Monthly Archives: June 2015

Coping with Fear…Caregivers as Cheerleaders

Aloha friends,

Larry’s recent post shares his experience with his first round of chemotherapy in a very creative way.  Through an email to our family and friends, written as the “event” of receiving the drugs was going on, he creatively and I might say, lightheartedly told his story.  He was ready to begin the chemo treatments, however,  I was terrified!!

For those of you who know me and those who I hope to know through this blog, I have always approached difficult situations by facing the challenge and finding a positive solution as quickly as I can. In this way I feel in control and can move forward pro-actively to turn a negative situation to a positive.  My favorite saying is, “The good news is”, which helps me to cope with even the most dark moments.

I must admit that I was having difficulty finding the good news, I wanted to protect him from the trauma of chemo. My negative mindset was based on testimonials from acquaintances and friends who had experienced treatments, as well as, many articles that I had read.  The reality of great nausea, listlessness, good cells being killed off, a weakened immune system, loss of hair…all of that was palpable, but the reality that the drugs he would be given could kill him caused me to dread the onset of treatments. I knew that our decision to use Chinese Medicine and acupuncture as effective alternative methods of treatment was a great one, but with the cancer becoming more aggressive after 4 years, chemotherapy was the only alternative.

A great challenge for me as a Caregiver, I could not let him know of my intense fear, my next step was to don the hat of cheerleader. As he entered the hospital for his first round of treatment, I was at his side to provide support and confidence that all would be fine.  Together we visualized the tumors disappearing as the drugs did their work.  I was able to listen to his concerns and respond with statements that provided him comfort and “good news” so that we both looked forward very positively. As the days passed, it became clear that chemotherapy was not the dreaded poison that I feared, rather, we could visibly see the positive effects right away.

As I continued to research, I learned the importance of an organic diet and consistent exercise to assist in the healing of his body.  We will talk about what I did and what worked best for Larry in my next post.

Please take care of each other,

Bobbie

 

 

Researcher and advocate; what do you have to lose?

Aloha fellow Caregivers,

I apologize for my absence from posting these past few months.  As we Caregivers know, it is a strategic balancing act to continue to support our loved ones through the daily routines so critical for healing, while continuing to meet the demand of our own careers and lives.

As an educator, these past few months (February to May) have been extremely busy for me, which has consumed my time from blogging.  I coordinate teacher education programs at Leeward Community College on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. With preparing for a national accreditation visit, teaching multiple classes and attending to administrative duties, I have found little time to attend to what is very important to me….. creating a support system for fellow Caregivers.

As a teacher for over 30 years at the elementary school level, as well as at the College level, I have found that I wear similar hats in my career as I wear as a Caregiver; I am a teacher; cheerleader; advocate; researcher and nurturer, always with positive thoughts and a “Can Do” attitude as I work to make a difference in this world.  My mantra of, “The good news is” permeates my everyday life and provides strength for me as I face obstacles and challenges.

As a Caregiver and advocate for my husband, I refused to accept the words, “there is no treatment” when we were initially given the news of his diagnosis. As I shared in my last post, I spent hours wearing my “researcher hat” and was driven to find a positive outcome which would lead us to a clinical trial.  I remained confident that my dream of finding a solution would come true….one Saturday morning in 2013, my dream came true!!!

I found a clinical trial at Stanford University Medical Center specifically for Mantle Cell Lymphoma. After reading the summary of the trial and the qualifications for being accepted,  I knew that Larry was a perfect candidate.  I immediately sent an email to the clinical trial coordinator, writing from my heart to describe my husband.  Mid afternoon I received an email back from Stanford telling me that Larry met the criteria for admission to the trial with more detailed information as to the next steps to follow.

I know that the thought of your loved one entering a clinical trial can be frightening, however, our belief was what did we have to lose? We believed that a clinical trial would provide the latest treatment protocols and the most up to date research for his disease.  Not only will the vaccine trial and bone marrow transplant provide healing for Larry’s disease, but also provide hope for generations to come.

I encourage you to share your reflections and stories as we continue our conversation as Caregivers and advocates for a fulfilled life.  I look forward to hearing from you on Caregiver’s Corner!

Aloha,

Bobbie

 

 

 

 

 

As I shared in my last post, I wear many hats, my priority is Caregiver, however, in my career as an educator, I find myself wearing the same hats, caregiver, advocate, researcher and cheerleader.