Sunday, October 21, 2012

#25: Designate a Caregiver

Relationships suffer after a cancer diagnosis. I wasn't the only one whose life changed after my diagnosis, everyone who loved me life's changed too. With this in mind, you can imagine the learning curve in trying to isolate who out of these loving, caring people are coping most similarly to you. Once I had this person identified, they became my caregiver.

Having grown up in the middle of two of the strongest people I know, it's no surprise that my caregiver was one of my sisters. While my big sister's unyielding stoicism and gentle optimism reassured me that everything would be ok, it was my baby sister's blunt humour and calm temperament that made chemo days a relatively amusing event. My older sister delivered my beautiful niece three months into treatment, leaving my youngest sister, my mother and my boyfriend to attend the remaining six chemotherapy cycles. If it wasn't for the crude, offside jokes my boyfriend and my sister told throughout those 4 hour treatments, I'm not sure how my mind would have coped.
Yvonne and me celebrating
remission in Florida, May 2011.

Now, post-treatment, my little sister is the one who comes to every appointment, who makes jokes, listens to my rants, rationalizes my fears, and essentially, keeps me calm. She knows just what to say, just how to react, and exactly when to shut up. She is the ultimate personal caregiver.

I made this realization 18 long months after my diagnosis, and some of my relationships suffered as a result of my inaction. But now, I get exactly what I need out of each appointment.

I also get to spend some quality time with one of my favourite people on the planet.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, stephie! You do the same for me :).

    P.S calm temperant? I do? Cool.