As most know who are reading this, I’m writing the first draft of a book with the working title, “Hope for the Caregiver” as a weekly blog post. I’m sharing my experience and lessons learned from my ten-year journey of being the caregiver for my parents and my wife. All three are now deceased. The blog post isn’t the polished, finished product. In fact, I find myself at times struggling for the best way to tell the story. The struggle is why sometimes the voice is a little different when I write a chapter. Here’s this week’s chapter.
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is managing worry. You’ll be worried about their health and future as well as your ability to care for them.
I couldn’t help but worry about my wife’s diagnosis with neuroendocrine cancer in December 2013. I also questioned my ability to care for her. Scared describes my feelings along with anger.
Miss Benita (yes, I called her Miss Benita with the Miss in front of her name) had had stomach and bowel issues for several years. The doctors hadn’t been able to determine the cause of her pain. Then in late 2013, they found she had a malrotated intestine. While that’s not good, we at least thought they had found the cause. Yea!
Her gastro endocrinologist recommended one of the best surgeons in the southwestern USA. The surgeon agreed with the diagnosis. A date was scheduled for the surgery. At least she’ll get this fixed and be able to get on with life without pain was my thought.
In the pre-operation tests, all looked okay. The surgeon commented that at least we didn’t have to worry about cancer. CT scans, x-rays, PET Scans, and endoscopy procedures had shown no indicators of cancer.
You guessed it. When the doctor briefs me following the surgery he mentioned a mass he found that hadn’t shown on any of the tests. It grew into the organs in such a way it couldn’t be removed. He had taken a biopsy. With the surgery being a few days before Christmas it would take until the first week of the new year to get the results. It came back positive for neuroendocrine carcinoid.
The surgeon explained neuroendocrine carcinoid as the same type of cancer that had just killed Steve Jobs of Apple Computer.
Fast forward to late spring 2015. Miss Benita was diagnosed with a second cancer, Stage III Melanoma.
I had a pity party for myself. I was worried about how I would be able to handle caring for her as I was told this cancer would kill her. The oncological surgeon was very clear on that point giving her a very low chance to survive more than three years. And if by some miracle of God the Melanoma didn’t kill her, the neuroendocrine carcinoid would.
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is managing worry.
I found myself facing worry from two points of view. I was concerned about the health and future of my wife. Worrying about a loved one is a natural response. I also found myself worried about my ability to care for her and pay the medical bills.
I found myself turning to my faith in God and trusting Him to make it through each day. I am a Christian. My Christian faith is foundational for managing the emotional challenges. I find comfort from reading the Holy Bible, applying the Bible verses to daily life, and praying using the Bible verse(s) as my prayer. This same comfort is available to you.
The Bible Says
Matthew 6:34 (KJV), “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
The Meaning of the Bible Verse
What the verse is saying in today’s English is give your entire attention to God. Look for what He is doing in your life today. With the focus in the here and now you avoid becoming worried or worked up over what may or may not happen tomorrow.
There’s a reason why you shouldn’t get worked up. The reason?
God will help you deal with whatever comes your way, no matter how challenging or difficult they trials are.
Pray Using the Bible Verse
I thank you for the promise that you will help me deal with whatever hard things are in my future where I will be as ready as possible when the time comes.
I ask for the grace to handle today.
I trust tomorrow to the Lord.
Applying the Verse to Receive God’s Hope for the Caregiver
Father in Heaven, help me to focus on today. Help me see you and your activity in my life.
Lord Jesus, help me not to get too worried or concerned about what may or may not happen tomorrow.
Almighty Father, teach me how to trust in you and let you take control of my life.