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If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.
We are three weeks into our FitPass program with Caregiving.com and the group is progressing along just fine. There are so many reasons why we put on weight; stress, poor choices, not seeing food as fuel is just a few of the topics that come up during our FitPass discussions on Monday night. While I have a long way to go in order to sort out why I have put on weight, I am pleased with the loss of 8lbs since we’ve started this program.
It just so happened that the ‘The Little One‘ had his own discussion on health and fitness with a nurse who came to visit him on Monday in our home. This visit was a courtesy of one of the many programs that his insurance plan has for him in Florida. (Hence another reason to be here full-time) While I missed the visit today, I certainly heard about it during our dinner conversation.
“I was given all these instructions on what I should be eating and how I should be eating. While I appreciated the concern and the information I was given, I just looked at her and said...I’m between 81 and death, at this point in my life and what I have been through this past year, what difference does it really make what I eat?” I’m sure he said this in a polite tone.
I mentioned ‘The Little One’s conversation this evening during our FitPass conference call and made the comment, “I’m the one who should have had that conversation today as it is my eating habits and fitness that is out of whack.”
The common denominator here is simple, it is about the perception of one’s quality of life.
‘The Little One’ can never be accused of not having a realistic view of his condition. Yesterday is gone — today is here — not sure about tomorrow. He has admirably lived by this motto for quite some time now. (Remember, he was given 3-4 months to live last October!) Like many people who are diagnosed with a life threatening illness, it’s not uncommon for a conversation to take place about Quality of Life. Quality of Life will have a different meaning for each one each of us. ‘The Little One’ has outlived everyone’s expectations; he is cognizant of what quality of life means to him. Who is it for anyone else to argue with him on this point? At this time in his life, eating one less scoop of ice cream or having one less helping of milk chocolate raisins is not going to do anything for him other than deprive him of a pleasure. I’d say ‘go for it and enjoy!’
The more I thought about his visit with the nurse, and the more I talked about it with our FitPass group, I realized that I have lost sight of what quality of life means to me. You see, as a Caregiver we get so wrapped up in the needs of our caree, we often forget about our own needs. That extra scoop of ice cream sure feels good when you’ve had a stressful day of Caregiving, work, life etc. However, that does not mean you have to have that extra scoop of ice cream every night!
In order to make healthy choices, we have to be aware of our options. With that, we have to recognize and own what quality of life means to us as an individual . For ‘The Little One’ that extra scoop of ice cream signifies an accomplishment and truly is a part of his quality of life; he has earned it! For me, my quality of life can not be tied solely to his, for in that, I lose my sense of self. (I.e. Weight Gain) How can I be a good caregiver if I am not taking care of myself?
While the nurse that visited our home on Monday was not there to see me, in reality the message she left…was solely for me!
You see…We might have Cancer…But Cancer does not have us!
- Nurses examine caregiver grief (eurekalert.org)
- Improving quality-of-life may help cancer patients: Study (todayonline.com)
- Quality-of-life program may help cancer patients – Reuters (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
- Occupational Therapy: Get Back to Life After Stroke (everydayhealth.com)
- The Weight of the Matter (thepurplejacket.com)