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Patient vs. Caregiver 2

Read Part 1 here.

Being a patient is almost easy compared to what I’ve witnessed as a caregiver. It’s hard. But honestly, I’d rather suffer than watch someone I love go through pain. Being a caregiver and watching my grandad suffer from Cancer breaks my heart. Every single piece of it. I wish I could take his pain away.

The stress

Being a patient, this stress is not helping my condition at all. The day my grandad was diagnosed I was at the hospital with him. I was stressed. I was tired and I hadn’t eaten all day. As a person living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, at times I skip meals, but as a caregiver to someone I love suffering from Cancer, I forgot to eat all together. It was almost 12 am when my sister surprised me with dinner. She said she expected me to forget to eat. And she was right.

I know I’m only hurting myself, but it’s almost like I can’t help it. Actually, it’s exactly like that. The more I worry, the more distanced I become from my own (personal) reality. The more I forget about myself and my own needs because I’m so invested in the well-being of the person I love.

It’s hard to care for myself

Since he’s been diagnosed, time is moving slowly but also flying by. I feel like one minute I’m waking up in the morning and the next, it’s time for bed. It’s hard to remember to care for myself when I care so much for someone else. One thing I’ve learned from living with my condition is that I can’t control everything. It’s hard, but I’ve somewhat come to accept it. I’m trying not to be so bratty over little things. I’m trying to enjoy the time I have with him, but unfortunately a lot of that time I just spend worrying.

Worrying worsens my symptoms…

Worrying has always worsened my symptoms, but this time around it’s started to cause new ones too. What’s a good balance? How can you balance your own sucky health along with watching someone you love struggle with their’s too? How do you balance self-care with your need to care for your family? How do you know when you’re physically and/or emotionally incapable?

At times it feels impossible to do both

As much as I’ve been struggling, I’m trying my hardest to hold it all together, but I wish life was easier. I wish we were assigned one or the other. Either you’re a patient. A person living with some kind of condition. Fighting. Or, you’re a caregiver. Supporting them. Standing in their corner. I know it’s not impossible to do both, but it sure feels like it. It feels like I am carrying the weight of a hundred people all on my own. I feel the pressure, but I have to keep moving forward. No breaks. No time to think. No time to sleep. Just time to worry.

I know being a patient myself does help the situation in more ways than one. I’m able to use what I’ve learned over the years. Be it with medical terminology or even just to simply get snacks or 3 warm blankets. Being a patient isn’t a bad thing. It’s just extremely hard to be a caregiver while maintaining balance.

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


  • Kelly C (#purpleproject) moderator
    8 months ago

    Never forget to care for yourself. So hard to do when you’re faced with a situation like this, but so important. Surround yourself with positivity and love when you can & cry when you need to.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    You are such a warrior. I can’t imagine having IBD and being a caregiver full time. Your grandfather is so blessed to have you by his side. I’m sorry he is sick and I am wishing the both of you nothing but the best in health.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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