By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family

Category Archives: Caregivers

denial and Cancer

In the beginning, we heard everything the doctors said and read all the information on the kind of cancer my husband had. The word “terminal,” kept showing up, but we filtered that out. It didn’t make sense to us. We thought that if they could just blast those cancer cells to the moon with chemo, radiation—anything, then he would be okay. This myth only grew more solidified in our minds with each improved scan. When we saw the treatment was working, we thought there must be a chance he could beat the cancer. We were in denial. Nearly 9 months in, he was NED (no evidence of disease). Did the treatment work? Was his cancer gone? When I asked his doctor about it, directly, she Read more…

Baby Steps for resilience

Realistic goals are an essential part of becoming resilient on a cancer journey. Unfortunately, too many people have unrealistic goals. This leads to frustration; frustration with others and frustration with themselves. Thankfully, with some time and practice, these habits can be changed. Baby Steps toward Your Realistic Goals Realistic goals start by realizing that life is made up of baby steps, more than grand leaps and bounds. If you’ve ever been a runner, you know that a person can sprint at high speed for a short distance, but they could never run a marathon at that same speed. They would quickly burn out. It’s all about pacing, to ensure they can go the distance. Starting is Easy In the beginning, we start with a lot Read more…

Learn more about something

This is an important question for everyone. one I recently proposed to my dad. He recently quit his job and immediately found himself going stir-crazy; bored out of his mind. I said, “Dad, what do you want to learn more about?” He’s already highly educated, but there are no limits to what we can explore in this world. Why am I writing about this on a cancer blog? It can be all too easy for cancer to take over your life. Whether you are a patient, a caregiver, or another family member, your life can quickly be taken over by the big C. We may not get bored with life like my dad, but we can certainly feel like there is nothing worth waking up Read more…

Joyful

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is J for Joyful Despite Cancer. How can you feel joyful… …when a loved one has cancer? When we first learned that Dan had cancer, we were stunned. How could this happen? How could my husband of 3 years, be given a death sentence? I felt devastated, even angry. We went through all those classic stages of grief. I was even disappointed in Read more…

The ideal you

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is I for the Ideal You vs. the Real You. One aspect of caregiver guilt that I want to look at more in-depth, is the idea of the ideal you versus the imperfect, real you. The ideal you taunts the real you whenever you don’t measure up. Not doing “enough?” Often we have expectations of ourselves that no one could reasonably meet. These Read more…

Priceless4purpose

We’ve recommended Priceless4Purpose and Mystic Views to several friends facing cancer and they have had as good an experience as we did. Spotlight on Giving Back: Priceless4Purpose Being diagnosed with cancer plunges patients and family members into the quicksand of physical, financial, mental, and emotional overwhelm. It can be hard for patients to take a break in order to refresh. Priceless4Purpose: The Steve Bartlett Cancer Non-Profit Organization. is doing something about this by providing an opportunity for patients and a companion to stay at Mystic Views, a bed and breakfast in northern Minnesota. Cindy Bartlett knows the strain that cancer can put on people, as much as anyone. The story of this unique respite service began in 2005 when Cindy and her husband Steve decided to start Read more…

Authentic

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is H is for Honesty: Your Authentic Response. Let’s be honest, Who Cares about HIPPA? I was originally going to write about HIPPA for H. But, really, who wants to read about HIPPA.(1) Instead, I thought I would write about something that many caregivers(and patients) tell me they struggle with—Honesty. “Being authentic” might be more accurate. The dictionary defines authentic as “of undisputed Read more…

HIPPA

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is H for Understanding HIPPA. Before you or your loved one ever get to see a doctor before they’ll even bring you back to an appointment room, the receptionist is going to slide a bunch of forms across the desk and ask you to sign. Some of them are forms that record your health history. Among these is a form about who the clinic Read more…

Caregiver Guilt

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is G for Guilt Caregivers Feel. Are you blaming yourself for things that are beyond your control? Most family caregivers feel some degree of guilt, regardless of how good a job they are doing caring for the responsibilities and relationships in their lives. Caregivers often burden themselves with guilt. Caregiver guilt is not only fruitless but caustic. Don’t beat yourself up for making Read more…

acceptance

I love this picture as an image of acceptance. The ocean is bigger than us, and more powerful. Yet, there are people who will grab a surfboard and ride a wave that they have no control over. This man is getting a face full of salt water, accepting it even reveling in it. But, when you are facing something as life-changing and (arguably) as terrible as cancer, whether your own or that of a loved one, it can be a difficult thing to accept. Yet, acceptance is a key part of resilience. But, how do you do that? How do you accept something like cancer, and what exactly does that mean? The Mental Process of Acceptance The mental process of acceptance is simply making a Read more…

