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Balancing Self-Care and Support: Navigating Life with a Spouse's Cancer Diagnosis

Today, I am answering two community questions in more detail.  The questions are: how am I truly doing, and how am I balancing my self-care while also caring for my family and the added health stress of my hubby, who has Blood Cancer?  

How I'm truly doing

I have been quiet on Social Media lately, perhaps this is part of how I'm taking care of myself.  It’s challenging to be a wife and mom with a background in nursing.  It’s like I know some things, but not everything regarding my husband’s condition, my specialty was in moms and babies, not Blood Cancer.  Add to this my son often being sick, and it can be a recipe for stress and anxiety.  I already tend to be anxious about health, so this has surely added to it.  So, I am taking things day by day and hoping that my husband’s stem cell transplant will be what we’ve been praying for a cure and full healing where we can return to living our lives fully.

More specifically…

I am cautiously optimistic. I am grieving our previous plans. I am taking things day by day. I am afraid the stem cell transplant won’t be what we’re hoping for. I am acutely aware of our mortality. I am hopeful.

How I'm taking care of myself?  

I realized that by trying to keep everyone alive, I was preventing us from actually living…because of my anxiety.  I decided that this was not how I wanted to live or experience life with my husband, so I finally decided to talk to my doctor about my anxiety.  I am now taking an anti-anxiety medication, which has made a massive difference for me, and my family.  I’m no longer the “germ police”, I can get out and experience things with my family and not dissuade my husband from doing things he enjoys. I was also able to stay calm during his recent hospitalization for a fever, which can be dangerous for people with blood cancer and no white blood cells to fight off infections.

I have let go of perfection around self-care. Instead of trying to add self-care tasks, I am working on letting go of the things I usually do that don’t inspire or fulfill me. I have let go of my pride and need to do things myself and have started delegating tasks, such as house maintenance and cleaning. I accept help when offered and ask for help when needed. Asking for help is not a weakness; it is courageous and a strength.  

I do a few things most days, including praying,  drinking water, drinking a green drink, and going for a walk. I keep things simple and manageable and don’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen. All of my work of unlearning diet culture and perfectionism and becoming more intuitive and self-compassionate are serving me well in this stressful time.  

I have also continued doing a few things just for me, like writing.  I also meet for coffee or a walk with a friend now and then, and I have started taking on a small number of Mamas to coach.  I am looking to the future, and doing a little work to move my goals forward.  However, I hold my plans loosely and hope people understand if I must cancel last minute to care for my family.  

This is a small glimpse into my life and how I’m doing these days. Thank you for staying with me and for your prayers and well wishes. They mean so much to me and my family and remind me of the reason I continue to write and move forward. I am allowing myself to be fully human and experience all the emotions while also holding on to hope for the future.

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