Jul 14, 2019 10:12AM - edited Jul 14, 2019 10:15AM by Fairydragonfly
I'm hoping someone (a partner or caregiver) will respond soon, but wanted to reach out anyways. While I am going through my breast cancer journey right now, last year I was the primary caregiver for my father after unexpectedly losing my mother to cancer.
To help, I stayed with my father in another province. I put my entire life on hold and shifted my focus to him and his care. I have no regrets in doing that, but can appreciate the difficulties that caregivers and loved ones experience.
One thing that helped me significantly was going for counseling through my dad's regional cancer society. I have discovered that the same thing exists here for those helping me through my own cancer journey. The social worker I met with helped me deal with many of the emotions and practical stuff that comes from caring for a loved one. She was a lifesaver for me, as I have had depression and anxiety since my teens and coupled with trying to process my grief over my mom and care for my dad - I was scared I was going to go over the edge.
Another important lesson I learned was to ask and accept help OFTEN. Don't wait for the times when you're at the end of your rope or have no other alternatives. People genuinely want to help. So if someone asks how, tell them. My dad's neighbours took care of snow removal and cutting the grass. His friends came and helped sort through dad's tools and equipment in order to sell it. His neighbour recommended a reliable and affordable house cleaner, which was a godsend for me. If you need something, even trivial, just ask.
Know that your fears and emotions are a normal reaction to a horrible situation. Reaching out to this site is a huge first step. If your regional cancer society doesn't offer counseling, find out if your work has an employee assistance program. Find out what resources exist in your community to help you as a caregiver. If you live in Canada, I can send you a few links.
Keeping you and your wife in my thoughts. ❤️