Tag Archives: cancer

The Caregiving YoYo


You Can Never Plan The Future By The Past ~ Edmund Burke

YoYoHow many of you liked to play with a Yo Yo when you were a kid?  I would guess that just about everyone has taken their turn, spinning their Yo Yo up and down, controlling the string, holding steady, flipping the device backwards to impress.  As I have thought about how our Caregiving journey has begun in 2014, I see a resemblance to that of a Yo Yo:  Up and down, backwards and forwards, spinning all around.  Unlike a Yo Yo, Caregivers have little, if any control over their Caree’s, health which makes for so much uncertainty when you try to plan ahead.

 TLO finished 2013 with a bout of congestive heart failure that kept us from traveling to Florida‘s west coast to visit his family.  I could tell leading up to the day we were supposed to leave for Tampa that something different was brewing with his health which necessitated an unplanned trip to his PCP.  With a few days of additional diuretics, and a new 6 day steroid pack, TLO was feeling great as we moved into 2014.

Mindful that we have now had two trips derailed by unexpected health calamities late in 2013, we set our sights on going on a week-long cruise starting on Saturday, January 11th.  Our travel plans for January 11th ended up being derailed again by another unexpected health calamity. Unable to get out of bed the day before the cruise, and the following two days after the cruise sailed, necessitated an emergency call to his PCP, then followed by another unplanned visit to the doctor’s office.  The consensus was that it was unsafe for him to go on the cruise; disappointment does not accurately describe how we both felt when I had to make the call to cancel the cruise. (Yes, I did purchase the insurance!)

 With an uncontrollable nose bleed, only exceeded by excruciating back and leg pain  necessitated TLO to stay in bed for 3 days; there was sheer puzzlement about what was going on with his body.  The pain he was experiencing was different, the nose bleed was troubling, and the concern was mounting.  His current pain medications were not providing any relief, “What’s going on here” we both thought!  The relief started to slowly take place on Tuesday after an injection administered by his PCP and a new round of steroids which started the following day.  However, during the visit with the PCP, the concern is that the Cancer has spread to the bones in his hip and leg; we’ll know more after TLO completes another MRI.  As the week progressed, TLO admitted that he had been fearful of dying because of the intensity of his pain and discomfort.

Thankfully, just a few days after the injection and a new round of steroids in his system, we were able to get TLO out of the house for a trial run.  As the week progressed, the nose bleed disappeared and his pain is at a manageable level.  “I wish I would have felt like this on the day we were supposed to leave for the cruise,” TLO said just last night.  ‘I would have wished that, too’ I concurred.

While it may seem easy for some of us to control a Yo Yo by keeping it steady and close to the ground; Caregivers are always rewinding, trying to avoid that uncontrollable spin, looking for that gentle ‘touch’ that will keep our paths steady.   That is why I like what Edmond Burke had to say…“You can never plan the future by the past.”  If we were to look solely on what was in the past, we would lose hope.  Hope is one of those intangible items that makes those difficult Caregiving days plausible. Without hope, there is no planning, no future, no means of survival.  Hope brings anticipation, hope brings comfort, hope brings the excitement… Hope is what keeps us going!

TLO Rest

TLO Friday, Jan 17

We all know our health is unpredictable.  Sure, there are plenty people like ‘TLO’ who have similar  health concerns in front of them, but to take away one’s hope is like removing medicine.  Without hope, there is no future; without a plan, there is no hope!  Yes, we are going to plan another trip soon and when the day arrives for us to leave, we hope that we will be well enough to go.   While I’m mindful of the past, I can’t worry about it  because by worrying about the past, takes away the hope that we create. Once we lose our hope, we have let the cancer beat us.  Because, you see, we might have cancer, but cancer does not have us! 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

8 Comments

Filed under Cancer, Caregiving, LGBT Caregiving

Thursday’s are always ‘Hug A Family Caregiver Day!’


Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul ~Democritus.

Caregiving can sometimes be hard…

But Hugging a Family Caregiver is easy!

thursdays

encouraging-words-for-caregivers

Caregiving Heart

Be on the look out for my new radio show, “Healing Ties” from ‘The Bow Tie Guy”  

Random

Enhanced by Zemanta

2 Comments

Filed under Healing Ties, Hug A Caregiver DAy, The Bow Tie Guy

Thursday’s are always ‘Hug A Caregiver Day!’


The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it. ~ Mother Teresa 

Give the gift that keeps on givingGive a Caregiver a Holiday Hug this year! 

