Because I live in Baltimore how can I not begin my blog with talk of the Preakness! This weekend concludes the 139th Running of the Preakness and it was an amzaing event! So happy the weather finally cooperated and there was sunshine for the Black Eyed Susan afternoon events. We had great bands, tons of celebrity checking out our charm city and of course perfect conditions for California Chrome to win another race!
I think it is when we think that things can only go one way, based on someone’s research or opinion, and it ends up not going that way, but surprise’s us with a better outcome, it makes me want to continue to fight my disease, to continue helping Caregivers get the time they need and deserve, and to share my story with others so that they too may find a way to make it through another day. Seriously, 139th run of the Preakness in a city that is scrutinized for crime, slow to change, and a million other things; the Preakness comes into town for one weekend in May and the entire city and county is walking on cloud nine. Everyone wants to get in on the action and find a positive way to be part of the event. I think that this is how loved ones are when their friend, relative, spouse, child is faced with a terminal prognosis. How – you ask?, Well, all the patient and the Caregiver hear is a lot of up and down feedback. “Oh, yes Judy, this drug can work wonders, but it comes with 100 side effects that you won’t like.” “But, if you try this shot Judy, you will only feel pain for this many days, and then you will start to feel better.” Or, maybe I, Judy, need to trust my gut and take a little break right now and give my body a rest and then start up again in a few weeks.”
As much as your Caregiver wants the best for you, they need to trust you and know that you know your body better than anyone. Just as the owner of California Chrome knew he wasn’t ready to sell California Chrome yet, and just as the “Jockey Committee” knew it wasn’t the time to move the Running Of the Preakness to a new city, we, the Patient, know when we are ready to continue with a treatment or take a break. Being surrounded by positive people that trust our judgement and decision making, understand how vital that is for our will to fight. We also can tell when our Caregivers need a break! We want them to have a break. In fact we demand that they take a break! I think, that for many of us, it pains us to see how tired, stressed out, and sometimes depressed our Caregivers get because they are afraid to ask for or accept time off to refresh, renew, recharge. This makes the Caregiver a better Caregiver and the patient and a better patient. We all want to know what it feels like to be that jockey that is sitting on top of California Chrome when her flower wreath is placed on her neck and how the jockey feels when he is handed his trophy. Everyone involved in the success of that win is suddenly on the stage waiting to be noticed. WHen you are a stage 4 cancer patient and things are going well, all your caregivers (close friends, relatives, neighbors, etc..)want to be acknowledged for how they contributed to this great feat. But there are times when you don’t win, have a hard time with the meds, can’t eat, can’t sleep, need help but don’t want to ask for it, etc… The only person in your corner raising their hand with yours and saying it’s okay, we will find a better drug next time, or lets try a new doctor, or a new hospital,etc.. is your main Caregiver. The one that puts up with your moods, your pain and even your poop (or lack there of) and gets up with you when they know they have a big day tomorrow, or takes you to the ER at 3 in the morning. These are the hero’s, the 1st Place winners, the trophy acceptors. Let’s not forget to show them that after the rain there is sunshine and rainbows, and after a long cold winter, we can have warm days of summer coming, and that even the unfortunate changes that some of our neighborhoods have suffered, we can find a bright path to CaringOn. So next time your patient is not doing so good or your Caregiver is depressed, invite everyone to raise hands with them to reinforce the positive that each one person can give to another and then the fight to go on may last a lot longer than ever expected!
Have a great week. See you next week – Keep on CaringOn!!