running-498257_640Every morning, you open your eyes and then kinda close your heart to get ready.

Ready for what you're just not sure. But, you know you've got to steel yourself, prepare yourself, brace yourself. You have to be ready for whatever comes.

So, you get ready. You go through your routine, breathing a little bit easier as you get past your morning's milestones. Your caree is still breathing, your caree can do what he or she could do yesterday, your caree is in a good mood.

It's those other days, when you can't catch up to your caree, you can't keep up with caregiving, when you can't find enough patience, that take your breath away. And, it seems, no matter how much you do to get ready for these other days, the bad days, you can still feel one step, sometimes two miles, behind.

It's like you got ready to simply trip all over yourself.

Caregiving is a trip like no other. The best way to be ready is to pack your support, your wisdom, your courage and your sense of humor. And, know that you are not being tested each day. Instead, you are simply being called on to do your very best.

Because of who you are, you are ready.

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I laugh now when I think about how clueless I was when my husband received his diagnosis. I naively expected his course of treatment to roll out in an orderly fashion like a row of dominos. Then I was introduced to those days when, as John put it, well-crafted plans are suddenly shelved with no warning and you find yourself scrambling to come up with Plan B on the fly. Those days are like a surrealistic cross between a Three Stooges episode and a Wile E. Coyote cartoon!\r\n\r\nThis morning was a little crazy. I left the house for work only to discover that the driver's door to my Explorer was frozen open. Apparently my husband had taken the car somewhere and had to use a hairdryer to deice the lock. Somehow he locked the lock with the door open and it got stuck. It would have been nice if I'd been forewarned about this glitch. I couldn't take the other car because it was still covered in snow and I didn't have time to shovel it out and still get to work -- and my important meeting -- on time. So, Plan B: Shelley will drive the Explorer to work and hold the door shut! No choice. The old Shelley (pre- cancer diagnosis) would have been fretting to a fare-thee-well \"What if I fall out?\" What if I have an accident?\" \"What if I can't fix it?\" \"How much will it cost to fix it?\" \"What if it can't be fixed and it needs a whole new something or other that costs a small fortune?\" The new Shelley just hops in the car, gets on the thru-way and tries to take it easy on those left turns lol.

John Parks-Coleman

I've definitely had those days, Denise; when all the preparations for the following day were made, and with a single word from Yvonne, the image of a bull in a china-shop comes to mind. It used to have a major impact on my stress level until I told myself, \"Self, you've been adjusting your life and priorities ever since you were a child, the only difference now is that you sometimes worry what others might think about you -- what do you think of you?\"\r\nBOOM - clarity.