Do I See Myself As a Caregiver? Not Necessarily....
The month of November has come and gone. As some may know, it is National Caregiver Appreciation Month as well. Cheriz and I were honored to be a part of an Instagram Live segment discussing this topic. We discussed our dating past, marriage, navigating having kids with Cheriz's CF, and overall, how we make our relationship work.
Are you a caregiver?
One of the questions posed to me was "With it being National Caregiver Appreciation Month do you see yourself as a caregiver and how?" This question was one that I really never thought of throughout our life together. Sure, I help in the care of Cheriz, but I have never really considered myself as a "caregiver". Thinking on it, I would rather use the term CF Partner. It implies more of a team mindset when tackling this thing called cystic fibrosis.
To make a long story short, which you can also read in some of my other articles on this site, Cheriz and I's relationship moved rather quickly. Dating quickly moved into cohabitation, which moved into moving from city to city for school, which moved into marriage, which moved into fostering, which moved into adopting our son!
Peppered throughout this time were hurdles of hospitalizations, changes of medications, insurance battles, and questions on how to manage CF and everything life throws at you! The only way we have gotten through all of this is because we make a great team and know when and where we individually need help. If there is one thing, I hope you take from this article is this, as corny as it might sound: "teamwork makes the dream work"!
It takes a team!
Having a team-oriented mindset, not only helps get through the struggles and curveballs thrown at you, but I think more importantly, doesn't make CF revolve around your relationship. This is why I haven't considered myself a "caregiver". Do I help get meds ready at night? Absolutely. Do I make sure she takes her enzymes before eating? Of course, I do...we all know how bad it can get if those enzymes are forgotten!
These are just parts of the whole of our relationship, as Cheriz does SOOOOOO much in our lives. She keeps me organized. Cheriz does the majority of the parenting when I am at work. She practically runs the house. All of this while living with CF! Cheriz is just as much of a caregiver as I am. Cheriz truly is the team captain!
CF doesn't define who we are!
We do everything to try and make sure she and our lives are not dictated by CF, nor that our lives revolve around CF. We obviously make sure we do the daily things that need to be done like breathing treatments, pills, calorie intake, etc. What we refuse to do, is make CF a limitation in our lives. We wanted to have kids, we made that happen through fostering/adoption. Cheriz even changed her career to accommodate our daily life. When we wanted to get married, I changed jobs, and we moved in order to make sure our insurance was good.
We as a team, did what we needed to do in order to shape our lives into what it is now. We refused to let CF say "No'! So I am not a caregiver, I am a CF Partner, and together we will CRUSH the competition! Cheesy sayings and labels aside, we really do make the best team, and I wouldn't play for another captain! Happy National Care Giver Appreciation Month, and thank you to all who advocate and fight for those living with CF!
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