What Is Best For Me, The Caregiver?
While making Blueberry Pancakes recently for ‘The Little One,’ I was reminded of a blog post that I wrote last year right after he completed his round of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. I wrote this post titled ‘The Tumor Extractor’ for just $19.99! This is one of my very first blog post (which is copied below) where I reflected on how hope, love, support and care are the real tumor extractors as well as how humor can play an important role in the recovery process, too.
Now more than one year past the original post, I took a second look at was written and I am amazed at what (still) applies today. Now I take it one step further, as caregivers, we need to apply these same feelings and emotions to ourselves too. I have to look myself square in the eye on this one!
Many of the decisions that we made over the past year or so have been centered around what was best for ‘TLO.’ As caregivers, we know that decisions are often based on what is best for the caree and for the most part, we’re OK with it. Yet how often do we as caregivers say…’What is the best thing for me, the Caregiver?
It is easy to get lost in the caregiving experience and lose sight of self. I’ve been there! Trying to regroup in the midst of caregiving and express my own needs is by no means an easy task. For me, expressing my own needs can be scary, well…actually it is scary. Is it a sign of weakness, or failure or the messiah complex.
Or am I just a rut? The bottom line is simple, when you put someone else’s needs ahead of your own, you lose sight of self. It happens before you know it. The signs are obvious to everyone, yet camouflage to self.
These are some of the critical signs that caregivers need to be aware of in relation to our own health and well-being.
- Weight Gain
- Lack of sleep
- Poor exercise habits
I get a gold star: I score high on all five traits!
I have been conscious of these issues for quite some time, yet have been immobilized to act on it. I don’t know why, I just know that it has happened. (But I am working on figuring it out.) Over the past number of weeks, ‘TLO’ has been asking me to make an appointment to see my doctor. “You need to take better care of yourself,” he demanded. He has recognized ‘the signs’, inspired me to do something about it and finally I act on it.
The trip to the doctor’s office was not without anxiety. I had not seen Dr. Scalia since I left Fort Lauderdale in 2007 and much has changed since then. Going in, I knew he would ‘get-it’ as Dr. Scalia was on the team of Doctors who took care of Father Orlando, so there was immediate comfort and recognition.
Yet at the same time, there was quite a bit of reflection on Father Orlando as Dr. Scalia was the attending physician leading up to his transition in 2006. When he entered the room, I was greeted with a warm smile. There was no need to hold back, he could see the expression on my face. We talked openly and honestly; it felt great to have someone totally focused on my needs. He did the battery of tests; EKG was normal, blood pressure normal: the blood work results and follow-up will be later in December. All the same concerns that I demonstrate for ‘TLO’ are the same concerns that both Dr. Scalia and ‘TLO’ expressed for me. That’s not a bad thing!
‘To Be A Healthy Caregiver’ does not mean just taking care of your caree, it means taking care of yourself, too. I’ve taken the first steps and now need to follow through with a Care Plan for myself. The best Care Plan available to me is available here on Caregiving.com. Denise offers a care plan that focuses on WELL:
• Wisdom comes from being attentive, grateful and curious.
•Energy comes from my food, my exercise and my physical, mental, spiritual and emotional breaks.
• Laughter comes from within myself, from my relationships and from my entertainment.
• Love comes from within myself, from my relationships and from my passions,
However, the best care plan will be for not if you don’t use it!
- I encourage you to visit’s Caregiving.com by simply clicking here to…lots of great information…lots of great people too!
I often forget that my biggest supporter is the one who I care for because he knows me better than anyone else. By going to the doctor and implementing my care plan through Caregiving.com, I can take better care of myself. Not every day is a ‘Blueberry Pancake’ Day. Caring for someone who has a chronic illness is not for the faint of heart. As caregivers, it is essential that we to apply Love, Hope, Support and Care in relation to our needs too.
If I am going to be a provider of Love, Hope, Support and Care. Shouldn’t I be a receiver too? Yet in order to receive, you have to be open and recognize your own personal needs. For me, looking internally and owning my own feelings and emotions, then expressing those emotions and feelings will not only make be healthier, it will make be a better caregiver, too.
Below is my post from November 6th, 2011. Thanks for reading it again!
We have all seen those gadgets that they sell on TV. It seems that all those gadgets sell for just $19.99 and better yet, all these gadgets are a must need for every household! As I was preparing waffles for breakfast this morning I came across a new product called ‘The Tumor Extractor.’
Simply apply to the area of the tumor and all your troubles will be gone!
‘The Little One’ and I enjoyed a great laugh when I presented him with our new ‘Tumor Extractor’ and just think…we only spent $10,000 on chemo and radiation and could have had this gadget for $19.99! (Of course Monty Python’s Spamalot is playing in the background.) Every cancer patient and caregiver wishes there was something as quick and simple as ‘The Tumor Extractor’ to remove cancer from the body. But what is available to every cancer patient and caregiver is hope, love, support and humor. That is the true Cancer Extractor!
While each one of us deals with the reality of cancer in a different way, we want to look on the bright side of life, Yesterday is gone, today is here, not sure about tomorrow. Today we are enjoying our new ‘Tumor Extractor’ even if it will only help us make waffles. It is our hope that lets us withstand stand problems but it is our beliefs that lets us find solutions. And remember… ‘Always look on the bright side of life!’