The first piece of advice I'd like to give may sound cliché, but it's 100% true: Count your Blessings. What I mean by that is this; it's not that you need to be more grateful, it's that, literally, negative and positive thoughts cannot rule your brain together. I call that lying voice, the negative voice, the voice of doubt and fear; my GREEN MONSTER voice. I picture him somewhere up there in a corner of my brain, just jabbering away about all the doubts and insecurities in my life. He says things like: "Tammie, things are going too smoothly, this next ultra-sound for Evie won't be clear." and "Remember, her blood pressure's too high, that's gotta mean something's wrong with her kidney." or "What if you have to go back to working full time and you can't be home with her on summers and after school anymore?"
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...Green Monster gets my heart racing and my mind running. I start to feel panic creep in. When this happens, I go back into my brain, (and even sometimes write out), all of the amazing miracles that have happened along the way. Oil and gas bills with credit on them rather than balances when Evie had cancer; the Children's Oncology Group meeting at exactly the time she was diagnosed, so her doctors could call and consult with some of the greatest minds in children's cancer ~ all meeting together; me being unable to contact Jeff the day Evie was diagnosed because he was out of cell range, but that delayed us checking into the hospital, thereby delaying her surgery long enough to find out that she wouldn't need to have her whole kidney removed. When I focus on these things and look at the enormous "miracles" inside of them, I really can't justify feeling scared about our future.
|Evie a few weeks into treatment for Wilms Tumor|
Writing things down doesn't mean your stupid or inept, it means you are thorough, conscientious, and recognize that you're in a place where there is so much to process that you may need to write it down now and process it later.
My third, and final piece of advice for caregivers is to get into God's word everyday. It may not mean reading the Bible or doing a Bible study (I would have never been able to do that when Evie was her sickest), but it could mean getting a good daily devotional. One devotional I've read and always been moved by is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Uf-dah! The passages that are highlighted,and then the reflections that Chambers applies to the passages would overwhelm me with peace and give me a chance to marvel at God's goodness in the midst of our own little "hell on earth."
An example of this if the passage for September 30th...Evie was diagnosed with cancer around the 23rd of September, so right around the 30th she was having her surgery to place her port and begin chemotherapy. Chambers, on September 30th write about The Commission of the Call: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church..." Colossians 1:24 This was Paul writing to the church at Colossae. Chambers, in My Utmost, says,