Holiday Hugs

 Remember… Caregiving can sometimes be hard…But Hugging a Caregiver is easy! 

thursdays

Be on the look out for my new radio show in January called…”Healing Ties ” from 

bowtie guy rainbow 2_199

Related articles

Leave a comment

Filed under Healing Ties, Hug A Caregiver DAy, The Bow Tie Guy

Thursday’s are always ‘Hug A Caregiver Day!’


You must do things that you think that you cannot do ~ Eleanor Roosevelt  

Caregiving can sometimes be hard:

But Hugging a Caregiver is easy!

thursdays

encouraging-words-for-caregivers

Caregiving Heart

Listen to: 

cjmbtr (1)

‘”Be A Healthy Caregiver” is on hiatus while “TLO” is undergoing radiation treatments.  We plan on being back on the Air in January!

Can’t listen live…NO WORRIES!

All of our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ are archived for your listening convenience by clicking here! 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Healing Ties, Hug A Caregiver DAy, The Bow Tie Guy

The Second Time Around


The only source of knowledge is  experience ~ Albert Einstein 

supportIt has taken me a couple of days to wrap myself around the fact that TLO started Adult Day Care this week.  We have chatted about this option for a number of weeks, but to have this day come to  reality, really hit home for both of us on Tuesday when we got in the car and motored our way down to the Noble A. McArtor Adult Day Care Center.  

Herman1(1)

Herman and TLO; Circa 1998

We both have had  previous experienced Adult Day Care, so we were coming from the knowledge of experience, yet that knowledge was just about to turn into our reality as we headed south on highway 95.  “Herman wouldn’t go to Day Care; I finally asked him to at least go for a week, to test it out, to give it a try, to at least help me out” TLO said!  “I guess that is exactly what we are doing today, too!” I responded!   (It has to be that knowledge and experience thing!)

TLODaycare

TLO and Michael Norfleet, Agency Director

As we arrived at the center, we were greeted warmly by the staff and the participants.  It wasn’t too long before the agency’s director, Michael Norfleet came to meet us, we chatted for a bit and then before I knew it, they were both sitting in the lounge chairs, chatting up a storm.  It was then that I knew that the day was on…and time for me to make my quick exit! It was also then when they day actually hit me square in the eye and I started to cry.

I have no doubt that the McArtor Center is the best place for both of us. Established in 2004, The McArtor Center focus is to meet the needs of the LGBT community Noble_McArtor_logo2_140in Broward County, Florida and the center is the first of its kind! In the LGBT community, many seniors in need of daytime or respite care have no option but to attend day care programs that are not open to, and understanding of the special relationships and needs of gay and lesbian seniors. The Noble A. McArtor Center was founded by an extraordinary team of individuals whose vision created a safe, open and home-like atmosphere for all seniors and their caregivers to enjoy, regardless, and supportive of any sexual orientation or identification, race, age, gender, religion or economic level.

rjo 021

Fr Orlando celebrates his 58th anniversary of his ordination at the Center 2005. Helen and Sonia remain good friends of mine today!

Yet, there is more to the history… More to the knowledge… More to our experience… And more to our story!   Father Orlando’s was one of the first participants to attend the McArtor Center in 2004.  Upon his arrival in Florida in July of 2004, we both agreed that we would need Day Care to help us manage our days. I was a very ‘green’ Caregiver at that time! I remember coming across the center in a newspaper article and was hooked on the first visit. Then I remember what Fr. Orlando said to me on our first day…”I’ll give it a try for a few days to see how I like it!”  Whew, did that sound familiar!   

 Valentine_Kids_QuoteHe, well…we…never regretted one day of our stay at the center and in fact, the socialization and positive attention that Fr. Orlando received  at the center, revived his life and his ministry, which aided him (and me) when he made his peaceful life transition in 2006.   Now looking back almost 10 years, it is amazing to have come full cycle and return to the center.  The staff is different, the participants are different, but there is one thing that is the same, unconditional love!

 Of course, I don’t know what the future holds for us. Now two plus weeks past his radiation treatments, TLO is slowly starting the healing process.  It is going to be an uphill struggle. My guess is that the healing process is only going to be aided by the unconditional love demonstrated to us by the staff at the Noble A. McArtor Adult Day Care Center because as Albert Einstein said: “the only source of knowledge is experience! “

You see…We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

20131015-224223.jpg

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Seniors, Never Alone

Progressive Holiday Blog Party with Caregiving.com


Caregiving_Logo_Small1 2013_blog_party-300x199Welcome to the Progressive Holiday Blog Party 2013

Greetings!  ‘The Purple Jacket’ pleased to join the 2013 Progressive Holiday Blog Party with the wonderful members of Caregiving.com.  The Community at Caregiving.com  is like having an extended family;  I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group!

