We often read stories about cancer caregivers who, after becoming patients themselves, gain a new perspective toward their role in treatment. But sometimes, the reverse occurs. Recently, Michele Longabaugh, RN, found herself in that very position when a friend who had been diagnosed came to her for comfort and guidance.
Whether a patient or a caregiver, cancer takes a toll on all those involved with treatment. Longabaugh writes that even having gone through cancer treatment herself, she was not prepared for the devastation of watching someone else go through that same experience:
I didn’t know what it was like to look at my face as devastating news was delivered to me. When my mind failed to grasp what the doctor was telling me, I didn’t know that’s how it felt for my dearest ones to have to retell the horrible news to me so I did understand. When my hands moved to cover a shocked face as tears came, I didn’t know about the helplessness those that cared for me felt.
Sometimes it’s tough to remember that caregivers face their own unique struggles. But aiding others through tough times, even if we have been through similar experiences ourselves, reminds us how necessary they are.