- My caregiving story
While we struggled at home with my mom’s treatments, my family continued to be devastated by cancer. My grandmother died of pancreatic cancer. Two of my mom’s aunts were diagnosed with breast cancer and lost their brief battles. And one of my mom’s aunts was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. To add insult to injury, my mom’s best friend since college past away of lymphoma. It seemed that we couldn’t escape the reality of this disease. Everywhere we turned it was there to stare us down and try to stomp us out. We needed to ban together as a family to support my mom emotionally. I needed her to survive. I need my mom.
In April 2008 I got “the call”. The test was positive and I needed to have an MRI immediately and meet with an oncologist to start a prevention regimen. I didn’t know how to tell my mom. So I called and asked for her oncologist’s number. She cautiously asked why and I told her that I tested positive for the BRCA 2 and I need to meet with her doctor. She cried. For the first time in this entire time period, she cried; she felt like she failed, like she ruined my future. But in a weird way, I felt like she just passed the torch, she passed on an opportunity for me to be as influential for someone else, as she was for me. She opened the door for me to do something great with this information. She didn’t fail me; she tested me so that I could start believing in myself and my own strengths.
Caregiving Overview (American Cancer Society)
A Guide for a Caregiver
Links for the Beginning, Middle and End of Caregiving (National Cancer Institute)
Online Support Groups