Category Archives: Family Relationships

Having Pets

I grew up always having pets: Cats, dogs, horses, iguanas and other lizards, even a tarantula that survived over 12 years. My kids, on the other hand, haven’t had the luxury of living in a menagerie of cuddly critters. My two youngest are extremely allergic to nearly anything with fur.  Too much time with the wrong animal and they can wind up in the hospital—it’s happened. Fortunately, we’ve found an animal that no one is allergic to and we all love—gerbils! I was opposed to getting them in the beginning. Now, I’m their #1 fan. There’s good science to back up the benefits of having pets around. Having Pets can help the Elderly We have a neighbor who recently turned 92. She still walks her Read more…

Grieving During the Holidays

While the holidays are meant to be a time of joy and family gatherings, when you are faced with cancer, there is a real mixture of emotions that come at this time of year. That’s because whether you or a loved one currently has cancer, or you’ve lost someone close to the disease you will feel the full effects of grieving during the holidays. Our Story We discovered my husband’s stage IV lung cancer at the end of October, just a couple of days before our 3rd wedding anniversary, a couple of weeks before his 52nd birthday, 3 weeks before Thanksgiving, 2 months before Christmas, and then 2013, the year he would statistically die.  In 2 months’ time, we trudged through all of these days Read more…

listening to others

As a caregiver, it’s easy to get caught up in your own problems and miss seeing someone else’s. That’s a trap you don’t want to fall into. It’s just an invitation to your own personal pity party.  Sure, you need to talk to people about what’s happening, but there comes a time when you’ve talked too much. Then it’s time to listen. One of the easiest ways to encourage a friend is by listening. Ask them how they are doing. How is their family? It’s likely that they have something difficult happening in their life, as well, and could use a listening ear. Often people hesitate to share their troubles It’s common for people to feel uncomfortable sharing the difficult things they are going through. Read more…

Journal

As a writer, keeping a journal has always come naturally to me. I first wrote in a journal, after reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank. I was touched by how she had one place to turn to when she needed to express her deepest held feelings, longings, and fears.  She was living in a small space with a lot of people and yet, the safest place for her thoughts was in the pages of her diary. Different ways to journal Since then, I’ve always had a journal of some sort. Although, the way I use them has varied. As a young girl, like Ann Frank, I chose to write down my dreams. Which boy did I have a crush on? How Read more…

Hug Someone you Love

I’m not a very physically affectionate person, but there are definitely times when a hug is the best medicine. There are plenty of reasons why you should hug someone on a regular basis. Reminders of Childhood Hugging someone harkens back to the safety of being a child in the loving arms of a parent or grandparent. When you feel as though one more thing will be one thing too much, and burn out is approaching, taking the time to hug someone you trust can make a tremendous difference. It can also open the door to a more intimate and transparent conversation about how you are feeling and what you need to get through this time. Hug someone to reassure both of you that your relationship Read more…

Young Adult Caregivers

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 Increases Creativity. Young adults, ages 18-26 take a close second to infants, when it comes to being overlooked and under-supported, as they live with a parent’s cancer diagnosis. To drop them off the radar when they turn 18 is really a disservice to them. Even though their emotional and physical growth has slowed down, having an adult body does Read more…

Date Night

The first time my husband and I went on a date, it was to the local coffee shop. He was playing it safe. If the date was a flop, at least it wouldn’t cost him a fortune and the night didn’t have to run long. I was having a problem with my hearing. I could barely hear a word he said over the background hum of the shop. So, I smiled and nodded. Apparently, it worked because he asked me out the following week for dinner. Eventually, we got engaged. One night as we were on our weekly date, we were talking about our upcoming wedding. Dan told me that he intended to keep dating me. “Every week from now on, we are going to Read more…

survive the holidays

Surviving the holidays can be difficult when you or someone you love is literally trying to survive the holidays. This almost always means the celebration will look different. I’ve put together a few thoughts and tips to give you a leg up. To survive the holidays you must first accept that things will be different. You won’t be participating in the cookie exchange or Christmas caroling. Things that were once fun, are in this new reality, exhausting. Even if you do have the energy to do them, they may zap your reserves so that you’re left burned out. One of the best things you can do is to recognize that the holidays will look different this year—maybe from now on. That’s okay. Change is a Read more…

recurrence

The metaphor of a rollercoaster is often used to describe cancer, and for good reason. The ups and downs of your emotions, your schedule and the status of your health affect a patient and their family from the moment you suspect there’s a problem. This is especially hard for children, who have far less information than adults do, about what’s happening, They depend on their parents to help them know how to respond to these peaks and valleys. The first thing you can do to help your children through a recurrence of your cancer is to assess how you’re handling things. The good times After enduring the hard times of cancer treatment and finally being declared NED, in remission, or even “cancer-free,” you want to Read more…

Holiday Stress

Holidays like Christmas usually mean getting together with family. It’s part of what makes the holidays special. But, it can also be stressful. Sometimes family relationships are strained, adding anxiety to the mix. What makes this worse? How can you cope with stress within your family, especially during the holidays? Part of it will depend on personality. What’s your personality type? Are you typically: Laid back, able to roll with whatever comes at you? Uncomfortable with changes in your life, even positive changes? Quick to see what could go wrong, and able to find solutions to those problems? Always able to keep a positive outlook, even if that sometimes means avoiding the possibility that something could go wrong? Prone to depression or anxiety, unable to cope Read more…

Dear A to Z Challenge Bloggers,

A week ago, my husband was put on in-home hospice. While I had my posts written and scheduled to post, in advance, I have fallen behind on returning comments. When I am able, I will certainly so so. I value your comments and your blogs. Thank you for understanding if I am delayed. The hardest thing I have ever done is helping my husband prepare to die.

A to Z Challenge Survivor

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