Laura Loughlin shares the story about how her cousin Diane stepped in to serve as her caregiver during a particularly difficult time of her cancer diagnosis. This week, we’re celebrating the many different caregivers that help improve the lives of cancer patients.
I was diagnosed with Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma in 2016. Following surgery, my cancer was found to have spread to my thyroid and was treated with high dose radiation. Since then I have remained stable without additional treatment. Several weeks ago, my CT detected a new mass in my neck. Local efforts to confirm what the mass was were not successful and I needed to be seen by specialists in Boston. Needing to see a doctor in Boston always causes me stress, as I have to arrange for rides to get back and forth to Boston. And once the ride is found, often it is only a ride and I am going into the appointment alone.
When I shared my new cancer adventure with my cousin Diane, she was at the ready, to get me where I needed to be. The ride she provided, and having her there with me at the appointment, made all the difference on this stressful day. This isn’t the first time Diane has helped me, she includes me in weekend getaways, road trips, and even a special trip to meet a giraffe at a New York Zoo that I had been following online. But this latest trip really stood out and I’m grateful for her help.
Caregivers often already have busy lives. But however busy caregivers set aside time to help others, making them all the more special. My cousin Diane is an amazing mom, raising her son. She is a full time teacher, teaching Spanish in her town’s elementary school. Diane is also very active. Whether it is biking, hiking, kayaking – she is there!
I think often and with gratitude about all the people that have helped me since my cancer diagnosis in 2016. I think of my children, who give me happiness and strength every day. I think of my friends who have stepped in more times than I can count over the past few years, offering food, or rides or a listening ear, insisting on nothing in return. It is difficult to put in words how much it can mean to get a ride to a doctor appointment, or have someone drop off a bowl of soup, when you are not feeling well enough to get these things on your own.
I know all my caregivers will continue to be there for me, making my cancer journey that much easier. I thank them and, in honor of National Caregivers Month, thank all caregivers who are making a difference every day in the life of another.