Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Families, Our Friends, Ourselves

My sister and co-survivor.
When I was diagnosed with cancer it wasn't just about me.  My husband was part of the diagnosis.  My sister was.  
         And so were my friends, an incredible group of women that immediately organized to share helping with rides, food, errands, and "fly-overs" when they'd stop by on their lunch hour with flowers or a bowl of soup during the week following chemo.
         I was spoiled rotten, in other words.
         But I certainly can't say that was the case for my husband or sister, or my friends, even.
         I had glimpses....looks I caught on my husband's face when he didn't think I was watching; or the moment I had to screw up my courage to call my sister and tell her that I had cancer.  She was newly separated, and a working mother.  Her son was three.
Steve & I at Peyton's Felicity Farm.
        The demands of their lives didn't stop because I had cancer. They multiplied. 
         And treatment can go on for a long time.
        The question becomes:  how can we truly help the entire family - whatever its make-up happens to be.  A brochure on "Caregiver Burnout" doesn't really go the distance for those who are in the trenches with us and are carrying the load while we can't.
        Let's talk about this tonight on #BreastCancerSocialMedia tweetchat beginning at 9 p.m.   These are tough issues in my book, and I'm looking forward to hearing what helped you and yours, what didn't, and what we can do to change that. 


Nancy's Point said...

This is such an important topic, Jody. I remember seeing some of "those looks" on my husband's face too. Once in a while I still see them. Cancer has a huge impact on families and friends. Thanks for discussing this often neglected topic. said...

When friends stop by, caregivers almost retreat into the shadows because the focus is on the newly diagnosed. Cancer care centers are the logical place for caregivers and family to find counsel and support but too often, these centers don't have the funding. Also, there's only about 400 psychosocial oncologists in the US.

For now, I think those of us who blog about cancer and have a degree of visibility need to find ways to give the glue the support they need.

Loved last night's chat. So glad you & Alicia are doing this.

Love to you,

Ann said...

I've often said that having cancer was harder on my husband than it was on me. I was the patient and therefore knew how I felt physically every second of treatment. Chris could only drive himself crazy guessing and worrying.

Debbie said...

Great post Jody. Yes, the caregivers have a really hard time of it. I know my husband was just wishing someone would take him out for coffee or just chat with him. Not that he didn't want me to get attention and support, just that he needed it so badly as well and no one seemed to recognize that. Thanks for bringing the subject to light.
xo Deb

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