Staying Strong as a Caregiver: Positivity in the Face of It All

Written by: Courtney Benisch – Regional Relationship Coordinator for Head for the Cure

As a caregiver you go through many emotions and being positive or optimistic may not be one of them all the time. However, having a positive mindset is the only thing that will keep you going day in and day out.

Positivity has many definitions when it comes to being a caregiver. It can mean being optimistic knowing MRI scan results weren’t what you hoped for. It is enjoying the little moments with your loved one. It is being hopeful that the next round of treatment helps.

Taking care of your loved one who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor is hard, and it is okay to admit that! When my mom was battling her glioblastoma, it was hard for us to be upbeat 24/7, but the one thing that kept us going was her infectious smile and laugh. Going to radiation appointments or chemotherapy sessions are not “fun” per se, but you can make them that way.

When my mom was in her various appointments, we would always make a game out of it. During occupational therapy, we would quiz her on the way home to see if she remembered what she had learned that day. On her last day of radiation, we all went out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. You learn to celebrate the not-so-normal events, but that’s what gets you through this hard journey.

This disease does not hold back and as a caregiver you witness that firsthand. It is incredibly hard to see the positive aspects knowing your loved one is sick, especially when you see them going through surgeries, treatments, hearing bad results, and so on. But, taking on the role of a caregiver is a major step in a positive direction in the first place. You are looking on the right side of things and adjusting to your new “normal.”

Even 3 years later after my mom’s passing, it can be hard to not get caught up in the special moments. Not being able to have her at my brother’s wedding was incredibly hard, but he had a special dance with myself, our aunt, and her best friend in her honor. It is still emotional on her birthday, but we celebrate as a family anyways. You have to look at all the life situations with a glass-half-full mentality because that is what your loved one would have wanted.

Being positive as a caregiver doesn’t mean you have to be happy every day, I don’t think that is humanly possible. However, it is taking on this hard journey knowing that you are doing everything you can for your loved one and enjoying every minute you have with them. 

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