Caregivers are Cancer Survivors, too

Cancer caregivers are CO-SURVIVORS and need ENCOURAGEMENT, too, because we also experience the JOURNEY from the moment our loved one is diagnosed with cancer. We face our own FEARS, we find our own COURAGE, we keep the FAITH for our loved one as well as our family, friends, and support network. We need SUPPORT and HOPE so that we will remain STRONG and SURVIVE ourselves. At the HEART of the matter is this: We need to face and EMBRACE LIFE when it CHANGES.

Learn how to ask questions of your doctors | Read helpful books for caregivers | Seek inspiration | Get great music |  Rejuvenate, relax

"Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self, and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch." — Parker Palmer, author of "Let Your Life Speak"

FINDING SUPPORT FOR YOURSELF AS A CAREGIVER

American Brain Tumor Association's new “Orientation to Caregiving” Handbook

American Cancer Society Cancer Survivor's Network

Brain Tumor links - our list of organizations that were indispensable on our journey.

Cancer Care - Fact sheets on variety of topics from this national non-profit organization

Cancer Caregiving - Tools to help you help. In addition to their site content, also check out their vast list of other organizations that can help you.

Cancer Survival Toolbox The award-winning Cancer Survival Toolbox® is a free, self-learning audio program to help people develop important skills to better meet and understand the challenges of their illness.

Caregiver.com From the editors of Caregiver Today magazine, this site ofers much support plus a free Fearless Caregiver Weekly Newsletter.

CareGivers4Cancer.com a support site with tips, tools and techniques to educate and assure caregivers and oncology teams there are ways to ease the journey’s relentless demands.

CaringBridge offers free, easy-to-create web sites that help connect friends and family when they need it most.

Family Caregiving 101  is a place to find assistance, answers, new ideas and helpful advice — for you and your loved one.

Lance Armstrong Foundation at www.livestrong.org inspires and empowers people affected by cancer. LAF helps people with cancer focus on living. From the moment of diagnosis, the LAF provides the practical information and tools you need to live life on your own terms. Contact the LAF to request your free LiveSTRONG Notebook, a great way to organize and prepare for medical appointments and track medications and treatments..

Lotsa Helping Hands provides a free community coordination service for people going through life crises. A patient’s multiple communities can log on to see what the person needs and sign up for specific tasks, from bringing food to running errands to providing transportation to walking the dog.

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) offers free publications and resources that empower individuals to become strong advocates for their own care or the care of others. NCCS also advocates for changes in how the nation researches, regulates, finances and delivers quality cancer care.

National Family Caregiver Association is a support and advocacy group that helps caregivers answer "How do you stand up for yourself, take care of yourself and find a balance between your own needs and those of your loved ones?"

People Living With Cancer (www.plwc.org) by the The American Society of Clinical Oncology provides information for those recently diagnosed or undergoing treatment for cancer.

RedToeNail.org, an online community for people with cancer. The site allows anyone to set up a secure blog (see CURE, Summer 2005) to record what is happening in his or her cancer experience. Friends can log on and ask for e-mail updates whenever an update is posted. Your blog is whatever you make it. Friends and family can leave comments, discuss and contact you through the blog. It can be open to the public or visible only to those you invite.

Strength for Caring is a large website full of tips for coping as a caregiver.

Students of Ailing Mothers and Fathers Support Network College students supporting college students grieving the illness or death of a loved one.

Tug McGraw Foundation provides resources and support to improve quality of life for people with brain-related trauma, PTSD, TBI, and brain tumors, as well as foster understanding, promote awareness and stimulate research and scientific collaboration.

Well Spouse Association offers resources for coping and survival skills, an on-line chat forum for spousal caregivers, organizes regional respite weekends and a national conference for caregivers, and much more.

See more sources for positive encouragement...

MY CAREGIVER STORY:

I BECAME PRIMARY CAREGIVER TO MY HUSBAND when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, a gemistocytic astrocytoma grade 3 to be exact. That was in November 1998, when we were both 33 years old and our son was 4. We're all survivors today... I've written a book to tell the whole family's tale—learn more about the book, Damocles' Wife. I am no longer married to Scott, who is traveling the world, tumor free---we are both living new "books" in our lives (beyond just new chapters). My other online place is EmotikinWorld.com, which is my tribute in itself to transformation from caregiving to creative living.

Read a short version of Scott Vickroy's Brain Tumor Success Story, which will then take you to links on brain tumor treatment and hope.

CAREGIVER & CANCER SURVIVAL STATISTICS

More than 65 million people are caregivers, 29% of the U.S. population, providing care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.  Of that number, 66 percent of caregivers are women. Three of four families will find themselves caring for a cancer patient. See more enlightening caregiver statistics from the National Family Caregivers Association.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that nearly 12.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive in January 2009 (this is called Prevalence). Unrecognized in this statistic are the cancer caregivers who also survived the ordeal, at least 12.5 million if you count one caregiver for one patient. (Source: SEER)

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Approximately 1.68 million men and women will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. (Cancer Facts & Figures 2012).

More people are surviving cancer. The 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2001 and 2007 is 67%, up from 49% in 1975-1977. (Cancer Facts & Figures 2012).

Over 28 million cancer survivors live worldwide. See the many reports on survivorship issues by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Read Scott Vickroy's Brain Tumor Success Story