Coping: The process of managing taxing circumstances
There are many helpful pamphlets, books, websites, etc., for caregivers and family members, on handling every type of stressful situation. How to cope with grief, and loss, and stress, and life, and bullies, and divorce, and illness.......and cancer.
When Bob was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, I had to learn to hone my coping skills. Admittedly, at first, I didn't cope very well. It wasn't just the actual diagnosis of cancer that sent me reeling, it was the fear of the unknown, and what lay ahead.
I wasn't a "hand-wringer", but I certainly wasn't cool, calm, and collected, either. It didn't take long (and no, I won't say how long) for me to learn that I had to dry the tears, perk up the ears, open my eyes, and take charge........COPE!!
Finally, we were able to manage the pain. We got the meds under control. Life was beginning to settle down....we were into a routine. He was the patient, and I was the caregiver and boy was I coping!
Then, the game suddenly changed! Week-by-week he was getting better. He was improving. His M-Spike was unremarkable, undetectable. Life was changing. He didn't need as much "managing", but I now had my coping skills honed to perfection......what was I to do?
Bless his heart (and mine, too)......I grew accustomed to helping him in so many ways. Now, he doesn't need so much "caregiving" (for which we are abundantly thankful). It's a lot like raising a child.....you shield and protect them when they're babies, and once they begin to walk, run, and climb; it's hard to turn them loose knowing they'll get all those bumps and bruises.
I watch him as he walks down the back steps ....and I can't help but say "be careful, hold on, don't fall". I know, and he does too, that a fall is the last thing he needs. He just says "yes, dear" (he's gotten really good at that phrase)!
So now, I'm into a new phase of caregiving....and coping. It's called "letting go". Letting him get back to normal, or as normal as he can be. Once again, I'm honing my coping skills, but this time they are surrounded by smiles, not tears!