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The Reality of Life as a Caregiver

The Reality of Life as a Caregiver

November is National Family Caregivers Month and we are recognizing all caregivers who have supported loved ones who have blood cancer. To better understand the experience of caregivers, we conducted a large survey that asked several questions about what it’s like to care for someone who has been diagnosed with blood cancer. Over 600 caregivers of people with blood cancer completed the survey.

Many people can serve as a caregiver

8 in 10 patients who responded to our survey have someone else involved in the management of their blood cancer. Although over half of all caregivers are a spouse or significant other of the patient, children, friends, and other family members often take on the role of caretaker.

types caregivers

It’s not just driving to appointments

Caregiving can take many forms, from assisting with daily activities, helping with medical and treatment decisions, and aiding with coping. Over 90% of caregivers indicate they provide emotional support, a critical part of coping with a diagnosis of blood cancer. From helping to lighten the mood through humor and finding ways to better manage stress, caregivers have a tremendous impact on the lives of loved ones with blood cancer.

provide support

A balancing act

Being a caregiver can often be a full-time and stressful job. Caregivers must juggle their own life in addition to their role of caring for another person. Over half of respondents said they had been edgy or irritable over the last week and nearly half have had crying spells. While trying to shoulder so much, it can be easy to feel pulled between many types of responsibilities.

stressful experience

Facing frustrations and fears

Although providing care for another person is often rewarding, it can also be a physically and emotionally draining experience. Caregivers are often asked to assist with difficult medical decisions and must cope with the changes that occur in their own lives due to caregiving. It’s important that caregivers also take care of themselves, including getting proper rest, nutrition, and finding ways to take breaks from caregiving.

juggling emotions

The Blood Cancer In America 2018 survey was conducted online from November of 2017 through March of 2018. Of the 2,596 people who completed the survey, 620 were caregivers of people with blood cancer.

Comments

  • mar11668
    11 months ago

    Thank you for your kind words! I see it as a growth experience. It was a role that I mentally prepared myself to perform with my mother as she ages, not with my 41-year young fiancée. We have always been a good team as a couple and this journey has made us stronger! God bless and be well!

  • mar11668
    11 months ago

    I have been a caregiver for a little over a year. In the beginning, I was so overwhelmed that I was almost numb. I went on auto pilot and kept focused on every detail I could handle. Over time, my role has evolved as my fiancée has taken over a lot of the details, at his own insistence. He wants to be as independent as possible, which I understand amidst the feeling that something has been taken from him. But there is no handbook for the emotional journey, and it is totally unpredictable. Some days, I feel like superwoman, fully confident in my problem solving abilities. Some days, I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, knowing that when you are a caregiver, that is simply not an option.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi @mar11668, I want to thank you for standing by your fiancee as a caregiver. It is not an easy task, but we the sick appreciate the courage to take this long walk. It indeed is a long walk, and you’re right there’s no handbook. We all have our good and bad days, and that is completely okay. Take one day at a time. Best!

  • Anthony Carrone moderator
    11 months ago

    @mar11668 – I am sorry to hear that your fiancee is sick. I know this experience is no walk in the park for either of you and I want you to know we are always here for your support. I can totally understand him wanting to be as independent as possible. He is a lucky man to have you by his side as you both go through this journey together. You are so right about a caregivers journey being unpredictable – Just as someone who is living with blood cancer, caregivers will have good days and bad days, and that’s okay. The most important part is that you have each other. Some people have found that writing about their experiences as a caregiver or patient is helpful in coping with the situation. I’d like to invite you to share more of your story on our storyboard if you felt comfortable of course! Click HERE to check out or post on our storyboard. Please keep us updated on how you and your fiancee are doing! Sending virtual hugs and positive vibes your way, Anthony (Team Member)

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    12 months ago

    Caregivers go through many of the same emotions as those of us who are ill. They are also just as an important part of recovery as medication. When something as terrible as cancer hits, it’s almost impossible to do it alone. Great information. DPM

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