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  • 10 Tips For Struggling Caregivers

    Cancer.

    It’s something I just don’t really talk about anymore, and when you ask about my mom, I usually just blow it off and say, “She is doing good!” But here is the low down over the course of months….

    Things change, as they often do during your battle with cancer. We can’t seem to get the cancer out of her lungs even with the IV drip that we have her on at the moment nothing seems to be dropping her CA125 marker.

    She is struggling so badly with energy to walk from one room to the other. And how on earth she is still working, deliver your mail, I have no idea! it’s getting harder and harder for her to function in everyday life activities. Even walking is becoming harder for her. Example: the other day, she couldn’t believe it came down to her grandson pushing her in a wheelchair for the first time. Our day started fine, but within the two hour of going to the mall and eating at the food court. It turned south really quick. We ended up going home after she was put in a wheelchair.

    If she isn’t out of energy she is constantly coughing. The coughing doesn’t stop. She can’t carry a full sentence without coughing. It’s wearing her out so bad, but not one ounce of her will stop to rest. I know in her mind she thinks, “if I quite working, I’ve given up. I’ve let cancer win”.

    Trying to make light out of a bad situation, my dad and I jokingly say, we will find her laid over on her steering wheel because she just won’t stop. But it’s far from funny. Seriously, it’s worst pain anyone could ever experience seeing a love one go through. I know they say, losing a child will forever change your life, but so will losing your parents. To be honest, anyone that you spent your entire life with, and losing them is something we surely can’t ask, why?! Remembering they ultimately, like us, belong to God.

    As a caregiver or as a human trying to encourage someone to keep moving forward isn’t that our job to put Jesus in their hearts, to help them realize He is there to help remove the fear? To remove the clutter and other negative thoughts that blocks the sound of God’s voice within them?

    within the last few months she has had a few more surgeries. One to blow powder in her lungs to help with pleurisy, and have fluid drain off her lungs. She was in the worst pain of her life one night, and had to be given Dilaudid. I’ll never forget the story of her telling me or anyone else for that matter, how she felt. This picture was taken right before the surgery and the night of her pain. She had a tube sticking out of her rib.

    Speaking of ribs, she also had a minor surgery to remove scarce tissue that was also causing her pain. Yes, she has been through hell!!

    But good news, she just recently got a new lymphedema machine. Lymphedema. That’s another thing she is struggling with on top of everything else!

    But wait guys, there is more! Yep, it’s amazing how one little tiny human can go through she goes through and still receiving chemo, which by the way, makes her so nauseated. And this isn’t even the worse chemo (yet)

    she also just had a recently trip to a local urgent care because she wasn’t feeling well, if you can believe that! You can assure that everything we are going through those parking lot birds don’t scare us.

    Just look at that sad little face below. Man, I feel so sorry for her.

    But still delivering your mail regularly …

    But she does have good moments.

    This is so hard ya’ll. My mother’s cancer journey has brought God to me, and through relationships of some of the most important people, I now, can’t imagine my life without, but this still doesn’t take the pain away of my reality. That is the only thing I can thank cancer for is showing me how to know God. He is the only reason I’m pushing through and dealing with losing my mother to cancer. There is a saying that, “we must love until it hurts”. Well, I can tell you that’s exactly what I’ve learned what Jesus has done for me.

    I want to share a few personal feelings that if you, a caregiver are like me, and need that extra inspiration today you can get it right here on Paradise Roads.

     

    1. Empathize yourself in their shoes, think about how they might be feeling or acting or thinking if you were in the same situation as that person dealing with cancer. Have patients. The meaning of compassion is to suffer with them, even if you aren’t able to fix the situation.
    2. Educate yourself on cancer. Leave the hard stuff to the professionals, but in the meantime, reach out to support groups, don’t be afraid to make a list of questions for the next doctors visit, and reach out to other caregivers!
    3. Take care of yourself. When you as a caregiver experience too much unhealthy stress it can affect your heart and mind, which ultimately affects your ability to stay calm, peaceful, and happy in front of your patient. They need you. They are counting on YOU!

    4. I struggle with (FOMO) the fear of missing out. Seriously this is a real thing and not some hashtag for a blogger brunch. For me, the day of FOMO is like this … “I’ll regret not seeing my mom this afternoon”. “I’ll miss not calling her on lunch today”.

    Please don’t stress these small things. If you are a caregiver and you need to rest. REST! Don’t beat yourself up over a missed call for lunch or not bringing breakfast. Pay attention to your mood and thoughts.

    5. Stress can be defined as the experience of perceiving that you are unable to meet expectations. Ya’ll this is my motto, “it is what, it is”. Period. You can’t do a magic trick.
    6. Quote scriptures, this does help me …. when the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come”. Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:26-31
    7. Think of your opportunities that some people never get the change to have.
    8. PTSD is another real thing that can happen to caregivers. For me, it’s like each one of my thoughts is a blade on a ceiling fan, but after a while each blade spins off and becomes a new ceiling fan with MORE BLADES. Meaning situations like cancer can be traumatizing. This only makes you strong in life, and don’t you EVER forget that.
    9. Listening. When we listen to someone going through something, we are also helping them listen to themselves. What difference would we make, if we didn’t listen to them? You understand what I’m saying here??
    10. Pray. This personal tool is my favorite.

     

    Best Wishes,
    Kacie Carlson

     

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