Facing your life when it has been touched by cancer may mean you feel:
- limited, blocked or even paralyzed by the diagnosis of a loved one
- frustrated or angry with long term symptoms, side effects and the up and down roller coaster ride that can go on for years
- unsure of how to find the energy to be engaged in life
- fear of the unknown
- uncertain how to create a plan for your life that integrates the changes chronic illness generates
- scared about your future and the impact chronic illness diagnosis will have on you and your loved ones
- a desire to be in charge instead of feeling victimized
As someone who has taken on significant roles as a caregiver, I understand the compassion you bring to wanting to look after your loved one. I also understand that without support we can end up paying a huge price. Click “Because I Said So” to read about how it nearly cost me marriage.
When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, it can turn your world upside down. Often, the last thing on your mind is what you need. Once your loved one gets a treatment plan in place, follows it through or as they live the “new normal” post treatment and beyond, your concerns and worries don’t lessen. In fact, they often compound with the lack of self-care by the caregiver.
The reality is, if you don’t create some consciousness around your needs and practice your self-care, like a boomerang, it will come right back at you eventually. The sooner you implement a plan to thrive, the better.
“We” have cancer…
It’s not uncommon at some point post-diagnosis for the caregiver to slip into “we” thinking ~ from my loved one has a chemo treatment to “we’re going for chemo today.” It’s a slippery slope of enmeshment and, though understandable, it is a red flag moment.
Even though at diagnosis, you too experienced a million questions zooming through your head and most likely landed in overwhelm, you need to create and define clear boundaries for yourself.
In the days, weeks and months post-diagnosis, there is a process you go through whether you are the person receiving the diagnosis or the caregiver. The medical team develops and carries out a strategy for determining the status of the illness and one or more treatment options.
There are many experts in the field of cancer or whatever medical challenge you are facing. They will present specific tools and resources for understanding and managing the diagnosis, treatment and beyond. As the caregiver, you’ll most likely take on a role similar to head researcher or chief communications officer. And the more information that comes in, the more roles you’ll likely step into ~ transportation coordinator, nutritionist, medications specialist, insurance liason, financial analyst, cook and everything else that needs to be done to keep daily life in order.
Dealing with cancer doesn’t have to be a train wreck!
My approach to coaching clients when cancer impacts their life is to view it like a set of train tracks. There are two rails. The medical plan and diagnosis makes up one track. It takes time, energy and resources to manage this aspect as the caregiver even though it isn’t you with the cancer.
The second track is the track called your life. In addition to track one, you need to understand how to manage and have a life as the medical treatment unfolds.
In the early days of Gary’s diagnosis, we were naturally consumed by the process of researching cancer care programs, treatment options and trying to anticipate how Hodgkin’s was going to impact our lives. But once we had track one handled and a plan in place, we did a good job of giving some attention to daily living.
There are issues, concerns, feelings and aspects of grieving to be done that come along with a diagnosis. One of our greatest fears is that of the unknown. Chronic illness tends to open the door to what initially can feel like a vast, unending void. But no matter what you are facing as a caregiver you have a right to living a balanced life that has meaning and purpose.
Will you survive or will you thrive?
Often we go into survival mode. Thriving seems impossible. Yet it is possible and by taking the i-Thrive! Assessment we can ascertain as to whether you will go through this challenge white knuckling it or if you can integrate the tools and resources of coaching so you are empowered and able to thrive in spite of the circumstances. Will you be victimized or lead in your life through conscious choices?
Coaching is there to support you as you learn to manage a life in the face of a cancer or other chronic illness diagnosis. The i-Thrive! Assessment can help you:
- optimize your physical energy levels
- uncover your secret energy stash
- discover ways to reduce stress caused by worry, anxiety or fear
- assess 7 key areas of your life where you can flourish instead of just surviving
- realistically evaluate your resources and ensure you are investing them wisely in living a life, not just treating an illness
Each person’s journey through caregiving is unique. There are is also common, shared ground we walk on. Consider me your reluctant expert…and let me help. I don’t regret it, but I paid a high cost as a caregiver. I can help you and your loved ones navigate your path to healing in a way that, together, we reduce the collateral damage so you can live through and beyond the experience without losing so much precious time to fear, worry, conflict and low energy.
Are you ready to thrive?!
Contact me today to find out how a coaching program can support you through this experience as powerfully as possible.