Over four years ago, I found Relay and like most people, it changed my life. It changed how view life and what truly matters in it. As I began to come to terms with the scope of the issues surrounding cancer, I’ve come to realize a great number of things that need addressing.
We work so hard supporting the survivors but what about the caregivers? The latest numbers indicate that in U.S., 1/3 provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend. The typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for her widowed 69-year-old mother who does not live with her. She is married and employed.
I recently joined the discussion on a support site hosted by my Canadian Cancer Society called Cancer Connection and I have read through 100’s of postings. I’ve come to see that caregivers are so busy juggling multiple lives they just don’t have the time to fight for caregiver’s rights, recognition, financial and emotional support. We spend so must time giving support the survivor, we acknowledge the importance of caregivers, but seams to stop right there. Who and what support systems are there really available for the caregivers?
Over the last bunch of years I given support to many cancer survivors, but the ones that linger in my heart and mind, are those few that are multiple cancer survivors. They know more about the roller coaster of emotions of walking the long night of the cancer journey. They know what in store and truly wonder if they can go through it again and inevitably the question of quality of life is foremost in their mind.
The first time someone I was supporting said they were thinking of not going through with the operation and treatment. I got lucky with my gut reaction and got mad. I do know now, it might not have been the right approach but in this one case it worked, for the simple reason, they needed a wake up slap in the face because of theirs and their doctor’s attitude, were in conflict with each other.
Now I am helping another and I know this approach will not work this time. I’ve ask so many people about how to deal with this one question, and the only answer I get back is there is no easy answers. I feel that I am lost in the wildness, walking in circles.