Episode 53: A Sneak Peek Into My World
I want to welcome you to the 53rd episode.
A big warm welcome if this is the first time listening… and a big thank you for coming back if it’s not.
What a wild ride the past 12 months have been! I can’t believe that I stuck with this podcast for an entire 12 months! Believe me there is a lot I didn’t stick with while staying at home. So starting something new. Not knowing a bit about what I was doing and just plugging along is surprising to me. But you all are the reason I kept going.
I thought today I’d let you into my world a little.
I care for my husband who has lived with thyroid cancer since 2013. It is not the good cancer as some people like to say. However, it’ll let you live long enough to have multiple tumors to take out, make you feel like crap a lot of the time and have to endure the effects of medication.
When I was pushed into the deep end of caregiving I had no idea what I was doing. I was scared my husband would be taken from me and had no idea how to cope with any of it.
A lot of my learning has been by trial and error. Sometimes I run on pure stubbornness and persistence - not a good combination unless you are trying to get an MRI now and not 3 months later. Other times I let things happen and try not to control.
I do a lot of waffling between the two.
The thing that impacted me the most was how lonely being a caregiver felt and can still feel. I didn’t know anyone that was a caregiver in my social group. I lived in a world that was built on social sharing at coffee dates and friend get togethers. But as soon as my husband found out he had cancer I felt … alone.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel supported. I have a great, loving and strong support system made up of friends and family. But the one thing they couldn’t do is understand. Like new moms who only need to say - she had colic last night and the rest of the moms know everything she is feeling and how difficult her day will be. That is the kind of understanding I was used to and I suddenly didn’t have that.
So I went years just trying to figure it out. Just focussing on my husband and what he needed and what my daughter needed. We all celebrated the highs and hunkered down for the lows. But there was always a little part of me that I felt needed to be figured out.
I had the disadvantage of becoming a caregiver before social media became what it is today. There weren’t any groups, advocacy or informational accounts. It was only about how beautiful you could be, how good your plate of food looked or how awesome your life was.
Thinking back on that period of my life makes me sad. I want to give that younger me a big hug and tell her she isn’t the only one that feels the way she does.
That’s why I decided to start this podcast. It’s the best way I know how to help you. I want you to know that you aren’t alone in what you are thinking and feeling. But I don’t say this in a way to make you feel your situation isn’t important and unique but for you to know that you are a part of a group of people who have selflessly given up so much to take care of someone. A community that will do anything to help their loved one. That don’t think of themselves as much as they should and who sometimes also wish they had someone who could understand them.
There are now over 53. Million caregivers in the united states.
I got online and added up all of the reported active and reserve personnel of every branch of the US Military and they only got to 2.5 million.
53 million caregivers in the United States! yet I bet almost all of us feel alone and it breaks my heart. (5:08)
It hurts to know there are so many people in our communities that needs a connection to someone else that can sit next to them and know what it means when she says… I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have something I was worried about.
We all feel that feeling in our gut when we haven’t slept in days because our husband or wife has been in pain and worry and stress keeps you from falling asleep but everyone continues to check in to see how they are doing and never ask how you are or what they can do to help.
We all need to make it clear and to communicate to the people in our lives what it is like to care as much as we do. To make it acceptable to ask for help, to take time for ourselves and teach them they should be just as concerned about us as the person who is sick. But if you feel you are just one person you’ll minimize all of those feelings, wants and needs because you think it’s just you.
I’m here to say it isn’t.
It isn’t just you.
You’re not the only one that is scared of what would happen if the person you care for dies.
You aren’t the only one that feels guilty when you just think of escaping for a few minutes or a day or a week or longer.
Not the only one that is angry that this is the life you are living because it wasn’t what you had planned.
It breaks all of our hearts to have to watch our husbands, wives, family and friends hurt and suffer.
You aren’t the only one that mourns the loss of the life you had before caregiving, the connection you had with friends back then or the connection you had with your spouse before they got sick.
You aren’t alone.
I hope this podcast is one way to help you know that. To be able to own your caregiving role so you can start to ask for things. So you can start to expect life to be a little bit better because you deserve it to be.
This year I hope we can all work on creating a community that exists to support each other, lift each other up and help find positive solutions to the problems we have.
So I thank you again, for showing up every week. For continuing to give me a reason to show up for not only you but for myself.
I really look forward to what we can all do together in this next 12 months!
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