The Caregiver Cup Podcast

From Dread to Determination: A Caregiver's Journey Through Ruminating Thoughts

May 14, 2024 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 213
From Dread to Determination: A Caregiver's Journey Through Ruminating Thoughts
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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The Caregiver Cup Podcast
From Dread to Determination: A Caregiver's Journey Through Ruminating Thoughts
May 14, 2024 Episode 213
Cathy VandenHeuvel

Send Cathy a text:)

Join me on a personal season of transformation in "From Dread to Determination," where I explore the intricate landscape of caregiving. In this episode, I delve into the raw realities of facing daunting medical appointments, navigating complex emotions, and overcoming ruminating thoughts.

I  share my personal experiences and insights as I grapples with the weight of caregiver responsibilities and the relentless cycle of negative thoughts. Through candid reflections and real-life anecdotes, I shed light on the challenges caregivers often face and the resilience required to navigate them.

Discover how I transform her mindset from dread to determination, finding strength in vulnerability and courage in the face of uncertainty. Learn valuable strategies for overcoming negative thoughts, advocating for better care, and fostering self-empowerment in the caregiving journey.

Tune in to gain inspiration, practical insights, and a renewed sense of purpose as we navigate the highs and lows of caregiving together. Whether you're a caregiver yourself or simply seeking understanding, this episode offers invaluable wisdom and support for anyone on a journey of caring for a loved one.

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send Cathy a text:)

Join me on a personal season of transformation in "From Dread to Determination," where I explore the intricate landscape of caregiving. In this episode, I delve into the raw realities of facing daunting medical appointments, navigating complex emotions, and overcoming ruminating thoughts.

I  share my personal experiences and insights as I grapples with the weight of caregiver responsibilities and the relentless cycle of negative thoughts. Through candid reflections and real-life anecdotes, I shed light on the challenges caregivers often face and the resilience required to navigate them.

Discover how I transform her mindset from dread to determination, finding strength in vulnerability and courage in the face of uncertainty. Learn valuable strategies for overcoming negative thoughts, advocating for better care, and fostering self-empowerment in the caregiving journey.

Tune in to gain inspiration, practical insights, and a renewed sense of purpose as we navigate the highs and lows of caregiving together. Whether you're a caregiver yourself or simply seeking understanding, this episode offers invaluable wisdom and support for anyone on a journey of caring for a loved one.

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

Speaker 1:

Well, hello, my friend, welcome to another episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast. It's Kathy here. I changed up my podcast content this week since I had a situation last week that happened and you know you might feel this way too, and that's why I wanted to share it. I'm not proud of how I felt, most importantly, what I was thinking, and if I didn't change this about myself, it would have impacted my spouse's care, his visit with his doctor, the relationship between him and I and probably the relationship with his doctor and, most importantly, how I felt about myself as a caregiver, being my best caregiver self that I've worked so hard at. So let me share the little bit of a situation and in this podcast episode I'm going to go ahead and share the habits and the tactics that I used and the outcome.

Speaker 1:

So, in a nutshell, I woke up last Friday morning dreading the day ahead. I was crabby, the negative thoughts were ruminating, we had to go to Dennis's oncology appointment, since I've done this dozens and dozens of times, but this one seemed different. So, as I was walking my dogs in the morning which I normally do I walk them about three miles every morning I'm trying to process my crabbiness, my thoughts and my mood and I had to really get to the root cause of what this was all about. And so I started walking and I said I was worried about Dennis's results. I was thinking about this in my head. I was worried that what if this happened? Or what if this happened? And then I kept telling myself I'd rather just stay home and do something distracting and have him come back, but then if he came back I would be just drilling him about what was this like, what was that like? And I know how important the results pieces are. I don't go to every single appointment with him anymore because we've been doing this for seven years, but I go to the scan result appointments or when he's having multiple issues where he just needs an extra voice. But as I'm walking I'm unpacking it and I figured it out. It wasn't even the worry which was part of it, but I figured out. I peeled another piece of the onion, kind of like you're unpeeling an onion. I had trauma from the past. I've been doing this for seven years with Dennis, with my mom, with my dad. This was, I think, about the 10th PET scan with results and all the other 100 other biopsies and CT scans and lab results. Oh my gosh, he had hundreds of those. But this was the, a PET scan I don't know what the official name is, but they do it from his neck to his trunk. So they look at everything in the trunk of his area, so from his clavicle to his spine, to all of his organs, that kind of thing. So it was one of those things again. But then I said I got to peel another onion because really the trauma is enough. But it's not really what the root cause of my crabbyness was and me not wanting to go. You know what it was and I'm kind of not shamed but I'm kind of not proud of it.

