We hope listening to testimonials from other caregivers will help current caregivers learn from people who understand what they are going through. Past and current caregivers share memories of caregiving for their loved ones – both good and bad – and what they wish they had known at the beginning of their caregiving journey. Their advice can benefit both new and experienced caregivers know they are not alone.

Marlyn and Bob, a couple for the past 55 years, are both cancer survivors and have taken turns caregiving for one another for many years. Through surgery, recovery, and treatment-related illnesses, these two have learned simple ways to provide emotional support to one another like rubbing the other’s back and taking naps together. They have learned to recognize when the other needs support, such as giving rides, to help with symptoms like exhaustion. As mutual caregivers their relationship is based on compassion and understanding, and Bob cites love as the key to the caregiver-patient relationship.

Karl cared for his late wife during her battle with lung cancer while at the same time caring for their two children and working full-time. As her primary caregiver, Karl took his wife to all of her appointments and when she became an inpatient he became solely responsible for caring for their kids for the first time, which meant taking on new tasks such as packing school lunches and braiding hair. He also acted as the coordinator of information about his wife’s treatment to extended family and even at times as the gatekeeper. Listen as Karl talks about the resources at N.C. Cancer Hospital that he found most helpful and what advice he would like to share with current caregivers.

Shayna was the primary caregiver for her late mother when she was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. As the primary caregiver, Shayna experienced times of joy such as watching her mother doing things she loved to do, like swimming, and painful times, like when her mother had no appetite. Shayna experienced feelings of guilt and worrying that she wasn’t trying hard enough. She realizes now that she isn’t “super woman” and everyone makes mistakes. Watch to find out why Shayna thinks it is so important to ask for help when you need it.

Carol was the primary caregiver for her late husband, Ray, two separate times. The first time Ray was diagnosed they were thrilled when he was able to beat cancer and live twelve long and healthy, happy years. During her husband’s second cancer diagnosis they knew the outcome was not likely to be the same. Carol explains the stark differences between these two cancer diagnoses and how they affected her caregiving responsibilities. Listen as Carol shares how she has learned to cope with loss and continues to find strength in her friends and family.

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