8 Things I'd Like For My Caregiver To Know

Dear Caregiver,

You are my rock. This fight is hard. It's taking everything out of me. But you are there for me through it all. You help me when I'm sick. You let me sleep when I'm weak. You take care of my home, my kids, cooking, cleaning, and more. I could not fight this battle without your love and support, but there are a few things I'd like for you to know.

1. It's hard to let you help me sometimes.

I used to be able to do everything for myself, and now… now, I am a shell of who I used to be. My body is constantly in a fight for its life. I'm tired. I want to be up and able to take care of myself. I want to take care of my home and my kids. I want my life back. I may be grumpy and snap at you now and again. Please remember not to take it personally.

2. You may not know it, but I’m jealous of your health.

I don’t like to say that because it's not your fault I am sick. I don’t blame you in the slightest. But I am jealous that you get to go out and have a life. I know you need more than just taking care of me, but I miss being normal. I may seem ungrateful when I voice this need. Please understand it's not your fault.

3. Please make me laugh.

I need to not take life so seriously sometimes, especially when this illness makes it serious. So please, make me laugh. Take me away from the pain and sickness. Help me to forget the worries. Rent a movie, be goofy, sit in my bed and enjoy my company, make jokes. Please laugh with me.

4. When I vent, don't tell me that I'm going to be ok.

I am sad. I am frustrated. I am angry. I am scared. I need to cry, and you need to not judge. Hold me. Don't tell me that I’m going to be ok. Don't make false promises. Just hold me. Love me. Be there for me. Let me tell you what I feel. You don’t need to say anything. You may be uncomfortable with this, but I need to do it. Just let me talk. Cry with me. I know you are scared,too. Please know it's ok to show it.

5. Please be patient and remember I'm trying my best.

I want you to understand what I am going through, but realistically, you never will. And I won't understand what you are going through either. But we need to try. We need patience with each other. I'll try my best. But remember what's going on inside my body. Everything is coming together and I am overwhelmed. I may forget that you have needs too. Please be patient.

6. Remember that I know my body and mind better than anyone else.

When I am up and moving, even when I am given the news that I have "no evidence of disease," I'm still fighting on the inside. But I can tell you when your caregiving is not needed anymore. Let me tell you that I can do the laundry, that I can care for the children, that I can clean the house, but also let me tell you when I am tired, when I just need to rest.

7. Don't forget that cancer has taken a toll on my mental health, too.

I need you to understand that even though I may be "NED," I'm still scared. Every new health concern from here on out will remind me that cancer can return. Please trust me.

8. Most importantly, I want you to know I am grateful.

You keep me going. You give me a reason. You do what I can't. For that I say, "Thank you!"

With all my Love,

Your Breast Cancer Warrior

Another version of this post originally appeared on Breast Cancer Sisters.

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