Caregiver and lung cancer patient having a warm embrace and deep conversation.

A Real Talk With My Giver of Care, My Husband

On our wedding day, my husband and I vowed before God, we would be there for each other in sickness and in health. With my lung cancer diagnosis, I consider my husband as my primary co-survivor or better known as my giver of care. Despite his hectic job as a university professor, I am so grateful for his amazing love and care.

Remembering back to my diagnosis

The first question I asked him as my giver of care was what was his reaction when I was first diagnosed with stage 4 ALK-positive lung cancer? He said, “It was a big shock! Tears just kept pouring. I was scared of what would happen. But I had to be strong for you and our family. You were weak for the first month. The waiting for the test results felt like forever. I had to ask one of our church Pastor to pray for us. We were touched by his home visits. Knowing people are praying with us has given me the strength and peace to carry on.”

The next question was what specific changes have he made since my diagnosis? He replied, “I consider your medical appointments are more important than my work. I have to be available when you need assistance. On top of all, the household affairs are added to my daily routine. Quite tough but I have given my best to be on top of things.”

Balancing work and giving of care

The third question was how does he balance work and being a cancer giver of care? He shared, “Time management is key. My work meetings and your appointments are in one calendar. Most of the time, I work out your schedule to mine. Planning daily activities help to incorporate my exercise routine and household affairs on top of work responsibilities.”

Dealing with side effects

Throughout my cancer journey I have had different side effects due to my illness and treatment, how do you react to the uncertainty of my side effects? “At first, I thought the worst and was worried about you. But the targeted therapy you are on has been working so far with little impact on your overall health. I am grateful you could still do normal activities.”

Creating a bucket list

Now that you know my overall survival is uncertain or maybe shorter, have you thought of putting a bucket list? He smiled and said, “I want to travel again with you and our family. The pandemic really hindered our family from adding more travel memories. Without the pandemic, it would be a different scenario. Just like before we would travel together to my conferences. We would bring our family again to Disneyworld with our grandson Arlo Jon. Moreover, visit a tropical country with nice beaches.”

Tips from a giver of care

You have been my giver of care for more than a year now. What tips could you share with others like you? He chuckled and replied, “You have to learn ways to take care of yourself too. If you are not, how can you take care of anyone else? Moreover, we influence each other’s physical and mental health, remember to be a good influence.”

Gratitude will remain to our givers of care or should we call them our co-survivors. We face this chance to live without fear because they are walking hand in hand with us. Thank you my husband Marolo for all that you are and all that you do.

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