The Strength of a Care Partner

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Topics include: Care Partners

In order to give care, care partners must be taken care of as well. There are so many emotions that flow through the body and mind when cancer hits a family. The patient and the family can react quite differently, but support is needed for all. Randy Griffith talks about the influx of the emotions and how he was able to get support from the medical team at Moffitt Cancer Center and from their doctors. 

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s 

Andrew Schorr:

So we’ve talked about cancer. You all know it is a family affair. And even if you live alone, there are people out there who care about you.  So sometimes, there are people close to you, could be a spouse, could be a child, your adult daughter, could be anybody in your family who is even more terror stricken than you are.

Quite frankly, that’s what happened in my family when I was diagnosed with leukemia. My wife who tends to be a little more anxious, it really set her off.  And so we recognized that we needed to go into counseling together. We’d never done that—mental health professional.  It would really help us, and it did.  And we really marched through that together to get to a better place.

So it could be for you, and it could be for somebody you love. We’ll talk to Dr. Carbone in a little bit about his own family.  And it’s difficult. He became a single parent for a while because his wife left him when he was diagnosed with cancer.  So people have different reactions. The care partners here are by your side, if you’re a patient. How did you right yourself? Because you couldn’t be strong for Pam, unless you could feel strength yourself. So how did you get there?

Randy Griffith: 

Well, first of all, you name a fear. I had it. So I think I just kind of went through the process. And the way this process happened to us, it was kind of like bits and pieces that grew.  First, it’s just a cough. Then it’s just GERD. Then, it’s an allergy. And then, it’s probably nothing, but we’re going to check this.

And then eventually, a diagnosis of cancer. And, of course, I was very afraid for her and uncertain about what was going to happen, because this is a whole lot on you. I mean, it hits you, and you know nothing about it. And you have to make a decision, because you’re being encouraged we’ve got to get started on this. We got to kick it when it’s down. And you know you don’t have time, although, it appears we had more time than I thought we had, to go around and try to find out what do you do about this?

And so you get started on something, and you kind of learn and grow from there.  But I think one thing that’s kind of turned us around is when we came to Moffitt, and disclaimer, Dr. Antonia is our doctor. And we got the care here that we received. We were fortunate to have a good response to Pam’s treatment on the trial.  And now, we have one day every two weeks when we come to see our friends at Moffitt.  And so we really feel nurtured here.

We feel safe here.  We feel like we’re being well taken care of here.  And that’s helped me as a caregiver. Yes, I think probably when we close our eyes at night, we probably both have our fears.  But we keep them under control. We try to learn about what’s going on and just keep up with it.  And we also have a great faith in God, and our church and our friends have been very supportive of us. So I think, right now, we’re in a pretty good place.

And that’s kind of where I’m at right now.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Living Medical History: Surviving Lung Cancer Together

Meet Pam and Randy Griffith, married for over 40 years. In 2013, after dealing with a persistent cough, Pam went in for a checkup and was told she had stage III lung cancer. A lobectomy revealed she actually was a stage IV and was told, “We can no longer hope to cure you.” But Dr. Scott Antonia, Chair of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Thoracic Department, wasn’t ready to give up.

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Page last updated on June 27, 2019