Time is of the essence in helping people with pancreatic cancer move from a condition of shock and denial to a mode of living in which they are real and present to themselves and to one another. Caregivers face the possibility of emotional burnout that is exacerbated by the desire to control their environment and everyone in it as an attempt to cope with loss, fear, and feeling powerless. Being a caregiver can be a full time responsibility. We suggest you find time to focus on yourself, as well as the patient, so that you are well enough to care for the patient. Here are some suggestions for the caregiver:
- Find help – Learn to ask for and accept offers of help. You may need to ask for help, and that means you care enough about the patient to care for yourself. It is important to be able to ask friends, family, or professionals for some assistance.
- Find support – Talk with other caregivers, attend support groups…you are not alone. Talk with others who understand and share how you are coping.
- Be the advocate – Keep records of side effects or anything to share with the doctor between appointments, create a list of questions for the physician, research treatments and educate yourself on resources for the patient.
- Understand your rights – As a caregiver, you have rights. Be aware of the Family and Medical Leave Act and what you are entitled to through your work to take time off and care for a loved one.