Episode 71: Caregiver Conversation with Robert Pardi

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Episode 71: Caregiver Conversation with Robert Pardi

Becoming a caregiver could have been one of the worst days of your life. Robert Pardi is living proof that it is possible to pull yourself out of the despair of your spouse being diagnosed with cancer and not only continue to live a life they loved but live as fully as they possibly could with cancer. 

In this episode, Robert and I speak about the value of living a full life instead of living a long unfulfilled one. We discuss how caregiving can shift as you accept your role and when you find your why. Robert explains how he and his wife were able to find positivity in their lives, live to their fullest potential, and continue to work to make the lives of others better as well. He also tells us a little more about his book and his wife who lived with breast cancer. 

Listen to the episode through the link in bio and grab a copy of Robert’s book to learn more about his caregiving story and how he and his wife navigated roadblocks as they lived a life they loved. 


Show Notes

00:00  Intro

01:09  Robert shares what his life with his wife was like before her cancer diagnosis and how they came about finding out about his wife Desiree’s cancer.

2:16  The role Robert took on as a caregiver for his wife and how he came to become the information holder and gatekeeper of her information.

2:54  Fighting together. All of her treatments. In a state of doing.

3:13  Remission …. Maybe?

3:31  When Robert really felt he became the caregiver and what he felt when he realized he couldn’t fix things. 

4:30  Robert realizes that he had to surrender. Not focus on the end result but only on today. 

5:50  How to identify what your best actually is each day. 

6:22  Nine more years of chemo and life continued for both Robert and his wife. 

6:50  Fixing has nothing to do with caregiving. It is about holding space for the person to be a human and help them live the best quality of life possible.

7:25  Friends and connection during chemo

8:20  People should not be defined by their disease.

8:50  Charlotte shares how she and her husband live with cancer without letting it dictate and define who they are and what they do. 

10:05 First trying to figure out what their life looks like with breast cancer.

10:40 Robert realizes that he needed to let his wife live a life of purpose and not let cancer define them.

11:40 Watching his wife live and succeed made caregiving fulfilling. 

12:00 How they navigated being a couple with cancer.

12:30 Caregiving was the most purposeful thing he could have done.

12:51 Changing the way he views his life, the purpose of life, and what they could get rid of in order to remove the clutter.

13:46 Living a full life vs a long life

14:20 Source of the title of his book.

15:00 “It is only when we value the ordinary moments that we live an extraordinary life”

15:42 You don’t extend death - knowing when life comes to an end.

16:36 How they chased life - lived as fully as they could.

16:53 Parenting as an act of caregiving vs a caregiver of a person who is ill and where hope can be found.

17:15 How they brought hope into their day.

17:44 Charlotte talks about hope and how caregiving is difficult but are still able to enjoy moments of their life. How she and her husband can find levity at the most serious times of their lives.

19:00 How to hold on to your connection and your why. 

19:40 Charlotte’s hope for caregivers to find a way to live a life they love. 

20:11 Obligation or Opportunity - how you can see your life as a caregiver. 

21:00 Possibility to adapt to caregiving and re-evaluating your role in life when you become a caregiver.

21:50 “Beautifully scarred.”

22:54 Remembering to laugh love and enjoy life despite the difficulties of life. 

23:00 Charlotte talks about the importance of understanding and redefining your roles in life - what type of caregiver you will be and create your own team of people who will help you in order to be able to enjoy life.

24:15 Asking for help and the stigma it carries. 

25:00 Robert shares his difficulties as a man and a caregiver. He shares how he finally learned he needed to ask for help he actually felt people saw this as a source of strength from the people around him and that it was his perception that being vulnerable as showing weakness was coming from him.

26:43 Not feeling like the people around him could understand him as a caregiver. The alienation he felt. 

27:50 Vulnerability and surrender as badges of honor.

28:53 How Robert came to the realization that he needed to be able to ask for help.

29:53 Charlotte and Robert talk about how a person’s tribe shifts once they fully step into caregiving. How caregiving changes you as a person and affects your relationship with people in your life. 

32:30 Robert shares how he realizes “I need to shine my light and if the people need sunglasses they’re not the right people for me”

33:00 Becoming a caregiver has a ripple effect on your life and of those around you. Finding out that people you planned on supporting you might leave. 

33:00 Charlotte shares about having to set new boundaries when her husband was diagnosed and only allowing positivity in the house. 

36:00 Robert shares his ideas on being conscious in the way you live your life. 

37:10 Difficulty to make choices when it disrupts the community. Choosing the way you want to live your life. 

37:45 Caregiving is a boot camp for living life lessons that we should wield as a tool while crafting our lives.

38:00 Charlotte shares how caregivers should be highly regarded in their communities as people who also overcome adversity and selflessly give of themselves. She discusses the importance of caregivers advocating for themselves.

39:39 Being proud of the strength you gain as a caregiver.

39:54 Robert discusses how he shared his experience of caregiving.

40:24 Living in a society that finds it difficult and uncomfortable with speaking about death. How caregivers just want to be seen as a person and what they are going through.

42:00 Value placed on things that can be quantified in American society. The softer side of life has little value in American society. Charlotte shares how the softer side of life is what should hold value especially for caregivers and the important place self-care should hold in everyone’s life. 

43:38 Caregivers have no breaks. 

44:40 Life continues and we have to learn how to identify what is really important in our lives.

45:11 Charlotte shares how your values need to change when you become a caregiver and how things need to change from, “I can’t” to “I won’t because it doesn’t fit with my values” and how having boundaries makes decision making much easier because you know why.

46:00 Charlotte shares how sometimes your values have to be challenged for you to understand what they actually are. 

47:17 Robert explains why he decided to write his book. His process and an overview of the message he wanted to make through publishing it.

50:16 How not to let your childhood enthusiasm disappear regardless of what is going on in your life. 

51:31 Robert’s advice for caregivers today.


You can Find Robert Pardi here:

www.RobertPardi.com

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