Coming Up for Air

Many people recall the precise moment they learned that a loved one was terminally sick. It wasn’t just traumatizing for their loved ones; it was also heartbreaking for them.

I still remember the day my wife got her diagnosis. The doctors told us she had a brain tumor, and I remember my world stopped moving. It was like I was drowning, and I couldn’t breathe.

My darling Angela had been a 10-year breast cancer survivor when we learned she had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.

Being The Support For My Wife

Our world shattered.

And in the days and months that followed, I did everything I could to assist her. When she cried, I wiped her tears, and when she was overwhelmed, I calmed her down.  

And I wanted to say and do everything properly.

I wanted to learn more about physically and emotionally caring for my wife. But I couldn’t find it on any support groups. And what I also didn’t know was that I had to look after my emotional and physical well-being too.  

So, I turned to literature, and I was stumped. There was nothing there. This is why I tell caregivers today the importance of self-care and therapy and why it is important to come up for air when trying to save a loved one from drowning.

hopeless husband leaning on wall

The Analogy of Coming Up For Air

Cancer patients endure a great deal, both physically and mentally. Sometimes it just feels like they are drowning, and you are responsible for saving them. But swimming for two is not easy.

A cancer survivor has several hurdles, ranging from the agony of chemotherapy to the continual anxiety of losing this battle.

As a result, it’s always a good idea to offer them a secure area where they may openly express their feelings and what they need to feel better.

And it is even better for you, their life support- to come up for air yourself. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Therapy and Counselling:

Being able to confide in someone frequently helps exhausted caregivers avoid emotions of isolation and impotence. Those who receive frequent emotional support are better able to avoid burnout, deal with challenging care decisions, and balance their own needs with the needs of their loved ones.

Did you know that 35% percent of caregivers find it difficult to make time for themselves? 29% said they struggled with stress management. This is why I make it a point to highlight and stress the importance of self-care and counseling in all my books.

 Caregivers without these often feel anger and frustration because they are always taking care of someone who is irritable, easily agitated, or frequently walks away.

There is fear and anxiety and a constant feeling of loss.

How To Deal And Fill Your Cup:  

I, Patrick Palmer, am a caregiving activist and writer and serve as the chair of the Angela and Patrick Palmer Research Fund. After the death of my wife, I became a caregiving and cancer research advocate. Read my books on how to support caregivers of cancer patients and on how to prepare to be caregivers.

My books, ‘A Husband’s Guide to Hands-On Caregiving,’ ‘The Healing of a Caregiver and ‘Are You Prepared to be a Caregiver,’ are available on my website. Or you get my books from here.