Regrets

If you hope in the Lord, you'll never regret it. Despite the stress of #caregiving http://wp.me/p2UZoK-wt via @blestbutstrestI thought my caregiver journey ended when Pedro came home from the hospital. But it didn’t. Not really. Yes, I had a new focus for my caregiving instincts, and life looked promising and full of hope.

While I acknowledged the incredible blessings in my life, I also continued to experience stress. Money caused the greatest stress—we had wonderful insurance, but insurance doesn’t cover incidental expenses such as travel to and from the hospital (the closest hospital that could adequately treat Pedro’s cancer was almost a thousand miles away), hotel rooms and food.

The bill for incidentals related to cancer totaled over $18,000. And due to Pedro’s job loss, that bill hung like a black cloud over the joy of our miracle. And then we discovered that the purpose ‘long-term disability insurance’ was simply to tide a person over until they could sign up for Social Security disability benefits.

While we had glibly believed that Pedro would be strong enough to start out a new school year, it soon became clear that it would take him much longer to regain his strength. And so he applied for social security disability benefits (a minor nightmare of paperwork, procedures and appointments). All we could do was hope and pray that he would receive approval before the long-term disability ran out. Otherwise, we would sink even lower under the burden of debt.

Meanwhile, my weight continued to creep up and depress and stress me even more. I read somewhere that if a person took 10,000 steps a day in one year they would lose ten pounds without effort. I bought a pedometer and started keeping track of my steps. Having to walk Clancy at least twice a day gave me extra incentive to get my 10,000 steps in.

Pedro’s homeschooling venture started in August, and I would run home during my break (I worked at a boarding school and taught a few classes in the early morning as well as a few classes later in the afternoon) and cook lunch for everyone and hang out with the girls while he volunteered at the business office of the school I worked at.

It sounded great in theory—the whole opportunity for Pedro to get out of the house a few days a week and keep his business skills up-to-date—but in reality, it added a lot of stress to my life.

Secretly, I felt that I didn’t have enough time in the day to do anything to the best of my ability. I felt like I short-changed my family because the stress of transitioning back and forth made me grumpy some days. I felt like I short-changed my work because I had to take more work home.

Living in a small community, I also felt a little judged by church people who thought we’d made the wrong decision to pull our girls out of the local church school to homeschool them. Based on our finances, there was no way we’d be able to afford private school tuition—as so, despite subtle pressures from ‘concerned community members’, we stuck to our decision.

By September the long-term disability ran out. But God is ever faithful. The Social Security disability benefits kicked in. Pedro would have time to recuperate and/or receive new training to enhance his job skills.

Slowly, as the year progressed, things seemed to settle down. We paid our bills on time (although it seemed as if we would never be out from under the credit card debt). We spent quality time together as a family camping, enjoying each other’s company and rejoicing in the blessings and miracles God had worked out in our lives.

The threat of a relapse hovered nearby, but we managed to ignore it most of the time and did all we could to just live. After all, we put our hope in the Lord and knew we would never regret it. (tweet this)

What have you found causes you stress in your caregiver journey?

To read the whole series of 31 Days of Comfort for Caregivers, start here.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • WOW! Your journey is one to be proud of, and for me, to be amazed by. Its amazing how much strength we can muster when it comes to someone we love, and doing the right things. You have been a pillar of strength, and spreading the word through this article, is fitting and I loved sharing in your story. For me, I have taken care of my parents for as long as I can remember. Through health issues, knee replacements, strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, but the biggest strain of all was bailing them out of debt time and time again, them never learning or adjusting their current lifestyle. It is very frustrating as they chose to bring those situations upon me, where as you, didn’t have a choice. Women are strong, we rock.
    melody pittman recently posted…Cancun, Mexico- The Most Affordable LuxuryMy Profile

    • Yes, we do rock! I’m sorry that you’ve had a rough time caring for your parents. It’s so hard when parents don’t act responsible and very commendable of you to help them out. Keep up the good work–you rock!

  • I admire your strengh to keep to your decision – the community is there to help you, “helpful critcism” surely is not help…

    Keep up the good work you’re doing and keep going on. I advise you look into qigong – it can do wonders to your health and I’m sure there is a course running nearby 🙂
    Erzsebet recently posted…Huge Qigong Give AwayMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words. I live in a pretty remote area, but I’ll have to investigate whether or not there’s a Qigong course available :).

  • What a testimony as a caregiver! thank you so much for sharing your story of the Lord’s faithfulness.
    Laura recently posted….thirty-one days of minimalism: shopping.My Profile

    • One of my favorite texts is Micah 6:5, where God tells the Israelites to ‘Remember their journey’ that they they may know the might acts of God. Good advice for all of us! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Good for you for doing what was important for your family, despite what others thought!
    Lisa/SyncopatedMama recently posted…31 Days of Great Children’s Music: World Sing-AlongMy Profile

    • It’s not always easy to do what you know in your heart is right. But that’s part of life, isn’t it? Deciding what’s right and best for you and your family and not following the crowd.

  • I wonder why it is that church communities find it okay to judge those who chose to home school their kids. I don’t home school nor do I send mine to the Christian school but I have known people in the church to be so judgmental when a parent decides to home school….
    paula recently posted…VISITMy Profile

    • I guess people are just people–quirky, full of insecurities and prideful that their way is the best. Once I realized that, it became a lot easier to take people’s advice and discard it, incorporate it or follow it.

  • There is nothing like money stress. So glad you were able to see the positive in all of it!
    Melissa recently posted…Finding Purpose In TrialsMy Profile

    • Yeah, money worries are NOT fun. We’ll have the cancer paid off in February of 2015.

    • I am totally wowed and prapered to take the next step now.

  • I relate to your financial stresses and also to those who want to tell you that decisions you make are not the right ones! I could go more into detail about our financial struggles; but won’t!!! Thank you for sharing your story, your struggles, you faith with us! Look forward to reading more…
    Barbara London recently posted…Day 26 – God Says…My Profile

    • Being a caregiver takes not only an emotional toll, but a financial one as well. Thank you for stopping by, Barbara–I’ve been enjoying your posts as well :).

  • I can certainly relate to your financial stresses and also to those who want to tell you that decisions you make are not the right ones! I could go more into detail about our financial struggles; but won’t!!! Thank you for sharing your story, your struggles, you faith with us! Look forward to reading more…
    Barbara London recently posted…Day 26 – God Says…My Profile

  • Thank you for this post. My mom is a stage 4 Ling cancer patient. It’s a hard road to travel. Keep up the hard work.
    Rachel shewmaker recently posted…Helping Her Be HerMy Profile

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, Rachel. May God be with you and your family while you journey together during this difficult time.

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