A Calling and Passion

A Calling and Passion

National Caregivers Month 2022

Grandparents smiling with infantUnlike many adult-related diseases, childhood cancer is usually not something a family can predict. Cancer growing in a young person’s body doesn’t consider whether a future caregiver was at the height of their career, just decided where their forever home would be, or maybe finally got their dream vacation planned and ready to go. Even if you know with all your heart and soul that you would sacrifice anything to care for your precious child, it’s natural to feel like parts of your own personal life, career success, or lifestyle will never be the same again. In honor of the millions of courageous and selfless caregivers worldwide, let’s look at the unexpected role of the caregiver in a way you can make a personal and passionate connection with during this National Caregivers month 2022.

Mother and daughter resting heads on each other's shouldersCurrently, women make up more than 50% of caregivers worldwide. Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, and other close female family members instantaneously assume the unpaid role of caregivers without hesitation. That’s not to say that men (when present) are not caring for their loved ones; however, their parts are currently more structured to maintain the family’s outward needs when it comes to pediatric cancer care at home. Whether a woman caregiver is a pilot, surgeon, or maybe a stay-at-home parent with a set routine, balancing your role can be a physical and mental challenge. Completely changing your life narrative can show you how the long days caring for your child can be something priceless.

Your pre-diagnosis job/work was based on skills you cultivated over formal education and/or on-the-job experience. Now in the position of a caregiver of a critically-ill child with cancer, you have no learning curve. It’s “game on” right from diagnosis. Quickly stepping into the role of caregiver, you must learn and absorb new information on demand, which is daunting! A caregiver often provides medical, mental, and physical support without realizing it. You become an advocate for your child and their well-being and provide relentless and compassionate care and companionship. These are all crucial skills to bolster a child’s health and emotional well-being.

Mom with sleeping child on her chestA caregiver’s job is multi-faceted, with new responsibilities for which some people spend years training. For example, in 24 hours, you could be feeding, bathing, and entertaining your child, all while coordinating treatment regimes and special diets with the doctor. If you weren’t already, you are unconsciously the ultimate multi-tasker ensuring all the elements of your child’s care are smooth and unhindered. Though no one ever wishes for cancer, now that it’s arrived, your role as caregiver has a life purpose that is commendable, honorable, and precisely the type of dedication your child needs. As caregivers, we might feel that we are giving up what we thought was the “purpose” of our lives. But, it’s essential to consider that purpose can change at different seasons of one’s life, with or without cancer. It is perfectly natural and expected.

So to all the caregivers, your role can assume a sacrifice for yourself, but one that brings many rewards. The fact that you stepped up to the plate and released one phase of your life to accept another with open arms makes you a true hero. Your child, your world, and the universe will continue to always need the skills you have applied and acquired along the way of your caregiver journey.

“You’ve done it before, and you can do it now.
See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial
energy of your frustration and turn it into
positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”
-Ralph Marston

Are you a caregiver that needs support?

Here To Serve is here to help you! During this National Caregivers month 2022, we recognize you. As a caregiver, it’s okay to acknowledge you need help managing your role at home. If you are a family with a newly diagnosed cancer child or know of a family who finds themselves in this challenging situation, please contact Here to Serve. Please click on the Get Help button from our homepage.

By Sameera Rangwala, M.S., M.P.H

About the Author

Sameera Rangwala spent 15 years in the biotechnology industry. As a scientist and research professional, she uses her skills to blog and provides words of support to the cancer community.

All content in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.