It Takes A Village: My Caregiving Team
Last updated: February 2022
I have been blessed with some amazing caregivers since I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. A caregiver is a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person.
My twin, my sister
When asked who my caregiver is I first say, my sister. I have a twin sister and she is a nurse. She has helped in so many ways since I was diagnosed. In the beginning, she coordinated all my appointments. She went to each one of them and she helped me decipher all the medical jargon.
When I was an inpatient at the hospital she spoke with the nurses and doctors on my behalf to make sure that everything was taken care of accordingly. If I was in pain, she was talking with someone to get it rectified. She also spoke with my workplace to make sure that I still had a job. She spoke with my insurance company when I needed something approved or something clarified. She made sure that I had a home to go to and she let me live with her for a few years. Now that I take care of all of this on my own my sister is not as much a caregiver anymore, but she is still a very big part of my life. Her growing family has allowed me to be the best aunt that I can be.
Grateful for my parents
My parents would be the next people that I would say are part of my caregiving team. When I was going through radiation, they each took turns driving me back and forth to Chicago. I would sleep in the car and that was when I noticed that my dad drives like a racecar driver in traffic! My dad signed up for FMLA when I was diagnosed, and he also helped financially.
My mom was a HUGE part of my day-to-day caregiving tasks. When I was in the clinical trial and traveling back and forth from Boston, I had lost SO much weight. I had taken time off from work and my mom stayed with me. She made sure that I ate every day. My favorites were pancakes and fried eggs. She also made sure that I was entertained. We lived about 30 minutes from her house, so we often found ourselves going to her house just to get out. I remember going to Dave and Buster's and spending some quality time with mom there. We played games and ate some overpriced food. I was so very nauseous that I barely ate my tater tot nachos.
My incredible husband
To complete my caregiving team is my husband. When I was diagnosed, we had been dating for just over a year. We got married in 2016. He has been the person in my life to keeps me grounded. He lets me forget about my lung cancer diagnosis and be myself. He has helped be my emotional support rock in some very stressful times. We moved into a home of our own and our little family now includes two pups and a cat. He has truly given me a wonderful life.
What healthy habits do you use to improve the quality of your life?