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Almost every time I meet a survivor, I also meet their family or friends who are along for care and support. This week, I thought we could talk about family and friends and the impact cancer has on caregivers.
Cancer care and treatment is frequently delivered in an outpatient setting these days. This means more responsibilities as caregivers help to coordinate treatment visits, manage side effects, and provide emotional support.
Other aspects of caregiving include managing finances, running errands, and providing emotional support. As time goes on, stress and anxiety can take an emotional and physical toll on the caregiver.
A few things that may help along the way:
If you are a caregiver, you may be one of the most important sources of strength for a cancer survivor. Sharing this experience together can deepen your relationship. Recognize your needs, keep the lines of communication open and support each other during this time.
Look for caregiver resources here (www.cancer.net, www.imermanangels.org, www.caregivers4cancer.com, and www.cancercare.org/).
Please share what has helped you as a caregiver.
Follow me on Twitter at @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Hi :) I am a breast cancer survivor for 16 years. I have fatique ever since. I am a young 63 years old (active B4) and it irritates me to be so tired. Seems like I can't get out of it nevertheless my going to therapists, taking medication, and diagnosed as bi polar!!! I am too tired to exercise. I only work one day a week. I live in a rural area where there are no support groups; not only that, I cannot hear well in groups. Is there any advise you can give me that I have not heard from? Thanks so much
I was like Jan (comment below).My husband recently died. He was not old. A large part of his becoming ill was because of the stress of my having cancer. It has kept reoccurrig over the last few years. I have to say to myself, It's just life to accept his loss. I was worried about him for so long. I am normally a positive person. This is difficult though on top of the cancer. If you are a caregiver, or living with someone who has cancer, please take care of yourself. It's ultimately up to all of us to care for ourselves the best we can.
It's been a struggle to keep my husband's spirits up. He tends to be more pessimistic so I try to be more of a "cheerleader" for him. Whenever something makes him see the deficits I try to counter with the observation of the things for which we should be grateful: new medicines, local doctors, medical insurance, family & friends, his job, and our faith.
The best part i liked about your blog was that caregivers do need to take care of their own needs too.Spreading out responsibilities is also necessary-as you say.Meditation and relaxation techniques definitely help.They don't cost a dime.Thanks
Thanks Sheryl for the tips, Im a caregiver for my bride, 5 weeks removed from a bi-lateral mastectomy at Mayo, good days, bad days, but humor is my best tip that I can give! As survivors and caregivers know, the unknowns, the life changes, the financial burdens can cause undue stress at the most inappropriate times...and to reduce our stress..we share laughter, humor, past and present stories during tough times like changing dressings, showers, stripping drainage tubes, etc...and it has gotten us through many a down time!
Sure, my tears are still quick to come, emotions during this time for both of us are so out of whack, we cry at the drop of a hat but laugh in the same timeframe!
For those just entering your journey, chins up, keep your faith, set your personal goals, and try to keep the highs and lows at an even pace!
Hugs to all, read all you can, trust your new Mayo friends and like me, dream of the day that you wont have to think about the word "Cancer"! (I've been promised it does happen)
Thank you Sheryl, Mayo and Methodist Hospital for saving my brides life.
hi sheryl, thanks for sharing this. yoga is so helpful on so many levels. i am a breast cancer survivor and yoga therapist specializing in yoga for cancer survivors, including leading teacher trainings for other yoga instructors who want to work with cancer survivors. i'd love to connect with you. i just sent you an invitation to connect on linkedin.
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