My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Caregiver

Dictionary.com defines the word caregiver as: a person who cares for someone who is sick or disabled.

Caregiver is a word I really never thought about or even used in my daily vocabulary before TJ's diagnosis.  Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I became a caregiver.  I was thrust into the role of scheduling doctor appointments, taking notes when the doctors spoke, administering medication on schedule and noting side effects.  Being a caregiver to someone with a serious illness is so much more than making lunch and handing out pills.  You become that person's emotional support as well as the brunt of their emotional outbursts.  The responsibilities at times seemed endless and it is mentally and physically exhausting.

I did not have a chance to prepare for the role of caregiver.  I did not get to read and study up on TJ's diagnosis, I had to learn as we went along.  The pressure was on me to ask all the right questions, to choose the treatment path and hardest of all...to be positive.  TJ's emotions were in overdrive because of the steroids, mine were in overdrive because of the fear of losing him.  He was able to act out while I had to put on a happy face and tell him it was OK.

Being TJ's caregiver was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I also feel honored and privileged to be able to help him when he was most vulnerable.  TJ thanked me many times for sticking by him and caring for him.  No, I did not choose to be a caregiver, but I am grateful for the experience and the opportunity.  It strengthened me and taught me compassion.  I learned to simplify my life.  It taught me to appreciate the simple things, the moments that may not have meant anything before.  Most importantly I learned that through nearly 16 years of ups and downs in our relationship TJ & I loved each other very much.

One day out of the blue TJ said to me, "Thank You". I said, "For what?" He then said words I will never forget, "Because of you I have known what it is like to be truly loved."

To care for the ill without prejudice you must forget who you are, listen to those lying before you in sorrow, and think, "I can be of help". ~ Unknown

6 comments:

  1. Love those ending words - truly awesome.

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  2. I was also thrust into this role. In our case, there was no information to research, because his cancer was so rare. We just went at it as we were told, and with a vengeance. I went from barely being able to see a needle, to being his full time caretaker. It's such a difficult role, but also, one I was privileged to have. Hugs to you-they're some of my most difficult memories to recall.

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  3. I understand the roll of caregiver, my friend. I was thrust into that role on Jan 7, 2009, when my partner suffered a severe stroke that put her in intensive care for 5 days and then rehab for 3 weeks, and them home care for several months. It was a hard time for her.......and for me. For a long time, I was her caregiver and her advocate. After a few months, she did start to improve and things are better now. I still do a lot of things for her, as her right side is weak and her fine motor skills are very weak. So in some capacity, I have been caregiver over two years now. It's much easier than it was, and if she had to take care of everything, she could. I just want to help, as things are no easy.
    Just wanted you to know.
    HUGS my friend. Your plight was much harder than mine, I'm sure, but I do understand.

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  4. Oh, Sandy, you made me cry. What a beautiful blog. My MIL has been caregiver to my FIL for 20 years since a plane accident left his disabled (lost a leg and eye, onset of traumtic diabetes).

    Terri, I didn't know that about Joan.

    I love finding out about the beautiful souls of my wonderful friends.

    You guys are awesome.

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  5. Oh, how we find the strength. Once again your post touched me deeply. I am so glad I found your blog.--Inger

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