I remember this like it was yesterday. I’m in the shower with tears streaming down my face. Trying to handle everything, but feeling like I’m handling nothing. Being a caregiver is hard.
I’ve spent the entire morning on the phone with doctors because we have a borderline emergency situation where we need to be seen immediately, and I can’t get an appointment earlier than two weeks from now.
This shower is the only 10 minutes I’m gonna get to myself today, and all I can hear is the ding of text messages going off, one after another on the sink next to me.
As I listen to the flurry of texts from work… I try not to think about the fact that my house is completely destroyed. The laundry is piled up like Mt. Everest, and here I am, wasting time crying in the shower because it’s the only five minutes of peace and quiet that I can get.
Or, so I thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I would choose this path 100 times. I would do anything for the people I love.
But, being a caregiver is hard. A seriously raw deal. I spend every waking moment dealing with cancer and I try to fit the rest of my life into that.
Work, kids, husband, parents, cancer…
I’m exhausted. And so are my parents. Everyone needs a break. Even a short one. A chance to go have fun, relax and unwind, or even sleep through the night without waking up every 5 minutes.
But there are doctors to call, symptoms to deal with, and work to get done. The stress just keeps piling up.
Those are the moments when it’s hard to remember all of the good things coming out of this situation. The lessons and blessings that you’ve found along the way.
Those are the moments when you’re sad and panicking and you can’t really function as well as you want to.
You are just struggling to survive in a world dominated by cancer.
Being a caregiver is serious shit.
Being a caregiver is hard, so how do you get through this?
Unload as much as you can.
This kind of stress is draining and dangerous. It’s more exhausting than physical labor.
You have to get some of this off your chest.
One of the things I really struggled with in the beginning was WHAT I was feeling so I could devise a plan to start dealing with it.
Life doesn’t stop when cancer drops in… you still have work, kids to raise and a family to take care of.
And right now…
- You’re drowning in the overwhelming stress.
- You’re drained and exhausted.
- You have no idea how to manage all this.
I know you. Because I was you.
When my dad was first diagnosed with cancer I had no idea where to even start.
That’s where Take Back Your Life from Cancer comes in.
Because it’s hard when everything is falling down around you remember all the reasons you need to keep fighting.
Being a caregiver is hard. We can help you …
- Tackle the incredible stress of helping someone you love battle cancer.
- Stay focused on what really matters.
- Keep everything in perspective when things get really intense.
- Stay motivated when you’re completely exhausted.
- Find the inspiration you need TO KEEP GOING.
Cancer journeys are long. You’re going to need a system to help you purge some of this stress if you’re going to make it for the long haul.
Don’t get stuck in this place.
Know in your heart that these feelings are temporary. And while temporary can last for a while, it won’t last forever.
If cancer had a superpower, it would be the ability to send you through a slew of emotions in a short period of time. It’s like living on an emotional roller coaster.
Some days will be better and other days everything will be a mess.
Whatever you’re feeling today will not be your feelings forever.
Eventually, like everything else, you learn to adjust, and you get into a rhythm. After a while, this place doesn’t feel as foreign as it did in the beginning. It’s still stressful and frustrating but it becomes almost normal.
Sad but true. The “new normal.”
If today is a bad day, give yourself this day or even a few days to be sad, angry, stressed, and frustrated. And then make the decision to move on and take care of business.
Be sad, mad, and pissed off today. Tomorrow, decide to move forward and take back at least some of your life.
Have a plan.
A planner not only lets you know where you need to be, but it also helps you remember where you’ve been, and I find that to be just as useful.
It’s the only way to survive when you have an active household and you spend your time running all over the place, dealing with cancer.
A planner keeps you on track.
And there are literally a ton of them to choose from.
Currently, I am using a weekly planning system for caregivers that allows me to plan my week ahead of time. This planner makes sure that I know…
- Exactly where I need to be
- What I need to do
- Ensures that I don’t miss anything major.
Cancer is like a bomb that explodes into your family.
And in its wake, it leaves…
- Appointments (tons of them)
- Insurance companies
- Side effects
The list is endless.
You can’t deal with everything flying at you unless you have a plan.
You won’t make it, I don’t care how good you are. This cancer business is like a 60+ hour job.
The weekly planning pages are quick and easy. They help you stay organized, know what’s coming and make sure the important stuff is taken care of.
It will save you a ton of time and a lot of energy in the long run.
And as a bonus, it gives you some control in the midst of a completely chaotic and uncontrollable situation.
The weekly planning pages break everything down so you can look at the week as a whole. Then you know ahead of time which days are going to be crazy, and which days you might just make it.
