one thing. 

A huge part of my life is my family. A huge part of my family is Gary and a huge part of Gary (now) is Cancer. Gary is my grandmother’s husband and he’s also the closest thing I’ve ever had to a father. I’ve known him since I was practically a baby. I talk about him and his diagnosis story more here. This is not Gary’s first run with Cancer. He’s a ex-smoker. I don’t prefer to use the term ‘beat’ because I don’t like to refer to diseases as if they’re some kind of game or race, but for lack of better words… He’s beat it before.

Lung Cancer is Different.

Every Cancer is different, but Lung Cancer is so different. The doctor has already explained where we’re at. They don’t use the term ‘death’ or ‘dying.’ But they do say it’s something he’ll have to live with.. until .. well.. he doesn’t. I did my research on Lung Cancer. If you’ve seen some of my previous work, you know I’m an advocate for doing your own research and making educated decisions with your healthcare providers. – But the prognosis just doesn’t look good. That’s a longer post for another day.

For now, I just want to talk about Cancer Caregiving. Omg. Where’s the class on that?! It’s insane. Gary is so strong and determined. I’m so proud of him, but I’m always proud of him. It’s me who’s being the baby. I’ve been so stressed out it seems like all I dream about is Cancer these days. – no seriously. The other day I woke up with a serious migraine. The entire night I dreamed about ‘Chemo Day.’

Chemo Day is tomorrow. It’s the day when we (my grandmother, Gary and I) sit down as a family and talk about the drugs, the new port *Gary got placed yesterday*, the side effects, the questions, the coverage and more. It’s like a one on one class. – In our case, one on three – the the Cancer Center holds. I’ve been dreaming about this day since we scheduled it. Gary finished his radiation and this is the next step. He will get chemo once every three weeks (for now).

I will try to stay positive for him. There’s just so many emotions.

3 Things I’ve Learned From Cancer Caregiving So Far

3 Things I’ve Learned From Cancer Caregiving So Far

  1. There’s no right or wrong way to cope: Just follow your loved one’s lead. If they’re treatment-focused, focus on treatment. If they’re focused on statistics, support them in coping with the numbers. I realize now how different Gary and I actually are. Personally, I’d rather know my odds. I’d rather discuss how much time I have and make plans now while dealing with treatment later. – But that’s not his way. He wants to focus on life. Living. Getting his treatments. He doesn’t care about odds. His mindset is ‘beating it.’ – If that’s what he wants, I want it too.
  2. There’s no I in Cancer: You can’t do it alone, just as your loved one can’t do it alone. Find someone to vent to. There will be so many tough days. – I wish I didn’t have to say this, but I do. There are days I wake up feeling okay, yet end up having 4 meltdowns by 5.
  3. Bathrooms are for tears: I understand you don’t want to upset your loved one. I’m the same way. I put on a brave face, but behind it is a meltdown waiting to hit the surface. I’ve cried in sooo many bathrooms. Bathrooms at the radiology office. Bathrooms at the oncologist office. Bathrooms in the hospital. I mean, you get it right?! No shame in my bathroom game!

I hope this helps someone.

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