Stories from caregivers
Deborah Baker: insights from a caregiver
Deborah is the widow of a person with cancer and an alumna of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program. She shared her story, including learning to figure out what help she needed and then to ask for help.
On asking for help: No one wanted to intrude, even family, especially since I made it seem like I was handling everything. I knew I probably needed help, but I didn’t ask because I had no idea what to ask for.
I have learned about the serious limitations and consequences of not giving myself permission to ask for help and for not knowing how and what to ask for.
On joining a support group: Until the Cancer Help Program, I did not want to join a caregiver’s support group online and I did not pursue finding a local one. I was aware of them, but I could not imagine how it would have helped me. I wish I had pursued finding a local group to attend.
On how she views caregiving: I want to surround you with love, to listen to you, to laugh and cry with you on this journey. I think of my caregiving as an amazing opportunity to show you how much I love you. I am grateful for the gift of being able to care for you, physically and emotionally.
Read Deborah’s full story of caring for her husband with cancer.
We were going to stay positive, fill ourselves and everyone around us with love, and believe wholeheartedly that Robynn would be that slim-chance survivor. Our childlike hope for a miracle was real and it drove our decisions and actions throughout the months that followed. I am deeply grateful for our friends and family who let us hang onto that dream. Although possibly naïve, it encouraged us to be present, a practice that continues to shape our lives.
Read Maisie’s full story of caring for her mother-in-law with brain cancer.
Claire Robson: words from a caregiver
I didn’t have cancer. I didn’t undergo chemo or surgery. I wasn’t faced with the prospect of death, but still, I lived with those realities every day, usually keeping my fears and sadness to myself.