I do not like the term caregiver but that is the label that we wives, husbands, sons, daughters, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, sisters, brothers, best friends,etc. are given when our loved one gets sick and needs help. So I join with the many out there under this title. I am a caregiver and I have needed a caregiver so I come from an interesting and unbelievable insightful perspective. When I was sick with a brain abscess I was left with stroke like symptoms after surgery. I had to relearn how to walk, drive, talk clearly all over again. I needed people to get my meds, take me to therapy, make my meals, help me shower, do my laundry,etc. I had them thankfully. My husband being the greatest one. I hated depending on them. I appreciated it but hated it. It made me feel like a child...helpless. Then I became the caregiver. I knew not to overwhelm or push or to take to much away but I also learned how hard that is to do when you just want the person you love to get better and take away all of their sickness. I also learned how taxing it is and how it is another full time 24/7 job that requires loads of training and knowledge. Where does one get that training & knowledge? Good question! It all depends on the illness you are dealing with. Some doctor's offices can provide info. and help in getting started and there are support groups out there for caregivers which I never attended but think that would be the best route to learn from those already doing. Mostly though we become keenly aware that it is our responsibility to find out the info. we need and to make the time to do that homework is not easy. We have to take as good of care of ourselves as we do of our loved one or we can't do the job. Lives change and rearrange. In my case for the better. It is not easy but once you fall into a routine it becomes second nature. Just like the person we are caring for we find our strength, courage, compassion, and so much more. I literally feel like there is nothing I can't do and I am grateful for that. Sometimes I cry hard, sometimes I get angry, sometimes I sit by myself in a dark room and just breath, and sometimes..all of the time... I imagine our lives free of the illness and beautiful in all that we have learned. I don't have cancer but it is in my house so I live with it too. That can be said of any illness in anyone for anyone that is a caregiver. These are people we love and cherish.
Be proud to wear the label even though if we had our choice we would not want to have to have it. Know that you are not alone!