Caregivers Page

I will post here some insights and information for and about Caregivers and their important role.

An Article by my caregiver John Bibby:

In my time being associated with the breast cancer community, I have heard every cliché about how “we are all in the same boat” and how “tragedy tightens this community.

The breast cancer community is a very close-knit group of people.  A deep bond is formed between all those who have stared breast cancer in the face.  This deep bond manifests itself in many options for emotional support, research fund-raisers, walks to publicize the disease and many celebrities who share their stories.  All of these things shine a brilliant light on the plight of women who battle breast cancer.  Women tend to be quite empathetic and this helps to strengthen the emotional ties within the vast network of survivors.

Unfortunately, this spotlight also tends to cast some in the shadow.  The group I know the most about who toils in this shadow is the caregiver.  I would venture to say that just like the saying, behind every successful businessman is a strong woman; very much the same thing can be said about breast cancer survivors. The battle against breast cancer is won, as much in maintaining the spirits and coordinating the logistics as it is in the chemo chair.

No survivor I know fails to mention the unsung support of her caregiver.  But almost every caregiver refuses the accolade simply stating, “I did what needed done”.  This soft pedaling belies the huge task they have accepted.

I can only speak from my personal experience.  My girlfriend ( Dawn Faust) did not suffer from debilitating chemo nor did she have brutal side effects from radiation.  But, she was forced to be mostly dependent on someone else for the first time since her age hit double digits.  My job was to keep the appointment calendar, to make sure that doctor #1 knew what was going on with doctor #2, insure her prescriptions were filled properly, make sure she stayed fed and hydrated, complete the tasks around the house that she would try to do if they weren’t already completed…

In short, my job was to make sure that she was able to focus on getting well as she was not strong enough to fight both life and cancer.

My goal in mentioning this is to raise awareness that this group is also completely unprepared for the reality that is thrust upon them.  During my time as an active caregiver, I spoke with exactly three caregivers of breast cancer survivors.  I asked about support functions or group meetings, as I figured something would be in place to help us more effectively assist our loved one’s battle against cancer.  My question seemed to echo down a corridor of concerned but regretful faces.

My (girlfriend Dawn) survivor is now a group facilitator for women who are newly battling breast cancer.  I am currently in the process of joining her as a volunteer at Space Coast Cancer Center as a group facilitator for the men and women who act as caregivers for this wonderful community.

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