CareGiving for a loved one is a unique opportunity to share precious moments and to give of yourself. Its rewards will be enhanced if you:
-- Take care of yourself first! Set aside time to enjoy your life and renew your spirit. It will help you care with patience & strength, courage & hope, love & humor.
-- Maintain your physical health and strength by exercising, eating nutritiously, and getting a good nightís sleep whenever possible.
-- Nurture your emotional well-being with relaxation exercises or classes. Seek professional counseling, if you need extra support. Find a counselor who is experienced in working with the cancer community. Depression is a common occurrence after diagnosis.
-- Ask for and accept help from family and friends. Donít be afraid to tell them your or your loved oneís needs. They want to help and will be grateful for your direction.
-- Support yourself through CareGiver support groups which can be found in local hospitals, cancer centers, and online cancer groups. Refer to the LMS Tutorial: www.leiomyosarcoma.info.
-- Research reliable information about your loved oneís condition. Knowledge will provide a sense of security and empowerment in your new role. It will also provide options for treatment.
-- Balance vigilance with sensitivity. Act when appropriate while allowing your loved one the space and independence to do what he or she is able to or wants to do.
-- Be guided by your loved oneís feelings in order to avoid as much stress as possible. Do not provide more information than she or he wants to hear.
-- Be an informed advocate. However, plan with your loved one and allow her or him to set the pace. Discuss oncology visits beforehand to review issues and questions each of you have. In addition, take advantage of the Social Services (including oncology dietician) and Patientís Advocate representative at your treatment center. They will share a wealth of information from dealing with treatment side-effects to patient rights.
-- And lastly, allow yourself to cry when stressed or scared, to grieve lost opportunities, and to have new visions.
Breast Cancer patient 1/03
CareGiver to Joe, Leiomyosarcoma Fighter 8/04/04 - 8/14/06