I was 8 months pregnant waddling into a hospital room. I spent 46 nights filled with fear and days spent trying to get him home. I had fought the term caregiver for 3 years.
Are you the caregiver? A nurse would ask.
I’m his wife. I’d answer.
I’d take the notes as doctors came out of surgery rooms to explain what had happened inside. I’d make the phone calls to family to pass on the message.
I went to work and worried on chemo days. Then quit work to worry along with him.
I watched Joe’s mom take care of his dad. 7 years of angst. She took on jobs he’d always done. She knew the names and spelling of medications you could hardly pronounce. She was now the driver, never to sit in the passenger seat and let your mind wander. A caregiver has to always take control. There is no rest time. No time off.
A caregiver is the doctor, the nurse, the messenger, the therapist, the cheerleader.
I pushed IV fluids, changed ostomey bags, and cleaned bedding in the middle of the night. At the time, I felt so alone but I now know the reality that there are people all over doing just what we did. We faced cancer hand in hand.
Joe and I were inspired to turn our mission towards caregivers when I received a gift from a stranger. A woman I had never met sent me a message telling me I had a pre-natal massage waiting for me at a spa just a mile from the hospital room. I was nervous to go but it was a gift I could never fully repay her for. It was a few hours alone and filled with rejuvenation. In those moments I learned the importance of taking a moment for yourself so you can be everything to everyone else around you.
I went from a woman who was struggling to put one foot in front of the other to one that had a newly energized outlook and was ready to take on the day, whatever medical complication it had in store.
This is why our mission is focused on the caregivers of cancer.
Can you believe we raised nearly 5,000 for Amy Duda and her family? Amy’s husband ended up at the hospice house the day after our fundraising. She was off work to be by his side and address pain issues. They’re back home now as she worries about how to explain all that is happening to their little boy. She was in tears the day I called her and asked her to be a Cocktails and Chemo caregiver. This is what she wrote me,
Amanda, I can’t say thank you enough. The outpouring of support has been beyond what I had ever imagined. You gave me the courage to put the news out there for the world to see. We had told our nearest and dearest friends the full story but others were really in the dark. It was one of those things that it never seemed like the right time to tell person x, y, or z. It feels like a weight is lifted off my shoulders. I have struggled reading the comments from donors and supporters. I have refreshed the page many times but can I handle it a little bit at a time… That is just how hard excepting help is for me. Thank you for the extra (needed) push to overcome that hurdle too.
If you’d like to nominate a Cocktails and Chemo caregiver you can do it HERE.
Our goal is to select one caregiver a month and feature them right here on the blog. It will give us a chance to give, pray and support the caregivers of cancer who need it.
We will be sending care packages to these deserving caregivers too! If you’d like to donate items to a care package you can email me at Amanda@CocktailsandChemo.com
Our 501c3 is currently pending and we are planning some exciting events.
A huge thank you to our Cocktails and Chemo friends and followers. I talk to Joe all the time about what we’re doing. He would be over the moon to know that this is his legacy. On a personal note, thank you for supporting me. I put the energy I used to put into Joe now into these caregivers and I truly believe it’s what is helping me get out of bed each day.