The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Are you a person that makes new year’s “resolutions?” I used to be. You think that you are going to get a fresh start in the new year and you resolve to do your life differently. Sometimes it may be losing weight, exercising more, being kinder, a better person in some way or another. Well, I finally figured out that I don’t have to wait until a new year to start.
Take that verse from Lamentations at the top. The love of the Lord never ceases and are new every morning. Everyday we should strive to be a better person then we were the day before. We have 365 days to resolve to be something better. Starting today, resolve to make everyday a new start.
This is Joe, my husband, in 2012. At this point we still had three years to go before he passed. We were married for 36 years, some very difficult and tumultuous times but also some very good times as well. During the last 16 of those years (almost half!) I was his caregiver and advocate.
It started with a diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme, or a cancerous brain tumor. From that start he went through 2 craniotomies, whole brain radiation and Gamma Knife radiation. His scalp and skull started to deteriorate from the radiation and then came six or more (I lost count) small surgeries to close the scalp that continued to rot away. He also went through Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments for 53 days to try to help heal the scalp. He finally had two cranietomies (removal of the skull) one to repair and the second to repair the first one. While going through all this he also had COPD which complicated all surgeries. The end of his journey wasn’t cancer; he was cancer free. His brain was deteriorating just as his scalp was. The doctors could replace and heal the outside, but the brain was damaged. He finally succumbed to the strokes and seizures from the damage to his brain.
I wanted to introduce you to his story because my story is entwined with his. I can’t tell my story in these blogs without any reference to Joe. Would I change the past if I could? Yes, only so that Joe wouldn’t have gone through so much. What we went through together is what has molded me into the person I am today, and I’m still changing, trying to be the person the Lord would have me be.
If you have any questions about the treatments that Joe went through, please leave a comment or you can contact me through the email address listed to the right.
Caregiving is close and dear to my heart. I feel for the people who work in the background for a family member who needs constant help just to function in day to day living. I know what it’s like to be exhausted and to have outsiders always ask “How is ____ (you fill in the blank) doing?” and they never ask “How are YOU doing?”. The disappointment and anger of having to deal with family members and others who just don’t get it. The feelings of helplessness when you can’t ease the pain or discomfort of the person you are taking care of. The frustration of dealing with hospitals and doctors who think you are a trained nurse and can do all the care. You see, I took care of my husband for 16 years before he finally passed five years ago. I know the grieving process so well because I went through it time and time and time again.
I’m going to be open in this blog and I may talk about some hard subjects but there is one thing I learned in my 16 year journey; there is always hope. Hope for your patient, hope for you, hope for your situation. I grew so much, personally, in those 16 years because I trusted Jesus through it all. Did I do this perfectly? Absolutely not! It took me years.
This blog is for you, the caregivers out there who want to say “I can’t take another day”, and then take a big breath and tackle the impossible. The caregivers who fall exhausted into bed each night. My hope is that you can find hope and help here. I would love comments, because we can talk to each other about our pain and our weaknesses. We can share our thoughts.