Side by side. Every step of the way.

Pigeon or Statue?

Posted on October 18th, 2010

by Gail Hamm, program director

Support Groups are great places to share information and support your fellow cancer sojourners. One night, Tom shared with the group that we could choose to be the pigeon or the statue. He wasn’t talking about the merits of flying versus being rock solid. He was talking about our choice to be either the victor or the victim.

There are certainly lots of times during cancer and the treatments when we may feel put upon. But the only way to survive is to fly like a pigeon. To be alive. To make choices. To not become the statue that all the pigeons roost upon.

Which is it for you? Will you be the pigeon or the statue?

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Caregivers and Patients

Posted on August 23rd, 2010

by Gail Hamm, Program Director

The caregiver is the unsung hero in the medical journey. Caregivers provide hands-on care and encouragement. They may provide care as an act of love, from a sense of duty, or out of feelings of guilt. Whether caring for a loved one at home or in a nursing facility, the truth is that nothing is the same as it was before the illness.

Schedules revolve around the needs of the patient. Hard choices abound: Is my loved one safe alone while I am at work? While I run to the store? While I head to the mailbox? There are frustrations over added laundry, money worries, lack of help. Many find it extremely difficult to ask for help and therefore create even more challenges for themselves.

As the caregiver becomes more fatigued and frustrated, feelings of resentment may arise. Previous relationship problems only complicate matters. Will I care for this person who has caused me so much pain in the past? Am I not justified in walking away? Guilt feelings abound, sometimes paralyzing the caregiver into inaction.

Additional problems arise when the patient’s needs are greater than the caregiver’s ability to provide that care. If the caregiving lasts so long that there appears to be no end to the journey, the caregiver may become overwhelmed and feel ready to give up.

Conversely, caregiving can be a most rewarding experience. It is an act of love that can draw people closer together and deepen love and understanding.

No one has to “go it alone.” There is help available if both the patient and caregiver are willing to be open to other options. Call a Cancer Services advocate for assistance. Nothing is the same as it was before the illness, but it can be good.

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