TLO_Certificate

I graduated from radiation!

For those first time visitors to ‘The Purple Jacket’ welcome and Thank You for stopping by!  I blog about my Caregiving experience for my partner, who I loving refer to as ‘The Little One.’  He was diagnosed with esophagus cancer in August of 2011.  Given three to four months to live, he has outlived all predictions.   Yet in October of 2013, Cancer has returned to ‘The Little One’ with a vengeance as he was diagnosed with Cancer on the spine.  With three tumors on his spine; ‘The Little One’ just recently completed 30 radiation treatments.  For the most part, he is pain-free at the moment, my that continue!

While each one of us deals with the reality of cancer in a different way, each 20131015-225104.jpgone of us wants to look on the bright side of life. Yesterday is gone, today is here, not sure about tomorrow. It is our hope that lets us withstand problems; it is our beliefs that let us find solutions.

I have been blogging here and at Caregiving.com for almost two years now.  The Caregivers I have met along the way have become a part of our family.   While our Caregiving journey’s might be different, Caregivers have this innate ability to understand each other, to be there for each other, to care for each other.  

Things that I am looking forward to in 2014:

My Blog Talk Radio Show, ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’  has been on hiatus since October, but will be back on the air in January with a new title, ‘Healing Ties.’  You can visit my Blog Talk Radio page and listen to archived versions of the show by clicking here! 

I will be (returning) to studying Theology at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine with the intent to finish my Thesis, ‘The Social Sin of Geriatric Care in America.”

I hope we do another CareCruise in 2014!

To learn more about me,  I invite you to visit my ‘about page’ on my website by clicking here.

bowtie guy rainbow 2_199

 We Might Have CancerBut Cancer Does Not Have Us!

TLOCJM

Related articles

 

7 Comments

Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Caregiving, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors

Thursday’s are always ‘Hug A Caregiver Day!’


Caregiving can sometimes be hard:

But Hugging a Caregiver is easy!

thursdays

encouraging-words-for-caregivers

Caregiving Heart

Listen to: 

cjmbtr (1)

‘”Be A Healthy Caregiver” is on hiatus while “TLO” is undergoing radiation treatments.  We plan on being back on the Air in January!

Can’t listen live…NO WORRIES!

All of our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ are archived for your listening convenience by clicking here! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Healing Ties, Hug A Caregiver DAy, The Bow Tie Guy

It’s Never Too Late To Start Over


We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated!~Maya Angelou

TLO_Certificate

I graduated from radiation treatments!

Our second bout of Cancer started to unfold when we were discharged from Imperial Point Medical Center in early October with the news that TLO’s cancer had entered his spine.   It was a somber drive home that warm Saturday afternoon knowing that three tumors were lurking on his spine;  the added ordeal of facing more radiation just exasperated the diagnosis. Those first few days home after the diagnosis  was quite difficult… For both of us.  I’m still not sure what was worse; the revelation of what was inside of him, or the anticipation of starting the rigorous treatments that were in front of us?

Caregivers know that through all the turmoil, we hope for a ray of light toHoldTight shine through our Caregiving day, to take the edge off so to speak.  Our ray of light happened this week as TLO completed his six weeks of radiation treatments.   Those six weeks were like riding a roller coaster, or maybe one of those amusement rides that spin you upside-down.  (I always hated the ones that went upside-down)  It is hard to get a handle on your day when your day is in constant motion.

Never too LateDuring these last six weeks, there has never been two days alike; Cancer kind of does that, we’ve learned! We wake up each day not knowing how the day will enfold; Cancer kind of does that, we’ve learned! We look back at these past six weeks and wonder, “how did we get through this mess;” Cancer kind of does that, we’ve learned! We really don’t know what lies ahead of us; Cancer kind of does that, We’ve learned!  It’s never too late to start your day over;  Cancer kind of does that, we’ve learned!

Completing radiation treatments is  significant because it allows us to start Certificate side (2)over again.  There are no more treatments, nothing else to do other than to let the healing process start!     Sure, there will be a follow-up  MRI and CT scan to see the results of the radiation.  However, we have no control over what those results will entail.  We can only control how we feel, and how we will deal with those results.  

There is no doubt that this round  radiation has taken its toll on TLO.  For him, dealing with going to radiation on a daily basis is more difficult than dealing with the fact that he has cancer.    I find that revelation difficult to understand, but so thought-provoking!  It’s important to remember that we are wearing different shoes on this journey.

