I have a friend who is a Cancer, horoscopically speaking.  She occasionally makes related Facebook posts.  One recent headline read: Cancer and what they hate.  I totally misread that, and this is why: my dad has been battling cancer for nearly 2 years.  It is, in fact, the reason I am currently away from home and staying with my parents for a few days, and one reason this is a terrible time to begin a daily blogging challenge.  He recently underwent stem cell treatment and was released from his 3 week hospital stay yesterday.  I found it delightfully ironic that “C” day happened to fall on his first day home.  When I first started considering doing this challenge, I made up a list of topics, just to make sure I could come up with something each day.  The first topic I planned was Day 3’s, because cancer is an ever-present spectre in my life.  The fact that I have never had it does not mean I have not been changed by it.  Further, I believe it haunts most of us.  I don’t think I know one person who has not been touched by cancer in some way.

I’m not going to examine cancer in any depth here, but I wanted to mention one aspect that I was introduced to when my dad was diagnosed.  Chemo brain.  It refers to the memory and thinking problems cancer patients experience.  These cognitive disruptions can continue for years after chemotherapy concludes.  The cancer may be in remission, but the body still has to recuperate after the attack.  Even when, physically, an individual seems normal again, the brain may still be recovering.  While it is not clear what causes chemo brain, and there may be multiple causes, it is extremely helpful when dealing with a person experiencing it to understand the symptoms, even if it only endows us with greater patience.

A second issue I wanted to address briefly is that of the caregiver.  The strain on these individuals is immense.  I am speaking mostly of the friends and family members who care daily for their afflicted loved one.  This close relationship carries with it the potential for feeling a great deal of guilt and inadequacy.  The issues can be deep and far-reaching, and too complicated and diverse to cover in this little blog post.  For more information, check out the following links.  The cancer patient is not the only one effected by this disease.  Caregivers often neglect their own needs which sometimes leaves them ill-equipped to meet the needs of the person they so desire to serve.  If you are a caregiver, please, seek out the support you need.  If you know a caregiver, find out what you can do to help support them.

I know cancer isn’t a cheerful subject, but it’s one I think is basically universal.  I hope there is something here that helps someone in dealing with this terrible disease.

Check out other bloggers participating in the A to Z Challenge, and I hope you find your way back to my blog soon.

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Comments
  1. leesgoodfood says:

    I’m glad you found the C for Caregiver, too, and recognized the importance. Hope all goes well for all your family & your dad’s support system. For me, it was the grandparents I had lived with.

  2. chontali says:

    I appreciate your Cancer/Caregiver post and pray for you and your family in this time. My mother is currently a caregiver to my grandmother and I see how it can be very draining to care for a loved one even with hired help. Looking forward to more posts from you and I hope your family finds peace, patience, and strength in this time.

  3. Katka says:

    Interesting post and viewpoint. You have a lot of knowledge on the subject, which is important for such a trying ordeal. I am slowly preparing myself to also be a caregiver in the future. Good luck to us both

    • keliwright says:

      Planning ahead, I believe, relieves a lot of stress when the crisis hits, whatever that crisis may be. You are wise to begin doing so now. Good luck to you.

  4. As a caregiver and having patience with chemo brain and hoping the family member understands that is a challenge. Thanks for this post. My thoughts are with you and family. It is never simple.

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