Funeral Home

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is F for Funeral Home – First Visit. Even though My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October 2012, we didn’t visit a funeral home until 2018. We knew that we needed to at least get some information. We also needed to make some decisions. Dan hadn’t even decided on cremation vs. burial. I think there’s something about planning a funeral that Read more…

Exercise lowers stress

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is E is for Exercise Lowers Stress. You may not be able to change the things in your life that are causing you so much stress, but you can do things to improve your ability to handle it. There are several ways that exercise lowers stress. Don’t worry. I’m not advocating that you beat yourself up at the gym every day, but regular Read more…

Depression

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is D for Depression in Caregivers. When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, all of my attention and energy was focused on finding out as much as we could about his disease and the potential treatments. With each new treatment, we adjusted to different side effects. We tried to help our daughters through the roller coaster of emotions they were experiencing. We Read more…

Critical Family Members

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is C for Critical Family Members. I am fortunate to have a close family who is very supportive, but critical family members are a common source of stress for caregivers. Critical Family Members As a caregiver, you are likely stressed and at times feel underappreciated and unsupported. You may also be dealing with caregiver guilt. Having critical, family members can be especially difficult. Read more…

Boundaries

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is B is for Boundaries & Caregiving. Sometimes as a caregiver, you can get so focused on taking care of your loved one that the boundaries between you and the patient can get blurred. Setting boundaries in your caregiving relationship can ease both caregiver burnout as well as the guilt that both the caregiver and patient often feel as a result. “There are Read more…

Anger and Grief

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is A is for Anger & the Grief Process. When someone you love has cancer… You grieve. Anger is very often one of the early manifestations of that grief you may think of grief with the death of a loved one, but grief is a response to loss. This could be the loss of your health, your job, a relationship, or a lifelong Read more…

caregiving

This April I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Every day (except the 2nd -5th Sundays) bloggers post to their blogs something that pertains to a specific theme (usually) as well as the letter of the alphabet assigned to that day. Today is the day when participants reveal their chosen theme, or if they are going to go themeless. Since I am deep in the trenches of caregiving, this year Facing Cancer with Grace’s theme is… Caregiving Five years ago, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. His doctors didn’t expect him to survive very long. I was a new caregiver, unsure of how to approach this new role. Since then, I’ve learned that caregiving is hard. That might seem obvious, but Read more…

a shift in perspective

Today we’ll continue to look at resilience and how when things get hard, we can bounce. We will look at 4 ways a shift in perspective can make a big difference in our lives as we face cancer (whether our own, or cancer in the life of a loved one). Avoid seeing crises A shift in perspective doesn’t mean going into denial or sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich (which by the way, they don’t actually do). It just means that you reserve crisis mode for a real crisis, rather than situations that might someday turn into a crisis. Some people are natural worrywarts. They do what a former pastor of ours called horriblizing. They find the drama in every situation and Read more…

grieving flowers

everyone grieves differently, but people grieving often have a lot of similar experiences and feelings as they go through the process. This is a snapshot of my first month. The first month after my husband died was awful. I’d just lost my best friend, the person I did everything with, my business partner. We were together 24/7 and we loved every minute of it. Then, suddenly, he was gone. Maybe not so suddenly, since we had 6 1/2 years of cancer before he died, but it was still a shock to my system. Death always is. Trauma There was also a level of trauma that we all experienced, not just from the day of his death, but from all of the days that preceded it, Read more…

cancer survivorship tip

When people hear that my husband has survived for 6 years with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer they often ask me what our top cancer survivorship tip would be. So in honor of his 6th cancerversary, I have put together some of the best advice we have used and continue to use. Cancer Survivorship Tip #1 Get Educated I don’t mean that you should read articles filled with pseudoscience. You should find out exactly what kind of cancer you have and what the newest and older treatments for this cancer are. How can you expect this cancer to affect your life in the near future? One of your best resources will be your oncology team. That brings us to the next tip… Cancer Survivorship Read more…

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