Saturday, 1 August 2015

1 August 15 ... 5 Choices You can Make

5 choices you can make  (a carer’s perspective)

Today these are my top five; choices I have  made to help deal with my husbands cancer diagnosis, ongoing treatment and recovery. Tomorrow they may vary, but everything I have written  here has helped me (as the carer) to this point, in what has been a long, unexpected, and fast paced turn of events in my families previously happy and carefree existence.

If you were to ask my husband; (as the cancer patient) his top 5 would probably be very different, or maybe a little similar, I'm not sure as although we are taking this ride together we are experiencing it from our own perspective.
When he is through all of his treatment and has the time and energy to do so, I would love to have him share what has worked for him.

5 choices you can make:

1. Own it: you can go down all the poor me, why me roads you want, it wont change anything. You can even try to dull down what’s happening with copious amounts of alcohol, drugs or whatever else you think may protect you from the pain of what you are going through. It won’t.  So the best bet as far as I can see, is to choose to own it, and move forward. Resisting the fact that your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer won’t change the diagnosis, but may put you at a great disadvantage from the get go. Accepting what is and moving with the fast pace of the cancer juggernaut is the only way to keep up with and support someone going through treatment, in my experience. The freight train was taking off whether I liked it or not; I was either on it or off it. I could not help anyone if I was still standing on the platform feeling sorry for myself as it rounded the first bend.

2. Look after you:  If your family is touched be illness or disability and you are the primary carer, then it is essential that you are looking after your own well-being too. Your loved one/s is depending on you. In many cases, for a time at least, everything outside of making your loved one well will become your responsibility; from running your home, caring for other family members, scheduling appointments, arranging accommodation, shuttling to and from treatments, and tending to the needs of those within and some outside your home, especially the patient.
If you are exhausted make time to rest, if you feel overwhelmed take some time for yourself and if you are scared… talk to someone; a family member, close friend, councellor or someone who has been through a similar situation. There are people and organisations that are only a phone call away, and are ready and willing to help. Understand that your family, friends and for the very fortunate…your community want to help; their offers are genuine and are made in the hope that you will accept.

3. Stay Calm: You will need to find something to help keep you calm and centred. Something to keep you anchored to solid ground. You will be hit by a barrage of information, a lot of which will be extremely difficult to hear and take in. You will receive advice and experience emotional, physical, mental and spiritual upheaval. You will easily burn out if you don’t find a way to keep yourself centred in all areas of your own well-being..
Find a simple tool or technique that you can use daily (a daily practice) to help keep you on track and energised. This can be anything from exercise, yoga, meditation, reading, dancing, playing or listening to music… anything that allows you to reconnect with you. You will be continually sharing small pieces of yourself in a very big way. So you will need to find a way to re-gather… and please remember to breathe. The tools and techniques I use to keep myself calm and centred have been learnt through the daily practice of Reiki an Energy Therapy, which I use in self-treatments.  This practice has sustained and supported me through the most difficult period of my life, and continues to. You will need to find a way to stay calm amidst the chaos, for your sake and those you care for.

4. Ask Questions: As mentioned above; you will be given an enormous amount of information and may need to support your loved one as they are asked to make sometimes difficult, life saving decisions. Or you may need to make decisions on their behalf. You need to know that throughout this journey there are no silly or small questions. If you don’t understand something ask, and continue to ask until you understand clearly. We are blessed here in Australia with amazing medical practitioners and access to them. These people are ready and willing to address your concerns. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

5: Don’t get ahead of yourself: Very early on in my husbands cancer story his oncologist was explaining his up coming treatment to him. When he was finished I asked what the next step would be, if that treatment didn’t work. He looked me in the eye, and with a firm gentleness said “Let’s not deal with hypotheticals. We will just work with what we know.”  He did not make me feel that it was a silly question and he answered with clarity and compassion. It was a perfect answer and a reminder for me to stay present. We have to work on what we can do today to improve our situation. Placing our focus on the here and now is one of the most important things we can do to aid recovery, and yet sometimes the hardest. As much as we want to know what tomorrow will bring, it is much more important to get through today. So in my families case we have worked very hard to not only take one day at a time, but to enjoy that day to the best of our ability as it unfolds.

Although at the moment life isn’t carefree, it is for the most part still definitely happy, and for that we are all very grateful. 
Life is good and hope is limitless.
Cal xx

You can find more information on Sarcoma Cancer by following this link: sarcoma

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