As we close out National Caregiver Month, we share thoughts from a care partner who wishes to remain anonymous.
It started as a straightforward surgery just to clear a breathing obstruction my wife had been experiencing. The surgery revealed a mass, and the surgeon wanted to have it analyzed "just in case." The results were to be back in a few days. After a few days with no news, my concern intensified.
The actual diagnosis of solitary extramedullary plasmacytoma was confusing and shocking. Shocking because it is cancer. Confusing because we had never heard of it. My mother, father, and ex-wife all had cancer.
Hearing the words again that my wife had cancer was yet another shock. Walking away was not something I could do, but contemplating going through this again was disheartening. I was confused by the variety of emotions. I could only concentrate on today, which was almost too much; thinking about tomorrow was not something I could handle.
As I look back over being a care partner to my wife, I have found that focusing on hope has helped me tremendously. Our family helped us immensely with getting to appointments and supplying what we needed when we were busy recovering from treatment.
Our faith community gathered around with love and support. We are blessed that each test reports "no change," which is the best we can expect. Although there is no cure right now, we hope the tests will continue as they are and the disease will remain stable.
If you are a myeloma caregiver or care partner looking for support, education, and resources to help you take the best care of yourself and your loved one, the HealthTree Foundation has resources to support you.
Connect 1:1 with other caregivers through our free Myeloma Coach program.
Share experiences and information with other care partners through our Caregiver HealthTree Connect group.
about the author
Valarie Traynham has been a myeloma survivor since 2015. Wanting to be a source of support, provide patient education and encouragement to help others along their myeloma journey, she is a volunteer myeloma coach, myeloma support group leader and patient advocate. She enjoys being outdoors, reading, and trying new recipes.