022

 As we move into a different phase of our journey, we continue to hope for a gentle breeze at our back.  We’ve done what we could do to combat the tumors, we’ve made the proper adjustments to our care team and we are thankful for the great staff at the South Florida Radiation Oncology in Coconut Creek and Emerald Elite Senior Home Health Care in Wilton Manors .  I’m grateful to the Executive Director at SunServe, Mark Ketcham and my colleagues at work for their support and understanding.  Our extended family at Caregiving.com, where would we be without you?

As a Caregiver, we often think that we can go at it alone, that we don’t need any help.   While we have the ability to start our day over, it makes it easier to start our Caregiving day over when we have passengers to help  guide us through the journey.  I’m thankful for our Care Team!

You see…We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

cjmbtr (1)

Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is on hiatus until January 2014 while ‘TLO’ is undergoing radiation treatments.  To listen to  archived episodes of our show, simply click here! 

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

 

5 Comments

Filed under Cancer, cancer treatments, caregiver, Caregiving

Happy Thanks-Caregiving


You must do things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

ViolenMan

 We are Thankful for those who are Caregivers today:

We are Thankful for those who will be Caregivers tomorrow:

We are especially Thankful for those Caregivers whose journey has past. 

We share  in our Caregiving Journey in a special way, knowing that while our Caregiving roads might be different, our paths are filled with comfort and joy from the support we receive from each other!  

Thank You for being a part of our Caregiving Journey.  

From our Caregiving Journey to yoursHappy Thanks-Caregiving         

The Bow Tie Guys!

You see…We Might Have Cancer...But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

cjmbtr (1)

‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is on hiatus until January 2014 while ‘TLO’ is undergoing radiation treatments.  To listen to  archived episodes of our show, simply click here! 

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

3 Comments

Filed under advocacy, Advocate, caregiver, Caregiving, Live Love Laugh, oncology

Whose Journey Is It?


 The longest journey you’ll ever take is from the head to the heart. Regina Rosenthal 

As we come to the end of the 5th week of palliative radiation treatments, the word ‘journey’ keeps resonating with me.   Our recent journey with Hospice of Broward County proved to20131023-101238.jpg be bumpy; we’ve moved on from that  bumpy road and have brought in new ‘friends’ to help us continue on with our journey, we’re hoping for smooth sailing as we forge ahead on our ‘new’ path.

There are so many components when planning a journey.  GPS devices have become the fad; some might even spread out an old fashion map on their kitchen table to highlight the path of the journey.  Planning a Caregiving journey is a little more difficult than planning a road trip, or is it? 

ID-10030063When we are planning a journey, there is usually someone who is in charge, a leader, guide, pilot, etc.  All those fancy electronic devices that help plan a journey, goes for not if there is not a leader orchestrating the plan.  The lesson that I’ve learned during our recent Caregiving journey is that I’m the co-pilot, ‘TLO’ is the pilot. ‘TLO’ is the one going through the radiation treatments, ‘TLO’ is the one taking the medicine…’TLO’ is the one that has the cancer inside of his body.  For me to assume that I know how he feels, pales in comparison to his reality of his health and how he feels.

There is no doubt that we are both on this journey together; we share in the emotions, we share in the joy and we share in the sorrow during this journey.  We both know that there is a fork in the road that lies ahead of us that no Map or GPS will detect. We also know  that trying to dodge that fork in the road will be  unavoidable.    The ‘funny’  thing about that fork in the road is that at some point in our life, each one of us will find its path and end up at the same destination.  As Caregivers, we try to pave the road so that when that fork does arrive, there is a gentle breeze at our back.  Caregiving is often filled with so many raw emotions that sometimes we forget that we are on a beautiful journey together.    That’s why sometimes the longest journey that we will ever take is from the head to ID-10047257the heart.

While we know that fork in the road will take us on a different path, we understand that at some point, we will end up at the same destination. For now,  we will continue on our journey together as pilot and copilot creating, and enjoy, that  gentle breeze at our back that no map or GPS device can locate for us.

Thank You for being our copilot’s; we are pleased that you are on this journey with us helping us create that gentle breeze at our back!

You see…We might have cancer, but Cancer does not have us! 

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

cjmbtr (1)

‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is on hiatus until January 2014 while ‘TLO’ is undergoing radiation treatments.  To listen to  archived episodes of our show, simply click here! 

 Related articles

2 Comments

Filed under cancer treatments, Caregiving