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The Caregiver

I am a mother.
Watching my child go through cancer treatment.
I am a mother.
Did I only watch? How strange.. I am not her, and yet, I feel like I went through the treatment with her. Is it possible to feel all that pain and fear even though I am a completely separate person?
As strange as it may seem, my dual role as a mother and as a patient – by default, or as they say, vicariously, has afforded me a unique insight. Actually, my role has been threefold – I have been ‘mother’, ‘vicarious patient’ and ‘therapist’, having completed a Master’s program in Counseling Psychology and working as a therapist at an organization before she was diagnosed. Now that I think about it, I took on a fourth role – a role that has always been a part of me, and that is ‘teacher’. (I am also a qualified school teacher) So let me now re-assess who I am right now – I am
1. Mother
2. Patient (by default)
3. Therapist
4. Teacher

Not once during my daughter’s treatment, was I ever able to separate those roles. Did they afford me a unique perspective? I am positive they did! I pulled on whatever resource I could to help her at the time. The ability to ‘feel’ her pain as well as be able to immediately tap into my knowledge base and intuition made the road easier for me – and for her I think… not that it was an easy road, but that story is for another time. Read more about this bond here:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3691510/

My focus right now as she reaches the recovery stage of her treatment is on empowerment. Empowerment for her and for me. Both of us have reached our ‘firsts’… first day back at school/ work… first time taking our lives into our own hands… first time taking responsibilities that we had handed over to others. First time feeling very alone. You see, her time as patient bound me to her- her life and mine became so intertwined. Her role as patient and mine as care-giver, so set…

Wake up in the morning to… “Mom???!!!!” and so the day began with her needs, and me fulfilling them… Now that she is at school and I am at home, there is a vast emptiness between us and in that space is uncertainty. I feel it, and I am sure she feels it…

However, with me seeing where she is at and understanding her present needs, and reclaiming my role as therapist/teacher/parent, I am surprised to realize I have an intuitive wisdom and a clear understanding of what she needs right now and how to get her there. While I am going through this process, I want to help others who are on this journey and help lead and guide us all to recovery, new beginnings and a new life!!!

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