I remember it like it was yesterday. My sister called me and told me my dad had cancer but that “it was nothing to worry about.” Nothing to worry about….it’s just cancer right? He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. During that time back in mid 2015, I was engaged, had a job that was on the rocks and was doing quite well at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. My dad had just retired from Walt Disney and moved up to middle-of-nowhere Georgia, his dream retirement. He had chickens and rabbits and lord knows what else on a small bit of land he had purchased. Unfortunately, a few months after moving up there he received his diagnosis. My relationship with my ex was on the rocks (mostly because of my alcoholism) so I ended it, quit my job, put my classes on hold, moved to the boondocks and decided I needed to help out. We relocated to Merritt Island shortly after I moved up there because the healthcare was better back down in Florida and a house formerly belonging to my great grandmother who passed away about eight months prior was available to purchase from the family estate and was in our price range but needed a lot of work…I developed many new skills! Anyways, I am now his caregiver and I’m also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict trying to destroy the stigma of what an addict looks like. It is, well, difficult to say the least. I created this blog to share my stories because of how alone I feel in the process and I want others to know that you are not alone. We are not alone. The sacrifices we make for our loved ones are not in vain. I hope you enjoy my stories, day to day writings and that they are good or funny or entertaining enough to share them with others. I’d like to try and keep things light, maybe bring a smile to some faces who need it and at the same time use this as an outlet for me. I will also try and include information that might be helpful that I wish others would have shared with me when I first started as a caregiver. Going into this blind can be difficult and I wish I had been given some tools earlier on to make this process easier, even if it’s just an understanding of what you might expect along the way. If anything please just remember, you are never, ever alone. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. After a year and a half or so of doing this, things sort of just become second nature almost and things that seem simple or mundane to me may feel excruciating, impossible or confusing to somebody else. I’d like to be able, if possible to help. Trust me, I have the time. I also obviously brought up that I am in recovery. I am not ashamed of my past, I embrace it. As an undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida studying Psychology, my goal is to graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and then continue into a Graduate program and possibly a Doctoral program. Recovery is not easy, it can’t be summed up in a single sentence and I would not wish addiction nor recovery on anybody including the devil himself but it can be done. My goal in life is to get the education I need so that I can use my experiences to help other people and be able to tell them “I’ve been there. I know what you’re going through, it does get better.”
You’ll find links to both the American Cancer Society Help Line as well as a Facebook Group for Caregivers of Cancer Patients. I am not paid by the group, the group does not support me, endorse me etc…actually they don’t even allow advertising so I can’t advertise my blog in their group lol. I have just personally found it very helpful and would recommend joining it if you find yourself in a position where you need support from multiple people. Like I said, you are not alone. Social media is an excellent place to meet other people who are in the same boat. It’s a lot easier to save a sinking ship when you have more people bailing out water. I will add additional links when I think of them. Crisis Text Line is wonderful for young folks who are in a crisis, having a rough time and need somebody to talk to etc. For addicts, it’s pretty simple, google search “Narcotics Anonymous” and your zip code or “Alcoholics Anonymous” and your zip code. You won’t be turned away, I can guarantee it. There’s also S.M.A.R.T. Recovery and just about any church will also point you in the right direction of some sort of recovery group. It’s out there, you just need to ask. Hell, ask me via the page and I will help you if you need it. You can find me on twitter as well @cbrooks_
Not gonna lie, I try and keep my blog and Facebook separate because this is for me and the rest of the world and I try to keep my family separate from my blog.
I do hope you enjoy reading my stories and about my life,