Caregivers Suck It Up

It’s taken awhile for my hubby and I to get to this point: where we can talk freely about our breast cancer journey, where we can look back and reflect on what we’ve been through together the past two years. He often calls me the strongest woman he has ever known.

Up until recently, he didn’t think that he could (or should) share his fears or feelings about our battle – not with me, not with anyone. No matter how often I urged him to seek a caregiver support group, his response was that this journey wasn’t about him and he didn’t need one. He was always my rock and he never let me know he was afraid to lose me. He made it all look easy to be my caregiver. And I was not always the best patient.

I like that we can finally discuss our journey open and honestly and he doesn’t have to keep his fears and feelings bottled up. We can now joke about some things along this journey and cherish one of the most difficult times we’ve shared.

He recently told me a story about my beloved nurse practitioner, Helena. Everyone who knows Helena loves her. She’s not only an outstanding health professional that will give you the facts straight, she herself is a 12-year triple negative breast cancer survivor. She’s a tough little lady.

At my initial oncologist appointment, where we first met Helena, she pulled my hubby aside as I was meeting with the doctor. She said to him, “Look, I know her diagnosis is hard to deal with. But it’s harder for her…so Suck It Up!” And she proceeded to give him all the caregiver advice that he would need along this journey. That conversation set the tone for how he would handle our battle.

The next time I see Helena, I will have to hug her extra hard, as she always hugs me when she sees me. And tell her thank you for teaching the strongest man I know how to take care of me.

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