An Interview With My Caretaker

During my blood cancer journey, I had one main person who became my caretaker, his name is Jordan. We started off as friends, then I made the move to be with him and he became my boyfriend. After a few years, we broke up but we still were the best of friends.

Throughout all of this, he took care of me. He drove me to appointments, helped me remember what my doctors had told me, sat with me, listened to me, stayed around through all of my tears and rage, and did his best to help me when I was sick from the chemo and side effects.

Then last month he proposed! I’m engaged! We’re both very happy. Since Jordan is in the unique position of being my caretaker not only as my friend but also as a romantic partner I thought it would be cool to interview him from his point of view.

What were you thinking when I first told you I had cancer?

When you first told me you had cancer I thought that- I guess my first thought was fuck. And then my next thought was, well what are we going to do to get you better? I guess I was already trying to think of a plan in a sense. Because that’s what I do, I plan for things. Trying to figure out, you know, How bad it is, what's going on with it, the extent with it.

Did my having a cancer history deter you at all when you were thinking of proposing?

Your cancer did definitely cross my mind, but I wouldn’t say it had anything to do with my decision. Because I love you.

What was the hardest part for you as my caretaker?

Really it was just being patient, because there were a lot of times when you were upset and I didn’t understand why. So it was just being really really patient. And it made me feel like I couldn’t express anything that was bothering me because you had cancer. Like I wasn’t allowed to feel well, in my brain that’s how I processed it. So it was like I had to be better then better. So I felt like I couldn’t allow myself to feel anything.

What advice would you give other caretakers? Especially ones who are romantically involved?

Just allowing patients to feel how they want to feel. There’s really no right way to say anything in my personal opinion. Just showing that you care and that you’re there for them is the best thing that I could do. That and being patient.

Because you’re never going to know exactly what they’re going through in their head. So the best thing to do is just try not to get offended by anything that may upset you because it’s not them trying to be rude. It’s just that they don’t know how to express themselves properly because they don’t even know how to process what they’re going through yet.

What confused you the most during my cancer?

The fact that the doctors didn’t make sense in the beginning. Like, it was like they didn’t know what they were talking about and that confused me a lot. That was upsetting, because they would tell you one thing and do something else. And then the fact that they were giving you stuff that you were allergic to didn’t make sense to me in my brain either. But the longer the process went the better doctors you got. So I guess it was really confusing to find the right doctors to take care of the right problem.

What is the hardest memory you have of taking care of me?

Oh God…uh…probably…oh! For me personally it was shaving your hair. That was very very hard on me because I knew it was hard on you. It was a very traumatic experience for you.

I want to thank Jordan for helping me through what was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through in my life. Although thank you just doesn't seem to be enough to fully encompass how he stepped up. I don't know how I would have coped if you weren't there. I love you and here's to the rest of our lives!

Warm wishes, Katelynn

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