Coping With Caregiving
Three months after the birth of our first child, Lily, my wife Heather and I received some devastating news. Heather had been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, and I became her caregiver.
We were given several choices about where to take her treatment, and when I looked over at Heather, I could see that she was in shock. She was panicked and her eyes begged me for help. I turned to the doctor and told him that we would be heading to Boston to meet with a mesothelioma specialist.
The next two months were chaotic at best. We lived in constant fear and anxiety. I always tried to stay positive for Heather, but in my head I always feared that I would lose my wife and be left alone to raise our daughter. More than once I ended up on the floor, weeping and terrified. I wanted to get away from it all, and I knew I couldn’t. Despite having these moments of weakness, I never let Heather see me this way. She was suffering so much and I knew that I had to be there for her, no matter what. I was her rock, and I knew how important that was.
If you are ever so unlucky as to find yourself in my situation, the best piece of advice that I can give you is that you should accept every offer of help that you are given. If someone offers to do something for you, let them. If it is large or small, it is one less thing that you have to take care of on your own. Let the people who care about you care for you. I learned the hard way that there is no room for pride or stubbornness in a battle with cancer.
This was a hard time in my life. There is no way of saying that it was not. I went through periods where I thought the stress and the uncertainty of Heather’s mesothelioma battle would drag me down and keep me down. I had to use every resource at my disposal to keep on going, but I managed to do it.
It was years before our family got back to normal. Heather went through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to fight off her disease, and despite overwhelming odds, she managed to beat it. Seven years after her diagnosis, she is cancer free today, and things have never looked brighter. Heather and I hope that by sharing our story of hope and success over cancer, we can help inspire others who are currently battling cancer today to never give up hope and always keep fighting.
Together we fight oral cancer. Together we save a life every hour.