Thursday, November 08, 2012

November is awareness

Awareness sometimes is just reality biting you in the ass.
My Dad became my Mom’s caregiver spouse in 1987 when she suffered a massive stroke in ICU following carotid artery surgery. … I became Patti’s spouse caregiver when she awoke Thanksgiving morning 1989 unable to walk and barely able to see or talk and by afternoon was hospitalized with her first major Multiple Sclerosis exacerbation.

Thanksgiving was about ‘caregiver awareness’ for us before it was ever designated. In 1994, the National Family Caregivers Association began promoting the week of Thanksgiving to acknowledge family caregivers. Eventually the entire month of November would become National Family Caregiver’s Month. 

November is also designated Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. My Dad died of Pancreatic Cancer 15 years ago. I spent the longest night of my life holding him, talking with him and sharing “the time of angels” ... I have been there for the closing chapter of cancer. That’s the kind of awareness that just does not pigeonhole into a month.

My own lung cancer odyssey began with a 9 mm vague nodular density on a chest x-ray 10 months and 2 weeks ago. This will be my First Lung Cancer Awareness Month as someone surviving lung cancer. To me every day is Lung Cancer Awareness Day not just November.

It’s difficult not to notice the common denominators of long term spouse caregiving and cancer. Cause and effect? I seriously doubt it but then I’m left to pause and wonder if ‘the deadliest cancers я us’ isn’t becoming some macabre family tradition. More likely, spouse caregiving equals long term stress which does take a huge toll on the immune system.

To paraphrase Shakespeare from the Twelfth Night, ‘Be not afraid of awareness, some are born aware, some achieve awareness, and some have awareness thrust upon them.’

Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @



  1. You may have something there. Is there any information out there about these interconnected diseases? Great photo of you, btw!

  2. Công ty chúng tôi chuyên cung cấp các sản phẩm do go trang tri noi that trong nhà như mau noi that phong khach dep, mau noi that nha bep dep, mau noi that phong ngu depmau noi that van phong dep với giá cả phải chăng và chất lượng đảm bảo. Ngoài ra để hoàn thiện hơn cho vẻ đẹp của ngôi nhà mình bạn cũng có thể tìm đến sat my thuat, san pham gia cong sat, gia cong inox để trang trí cho ngôi nhà thêm sang trọng và ấn tượng. Còn nếu quý khách có nhu cầu về su kien quang cao thì dòng sản phẩm logo, bang hieu ,poster, gian hang hoi cho, cong chao su kien..cung sẽ sẵn sàng đáp ứng nhu cầu của quý khách bất cứ lúc nào


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