Being sick creates a lot of challenges in our life. There have been times when taking care of me required ALL of my energy. The people who loved me were along for the ride. Some of them took it better than others. Even now, we are still working on creating healthy relationships. From time to time, we need to stop and look at what role people are playing in our lives, and how it affects them. That gives us a better framework for seeing how to take care of ourselves and still have healthy relationships.
When I am counting on someone to take on the role of caregiving, it means a lot of different things. It could be that they are my ride for a medical visit. There was a time I counted on someone to help me with a co-pay on an expensive medication. During treatment, I needed help getting out the door for work.
The role of caregiver is a hard one. My family and friends took turns. Nobody had the full-time job of caregiving. Honestly, everyone in my family and circle of friends are so busy, that I tried to avoid asking anyone for too much. I didn’t want to feel like a burden.
Most days we just need someone who accepts us in all of our sickness. We may need to hear some kind words after getting our labs back. A good hug is a wordless way to help nurture us when we are feeling sad, scared, anxious, or not even sure what we are feeling. Hand holding and nurturing require special people. Sometimes it is someone outside of your close circle. A support group is helpful here.
There are caring groups in most communities. Most are built on common ground. Liver disease, cancer survivors, addictions, grief groups, 12 Steps, transplant groups, and others can provide support around your illness. Other groups like garden clubs, cooking, cycling, hiking, walking, or yoga also form close nurturing bonds.
A special person in your life can fill a need for deeper connection. When we partner with someone, they can help us through all the stages of disease from Hep C. At times, they may become our caregiver, they also provide nurturing. We let them in the places that are closest to our hearts.
When we are intimate with someone, and we are sick, it can be easy to slip into negative patterns. By allowing people outside of our intimate relationship to help us out, it takes the pressure off of our partner. We are able to talk to our partner about more than just illness. That doesn’t mean we never talk to them about our illness, it just means that we try to protect that relationship from too much stress.
When we stay in touch with the healthy part of ourselves that still has dreams for our future, we can create healthy relationships with others. Those people we count on for caregiving and nurturing are always loved and appreciated. Our intimate partner can know that we still long to build a partnership with them that is supportive.
Do you try to follow a liver-friendly diet?