Last week, we profiled Assunta, who has dealt with endometrial cancer since 2011. Her husband, Phil, who was also affected by her diagnosis, thrust into the role of caregiver when she was undergoing treatments and recovering from surgery. This is his experience with suddenly becoming a caregiver.
How did you adapt to life as a caregiver when Assunta was sick? Once you take on some of the daily living it's easier to adapt to the life as a caregiver and everything pretty smoothly. Sometimes it's only small things like making the bed, emptying the dishwasher but a household that runs as close to normal as possible helps not only the patient but also the caregiver.
What was the most challenging part of care giving? The most challenging part of care giving when you were sick was not getting overwhelmed by seeing your discomfort from chemo, radiation and other side effects. It's hard to see someone you love sick. You can't minimize what they are going through, yet you don't want to inflict on them your own fears. It's important to be realistic but also optimistic. All and all you should try to stay balanced emotionally when helping a loved one fight cancer, but it isn't an easy task.
What did you learn about yourself through the process? I never thought of myself as a caregiving-type person but found it came fairly easy for me. I was surprised that when Assunta was diagnosed I was able to, so to speak, roll with the punches and there was no panic on my end.
What did you learn about Assunta? She put herself in survival mode and didn't become pessimistic. She’s so strong!