Once you know what your week looks like, you have the ability to head off any nonsense that might come up.
Being a cancer family is hard. One of the first things you realize is that without a plan you’re just aimlessly running around trying to manage all of this.
It’s stressful and overwhelming and you’re completely out of your element. A weekly plan gives you a road map to where you need to be, things you need to do, and priorities that need to be handled.
Without a plan, you’ll be dropping “balls” all over the place…
Always be prepared.
Emergencies happen frequently with cancer and with no warning at all… you just have to jump up and go.
When they happen it’s really scary and leaves you totally frazzled. There is no time to figure out what you need, find it, pack it, and get out the door quickly.
I don’t know about you, but those moments are not the moments when I am able to think clearly and pull everything together…
Have a bag already packed and ready with everything you need to be away from home for a night or two. Include a change of clothes, pj’s, socks, toothbrush, deodorant, phone charger…
Then, you can grab it and run. You can find a walkthrough of my bag here…
Take advantage of the limited opportunities you have to do laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning, or dishes.
- Map out a quick meal plan and a shopping list for the week while watching TV during the commercials.
- Choose quick and easy 15-minute meals or crockpot meals that don’t need a lot of fuss. We have an easier way to meal plan here…
- Keep a schedule so you know where you need to be, and nothing gets missed.
- Wash laundry on the express cycle – it saves energy for the environment and a ton of time for you.
- Enlist someone else to fold and put away.
- If things are really hectic (which they are sometimes), sort each family member’s clothing into their own laundry basket so they can find their stuff and call it done.
Let it go. And be okay with it.
No one has ever died from a little dirt on the floor. Some weeks, cleaning the house is just not in the cards. You do the best you can to make it happen, then you move on and try to do better next week…
Helping your loved one stay strong and inspired is WAY more important than anything you missed.
Get some sleep.
Sleep is a major factor in this battle. Probably because there is a ton of stress and varying degrees of depression involved in this scenario.
It’s REALLY intense, this cancer business.
Prior to this, you may have functioned on a lesser amount of sleep, but now… You’re literally carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Or at least that’s what it feels like. Being a caregiver is hard.
You need to get enough sleep to help combat the stress and to revive yourself for the next challenge. And trust me, you’re going to need that energy.
Find the positives.
So many amazing things came out of my family’s cancer journey. Don’t get me wrong, being a caregiver is hard but… We had a ton of time together, amazing experiences that we enjoyed as a family, a whole new perspective, and a new appreciation for life.
Cancer is the teacher of some pretty powerful lessons. Lessons that stay with you forever.
Try to focus on that as you move through this journey. There are no guarantees in this life; don’t waste the precious time you have wishing for something different.
Take Back Your Life from Cancer can help. And it’s free, You can get it here…
Make this a priority.
You have to take care of yourself.
Your loved one is depending on you and you’re the only option they have. They can’t make it without you. It’s a huge honor to be in a position to help someone you love, but it also means you have to stay strong and keep your head in the game.
- If you feel like you should talk to someone but have no idea how you would find the time.
- Or, if the idea of sitting in a room with someone telling them your darkest secrets is extremely intimidating…
The changes in the world over the last few years have made it EASY to talk to a therapist.
Talkspace gives you access to a licensed therapist on YOUR schedule and from the comfort of your home.
They work with some insurances and offer tools and solutions to help you navigate the challenges and anxiety that will pop up as a result of this situation.
Worried that you won’t be able to talk freely to a therapist? A lot of these conversations are done by text, so you won’t have to worry about being overheard or interrupted constantly.
It’s like having just one more weapon in your arsenal to get through this situation.
Being a caregiver is one of the hardest jobs on earth…
This situation is unlike anything else you will experience during your life. You can’t control the cancer. Trust me. But, you can control how you respond to all of this craziness.
Being a caregiver is hard, but you can do this.
Do the best you can in each moment. Pray a lot. And take each day as it comes. Adjust, maneuver, and “let it go” when you run out of options.
Sometimes you just need to revert back to the absolute basics… survive today so you can fight tomorrow.
When all else fails, a good cry in the shower might be exactly what you need.
P.S. When cancer explodes into your family, the Cancer Combat Plan can help you…
- Manage this crisis
- Figure out what action steps you should take next
- How you can get through the day-to-day stress.
Consider this your roadmap with clear direction and a ton of resources to help you manage this whole situation. And it’s 100% FREE.
We can help you…
- Get some of the stress and the chaos under control.
- Deal with the stress.
- Manage the anxiety and the depression.
- Find resources to help you get through this.
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