the oncologist's yesterday morning, I observed that you could pick out the
caregivers. Most of them seemed to be daughters of elderly mothers or
fathers. Some sons. The daughters and sons were my age or older.
the women were very intentionally dressed up just a bit...just like me.
Perhaps it is forced cheer in a stressful and sad place: Lipstick courage and
prayer to bolster the flagging spirit that can too easily descend into
that sorrowful place of anticipation.
The oncologist office seemed like a very sad
place, on the whole. But also full of caring and devotion, love.
I coined the phrase "Lipstick Courage", not to call it false courage, but rather to describe the particular place a caregiver finds herself in. It's a strange place to be; a prayerful place, an exahusting place, a place of death-to-self. I know this, and I've only just barely stepped across the threshold.
During all my copious weeping last week, and the week before, someone advised me to take special care for myself during this time of taking care of Wes. This is good advice. Putting on some makeup is the easiest thing I do, but it is perhaps, merely a reminder to myself to take care of myself in all the other ways that matter more: nutrition, sleep, prayer, exercise (have not figured out yet how to do that one on my new schedule), reaching out to people and saying "yes" to offers of help, and BALANCE.
More than one person has told me that Cancer is harder on the caregiver than it is on the sick person. Perhaps that is true, at least until just near the end? I don't know. It won't be me losing my hair and vomiting. Those things are still just a "perhaps" for us. Right now cancer just means extra doctor's appointments, radiation appointment daily and some pills to take on a schedule. Me doing lots and lots of driving. And extra bills to pay.
So, here's to Lipstick Courage, and all that it means: The best advice someone has given me is to live in the NOW. I
strive to do just that.