Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cancer Caregivers

On Friday, I received a reminder from the The Cancer Support Community that today, November 21, 2011 is National Cancer Caregiver Awareness Day. I thought how nice that there was a day to recognize all those caregivers who give so much of themselves to help their family and friends diagnosed with cancer.

Then a short time later, I read an entry on my niece Chloe's blog, Chloe Yelena Miller entitled "Writing Prompt: Parent / Caregiver Memory". I decided to use that prompt to write about my special caregiver in honor of Caregiver Awareness Day.

We were sitting in the warm examination room on the first floor of CINJ. Nick in the arm chair by the wall and me perched high up on the special chair/examination table. My legs were dangling far off the floor.

My gynecologic oncologist had just left the room. It was 3 weeks after my 6th carbo/taxol/selenium treatment. Minutes before she had come in and explained to me how she was recommending I do 3 more treatments. All the spots of cancer that remained after my surgery were gone except for one on the top of my liver by my diaphragm. I quietly told her "OK" . She told me that she was going to write the orders for today's treatment and would be back.

I turned to Nick and said " I don't think I can do this anymore." Tears were brimming up in my eyes. The eyes that had no eyelashes. And I lowered my chin to my chest.

Nick came up to me placed his hands on either side of my face and gently raised my face toward his. He looked me in the eyes and said " You can do this. Lorna thinks you should and I know you can. We will take this one treatment at a time. Do this for me and Terry and Matt."

And I did. I finished all three treatments. And when my cancer returned in 2008, I had surgery and 6 more treatments - all with my caregiver, my husband, my friend by my side. He was with me for chemo treatments, scans, port flushes, and doctor's appointments, putting off things that he could have been doing. He spent many sleepless nights with me, created schedules in Excel to make sure I didn't miss taking any pills, handled health insurance calls and held me tight when the pain was overwhelming me. And he made me laugh.

His care has been a crucial part of my recovery.

Thank you Nick!

Every Day is a Blessing!

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