Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 42

Conversation

LETTER FROM THE CEO

BEING A CAREGIVER FOR A LOVED ONE WITH CANCER PRESENTS CHALLENGES ranging from loss of personal time and space, career changes, financial

burdens, feelings of hopelessness, and overwhelming fear and dread. And, with
Covid-19 and social distancing, people living with cancer now have reasons to
question their vulnerability to another life threatening disease.
Our family encountered this sense of vulnerability after son Steve had his
cancer related back surgery in February.
Husband Harry and I had planned for Steve to stay with us until he
healed and was able to live safely on his own. Thankfully the surgery went
well. However, by March we were faced with Covid-19 and son Steve needed to remain with us beyond the anticipated six - nine weeks.
I laughed when Steve said "Mom, the way things are going I will be here
until June!"
Really?
Fortunately we like each other! And of course, Steve is welcome to remain
in our home for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please don't think I am trying to diminish the severity of the current pandemic crises. I am known for using the mechanism of humor to reduce personal stress. Life isn't easy. Caring for loved ones with cancer requires emotional fortitude, empathy, dedication, strength, and patience (for yourself
and others). Knowing that this situation is impacting our lives, I thought it
best to provide some coping strategies while social distancing.

42

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
JUNE 2020

ACCEPT IT: One of the first
things you need to do for yourself
is accept what is happening. Your
loved one has cancer. You are sad,
angry, afraid, and frustrated. Accept
and identify your emotions. Why,
you may ask? Well, when we accept
our emotions and situation we can
allow ourselves to move on to other
tasks. Ask yourself, what is important today?
Example: "I am a bag of nerves.
It really breaks my heart to see my
daughter dealing with her cancer
and being stuck living with me. I
wish I could control the situation.
But I know I can't! She gets mad
when I ask too many questions and
walks away from me. She senses my anxiety. I need to come to
terms with my fears about tomorrow and accept my lack of control.
I will enjoy my time with her today
and in turn improve our daily
interactions.
FIND JOY: So you are stuck in
the house with your loved one
during this time of social isolation.
What can you do to bring a little
joy and happiness to each other?
What is it about this time that
brings a smile to your face and that
of your loved one?
Example: "At least two - three
times a week we play Scrabble
together. We don't play for points.
We laugh at our goofy/silly words."
ME TIME: Can you carve out a little time for yourself on a daily basis?
Being a caregiver can be emotionally and physically draining. What do
you do when you need to escape? Do


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Elephants And Tea - June 2020

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