Focus on what you CAN do

As a Caregiver for someone with CRPS, a constant challenge can be the feeling of frustration and helplessness that there is currently no cure for the disease, and that you cannot make their pain go away. For me, caring for my wife, it has been a struggle to face these feelings and find a more constructive way to deal with them. I spent too many years focusing on what I could not do for Lee. Most importantly, I couldn’t take away her pain. Finally, by witnessing her courage at dealing with her daily challenges, I realized that I needed to shift my perspective to a more positive, constructive one to better support her. I began to focus on what I could do. I can help reduce her stress by making sure that the house is clean and organized. I can make her more comfortable by bringing her a rice bag for her back and hip pain, and an ice pack for the burning sensation at the base of her skull. I can in fact help with her by putting medication on her back to numb her back pain. I can make it easier for her to deal with all of her doctor’s appointments by driving her and sitting in on the appointments to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for what is discussed. I can reduce her anxiety by letting her know that when I get up in the morning, I am working on issues in our lives- bills, chores, paperwork, whatever- which helps her to sleep a little better and a little longer without worrying about what she needs to be doing that day. What I can also do each day is focus on what we can do together, rather than what we cannot do. Movies, drives, having friends over when we can’t go out, gardening together when possible, reading together, and most of all celebrating that we love each other and that we are still here, still trying every day to find solutions and make the best of our life together. Most of all, I can let Lee know how much I love and admire her and how blessed I am to have such an amazing woman love me and share her life with me.

So, as a Caregiver, try to focus on all the different things you can do to help the one for whom you care. This is the best way for both of you to make the most of each day.

Lee Greenan