When we hear of cancer diagnosis, the first thing that comes to almost all minds is the patient going through cycles of chemotherapy, battling out and getting tired. But have we every stopped and thought for a while, what a cancer diagnosis means to the care giver of the patient? A cancer patients immediate caregiver, goes through as much trauma, strain-both physically as well as mentally, anxiety, sadness etc… The caregiver is the biggest pillar of support to help a cancer patient in his fight against the disease.
Dad’s diagnosis of colorectal cancer way back in March 2010, came as a shocker to all of us. But for one person it was more than a shocking news. It was the beginning of a battle, a fight, and a journey to provide the best care to him.
Mother has never really had it easy in life. A tough mother-in-law and a short-tempered husband dominated her early years of marriage. And when things had just started looking better in the later years, her only brother passed away, leaving her to take over the responsibility of her 90 year old mother. So with dads diagnosis, she was all alone taking care of him as well as my aging granny.
A cancer patients nightmare is chemotherapy. The side effects of these sessions are aplenty. Fatigue, loss of appetite irritability, are a few of them. Mom handled each and every one of these side effects dad was going through. She worked out a diet plan for him. High protein, fruits for energy and alternative herbal remedies to reduce fatigue.
And if chemo is a nightmare, adjuvant therapies such as Avastin and Erbitux are horror shows. Erbitux especially caused skin problems and rashes. He used to cry in pain, of his face being on fire. So severe were his side effects that his irritation was directly aimed at mom. And hats off to this lady. She endured it all.
Dad sure fought cancer well for almost 5 years. And a strong factor in his being able to wage this war was because of Mom’s constant support and care. She fought with him. She was his armour. Towards the end of his life, I could clearly see him getting tired of fighting, slipping away and knowing clearly he was losing out. She probably felt the same. And just prayed his end come peaceful.
It sure did. Cause the pain commonly experienced by most cancer patients towards the end, lasted in him for only a day or so. Mom felt relived. She may have lost the battle, but she’s come out of it a stronger person.