Patient vs. Caregiver Part 1

All of my life I’ve been a patient and a caregiver. I’ve taken care of myself and my family. I’ve managed to maneuver through my condition as well as the conditions of others. This is not without a struggle. For the most part, I know how to hold myself together. I know how to ask the right questions and I know how patients and caregivers should be treated. I’m a professional at hospital visits. I’m a pro at gift giving. And I will say, I’m not too shabby at passing the time with few resources.

Being a patient has always come easily to me

Partially because I started young. I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease around seventeen years old, but I struggled with the conditions and symptoms long before then. I was in and out of the hospital 24/7, so you can say with practice comes perfect. Coming on 10 years post-diagnosis, I know my way around the whole patient business.

The problem is, I’ve never been a caregiver to a condition I couldn’t handle. When my great grandmother was diagnosed with Diabetes, I learned more about it. When her sugar fluctuates when I’m around, I do what I need to do. When she gets hospitalized, I’m there. Spending the night. In a chair in some random corner. When my grandmother was diagnosed with Lupus, I was more upset, but I tried to learn more. Being that Lupus and Inflammatory Bowel Disease are both autoimmune, I found we had a lot of similarities when it came to different aspects of our condition, well symptom-wise at least. When my mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia I was really young. I didn’t understand a lot of things. Schizophrenia was on the top of that list. But I loved her. I supported her and encouraged her.

But this is different

Like many of us, I know of Cancer. I know the idea of Cancer, stages, chemo, radiation. I know it’s deadly. Anytime I hear the word Cancer, a part of my body just freezes up. I hate it. I’ve had distant relatives pass because of it, but never anyone close to me.

Finding out my grandad has Cancer again killed me. I know it’s so hard for him and I want to be there and support him. I am there. I do support him. But it kills me.

Keep reading, I swear this has a point.

Being a patient is one thing. It’s happening to you. Watching yourself deteriorate is super hard, but for me it was optional. When I was really sick, restricted diets, could barely keep water in my mouth, I knew my condition was worsening. That part was hard. But I didn’t have to watch myself suffer. I chose not to look in the mirror. I didn’t stress my looks and I wasn’t too pressured to be around people who required anything more than my presence when I came around.

It had it’s challenges, but compared to this… It was nothing.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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