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Conversations About Cancer: Debunking the "Right" and "Wrong" Words

Monday, January 27, 2020

How do you begin — how does anyone begin — to communicate in the face of certain and impending death? Do we have to? Did my dad want to? At the time, we all struggled with what to say to him, and everyone else struggled with what to say to us. But now, eight years after his passing, I finally understand that those “right words” that we were all searching for — they simply don’t exist. In fact, there are exactly zero words in the English language (or any language) that cure cancer, solve complex mental health issues, or bring people back from the dead.

Redefining Home

Friday, January 17, 2020

Place matters, especially when home must be redefined because the person with whom you made a home is no longer alive.

Parenting My Grieving Children

Friday, January 10, 2020

Grief comes in waves, in ebbs and flows, even for three-year old toddlers. That first year without Brett was a pendulum of conversation, reasoning, and tears. But there’s nothing easy or linear about parenting, let alone parenting grieving children. I learned not to expect too much from myself or from them.

The Reality of Grief

Friday, January 3, 2020

When at last Brett died, I expected peace, not chaos all over again. I’d buried him prematurely in my dreams throughout his illness, bracing myself, I suppose, for the inevitable. Now that he was truly gone though, I was unprepared for the tidal wave of grief within me. The first few months after Brett died were a blur.

A Beautiful Death

Friday, December 13, 2019

The toll of Brett's cancer on his body made home hospice no longer a viable option. After his most recent seizure, he was admitted into hospice. Going into hospice was almost a relief. I lived with premature anticipatory grief for years knowing Brett's cancer was incurable.

Caregiver's Perspective: Shifting Moments

Friday, December 6, 2019

Being Brett’s wife and caregiver was a complicated role, and it strained my nerves. It was hard to simply rest my head on his shoulder the way I used to, or to express my own need for emotional intimacy and comfort when the gravity of his illness loomed large. I bounced back quickly from hurt feelings because there was no choice but to be present when we our time together as a family was diminishing. Every moment mattered.

3 Essential CSC Resources for Caregivers

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Cancer Support Community (CSC) strives to transform the lives of individuals whose lives have been impacted by cancer. This includes caregivers who support patients at each stage of the cancer experience from diagnosis to post-treatment. One way for CSC to understand more about the needs of caregivers is to ask caregivers to share their unique stories through the Cancer Experience Registry® (CER), an online research initiative that seeks to further understand the wide-reaching impact of cancer.

Out of Options

Friday, November 22, 2019

Six years into her husband's cancer diagnosis, Nancy Sharp felt cancer's toll on their marriage and children. Like many caregivers, she learned to cope and adapt, even as Brett's brain tumor progressed and treatment options failed.

Caregiver’s Remorse

Friday, November 15, 2019

Nancy Sharp was a new mother wanting to go on her first family vacation with her husband and twins, but even that isn't so simple when you're a cancer caregiver.

For Cancer Caregivers, Even Nanoseconds Count

Friday, November 8, 2019

For cancer caregivers, life is lived even down to the nanosecond. Time for me has become less a measurement of the day than the minutes.

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