My mom is a breast cancer survivor. She is in remission and doing better (she has other health concerns we are managing) but when she told me of her diagnosis I was so afraid and upset. I was so hurt because there was nothing I could do to take this illness away.
I automatically thought her diagnosis was a death sentence. Trying to give the illusion that I was strong and tough was important to me because I didn’t want to make her upset. I tried to keep up a guard after learning about her illness. Well lets just say I was only lying to myself!
Only 8 weeks after my mom told me out of no where I was experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain and heart palpitations. I was going back and forth to the ER and Cardiologist all of the testing came back normal. Finally an urgent care doctor suggested going to see a therapist because it sounded like I was having panic attacks. I took his advice, got a therapist and discovered he was correct. Anxiety was causing the panic attacks. I was so stressed out trying to be strong for my mom while also dealing with my own health issues and it became too much. Just being able to talk about everything helped immensely.
Im sharing this story because I want to stress the fact as a care taker, you have to try and take care of yourself and seek support so that you can be there and present (not checked out) for your loved one.
Listed below are 5 things that continue to help me as I care for my mom.
1. Prayer and meditation
2. Building a support system of friends and family to step in and help
3. Not being afraid to ask for help
5. Practicing self care without guilt
Be encouraged, you’re stronger than you think!