10 Things Only a Caregiver May Relate To

by Brittany McNabb

As people join WhaNext, many of the members are here for caregiver support. For many patients, their caregiver is their hero and their #1 fan. Being a caregiver can teach you a lot from how to sleep in an uncomfortable hospital chair, what it's like to be alert 24/7, and the true meaning of the words "labor of love." Here is a list of things that all caregivers may relate to. 

Caregiver Support

[pictured above] "My husband, Joel supporting my journey by shaving his head and us embracing our new look with laughter. I'm truly blessed to have him in my life. Thanks be to God." - rmaat4ever

1. Putting all of the patient's needs before yours.

Many caregivers are happy to put their loved one's needs before theirs but it is easy to completely forget about your own needs. Remember that it is important to take care of yourself (including remembering to eat and sleep) so you can fully take care of your patient. 

2. At times being the recipient of an abundant amount of gratitude from your patient and other family members that admire what you do.

As a caregiver, you are admired. It might not always feel like you are appreciated but whether it is by your patient or by your family, they recognize that your work is truly a labor of love. 

3. Being the one to experience the moments of small victory as well as the ones of defeat. 

"My husband is my caregiver and he's been so amazing through this journey. It's not just my cancer journey, it's ours. He's my hero and really gave me the strength to keep going. He loved me through this hard journey and I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life." - terrilynn (pictured below with family)

Terriylynn "Bald Is Beautiful"

4. Struggling to turn off the caregiver mode and be a friend to your loved one with cancer.

When you are taking care of your loved one 24/7 it can be hard to turn off the caregiver mode and just spend time with your loved one. However, to add a sense of normalcy and relief to your relationship it can be important to plan a time together where you talk about something other than cancer, watch a movie, or do the things (if they are able) that you used to do before cancer.

5. A strong sense of empathy.

"The most important thing I have learned about relating to someone who is ill is not to attempt to change the person's feelings. Let them have their feelings. Let the person you are caring for vent. Just listen and offer them your love, support, and friendship. And then go get someone to listen to you vent!" - Hollis_Walker

6. Learning to take life one day at a time.

"Live in the moment as best you can. There will be good days, bad days, and worse days, and they can change up faster than a major league pitcher. Just keep going, and cut yourself a lot of slack. You are doing the best you can." - Ejourneys

Taking Life One Day At A Time Cartoon

7. Putting on a happy face and positive attitude for your loved one even when you feel like breaking down. 

"As a caregiver I feel a lack of rest, and that I'm always sleeping with 'one ear and one eye open' at all times. I still manage to do it with a smile." - genny

8. Getting into it with doctors or nurses as you are the main advocate for your loved one. (Also repeating the diagnosis story over and over again.)

Sometimes the patient is too tired or distracted to bear the brunt of the information from doctors and nurses therefore the caregiver must be the one to spearhead the treatment plan as their patient's main advocate.

9. Caregiver burnout.

"It's important to take care of yourself under these conditions [when you experience burnout], or you won't be well enough to take care of them." - cam32505

Caregiver Stress Organizing Everything

10. Craving true quality time with your loved one...a break from cancer talk, treatment options, side effects, and just a time to be together.

"My advice to caregivers would be just enjoy the time with your loved one, please stop anticipating what will happen in the future and the pain that you will go through because there is no reason to live through that now." - lilymadeline

Breast Cancer Caregiver

[pictured above] "My biggest supporter...my husband of 25 years! I wouldn't and couldn't have done this without him!" - brcasurvivor08

Are you a new caregiver? Can you already relate to a lot of these things? Share with us what you have learned in your journey so far. If you are a caregiver, be sure to take advantage of the specific search options on the site. You can refine your search on the lefthand side of the website by checking the box 'Caregiver.'

Blog Home