What I haven't written about is the wear and tear my illness has had on my family and THEIR daily lives. I am single with no children. That is good for me, because I don't have to worry about caring for a household when I am sick. However, it also means I live alone, which worries people when one is sick. My parents live 2 hours away, and my younger sister, my only sibling, lives 15 minutes away. That's great for me, right? Not so much for her! She has a husband, kids, dog and house to take care of! When you have a child, you know you are signing on for life. When you're born a sibling, it gets shoved on you.
I am very lucky that my sister, K, is usually available to go with me to appointments, run errands, and generally help me when needed. But that's not her job, she just does it because that's what family does. It's important to have someone with the patient at the "big" appointments where test results are explained, but for regular appointments I go alone. Oncology appointments can take all day, and she has kids coming home from school.
My BIL's life is also effected by my illness. He has taken days off work when we needed to be at the hospital all day, rearranged meetings so he can be home to put kids on the bus or off, run out for food, all those good things. For a workaholic like him, this is HUGE! I appreciate so much what they both do for me. I've also invaded their home a number of times, coming to stay during potential big snowstorms, when I was let out of the hospital but the doctors said I couldn't be alone, etc. This means that my niece gives up her room, everything has to be cleaned top to bottom, and no one can use the same bathroom I use. So it's a lot on a family with young children.
Appreciate your caregivers, and if YOU are the caregiver, remember to take care of yourself first or you can't take care of anyone else!