Speaker 1:

I don't like his oncology doctor, and I'm just going to say it. I don't like him. Dennis had this, really he had his first oncology doctor, was one of the most amazing doctors we've ever ever experienced, and his primary care doctor was right up there. But now, when you compare this best doctor ever to any other doctor, they just don't. They don't line up to the doctor that he used to have. And so we struggled. When his first oncology doctor he left to go further south where his family lived and he found another clinic. He stayed in the same clinic. But if we would go there it would be an hour and a half and we're not going to do that for every single appointment and treatment he has. And so we had to find another doctor we liked, and it took us a few doctors before we found an oncologist that we trusted we could communicate with and so on.

Speaker 1:

Don't get me wrong. The doctor that he has is very professional, he's very qualified, he provides good care. But in my opinion it's very hard to communicate with him. It's hard to ask questions, it's hard to share concerns, his empathy and his communication styles are very limited and I've had a few situations where I went ahead and asked a question or I shared concerns and his body language and his tone made me feel frustrated and I had to figure this out because I had to figure out how to be a better advocate with him. But I'm laying in bed the night before and I am like almost thinking about I'm putting on boxing gloves and ready to fight because I didn't like him, I did. And I am like almost thinking about I'm putting on boxing gloves and ready to fight because I didn't like him, I did, and I'm gritting my teeth. I had a restless night's sleep trying to figure out how I would not get defensive and how to be assertive at asking questions and not disrespectful.

Speaker 1:

The funny thing is my spouse, dennis, is very laid back, and he's okay with him. He's so laid back that sometimes it just frustrates the heck out of me even more because he'll just settle for what he says and not understand why. And for me, I need to understand the whys. I need to understand what are the other options, because we've been doing this so long that I want to make sure that we're very educated and we can go ahead and make sure this is the absolute right thing, because with cancer you can't just stop and pause and take some time if you want to keep treating it, or at least in his situation. So I am about rephrasing it, making sure I understand it, making sure that this is the best possible care, asking the right questions, and I'll give you an example. And I'll give you an example Back in November.

Speaker 1:

He's on what's called Keytruda, which is an immune therapy drug now that is keeping his cancer at bay and his lymphoma his non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's lymphoma and I was seeing that there were days where his muscles ached so bad that he had a hard time standing up, and the Keytruda attacks the cancer, but it also attacks the healthy parts of your body as well. It doesn't know the difference. And so he was having a lot of bone pain and arthritic pain and that kind of thing, and he didn't want to share it with the doctor. And when he shared it with the doctor, and when he shared it with the doctor, then he can treat it, and so, and Dennis would be okay with like, oh, it was just a simple nausea that I had, or the pain, but it went away, and so he may be playing it down versus explaining that this is a symptom. And I want the doctor to be informed. I don't want him to be in pain. There are ways to treat it, or maybe they need to adjust something.

Speaker 1:

So that's what was going through my head. I was unpacking it all or peeling back each of the onion layers so that I could figure out what the root cause was. So once I got home from my walk, I felt so much better that I was able to recognize that it was trauma. But it was more than that. It was about my dislike for the doctor. It was really about that. I felt better about recognizing the root cause, and now I had the time. Now it was time for me to come up with my game plan so I could show up as my best possible self and really go ahead and do that.

Speaker 1:

That's why I wanted to share this podcast today and really share this, because how many times do you wake up or you have sleepless nights, or you dread your day or have something coming up and you don't want to face it? You just don't want to face it. Heck, today I have a root canal actually I'm recording this on the Monday, before you're listening to it on Tuesday and I have a root canal today at 3.30. And so I did the same thing on my walk today. I'm like, can I just erase this day Because I don't want to go in for my root canal? I just don't. And I had to unpack it, and really the big thing for me is getting the many, many shots to freeze it. It's so painful. It's so painful. Once it's frozen, I'm fine, and so I just need to go ahead and really just get through that piece, and I know that my tooth is going to feel so much better once they finish up this root canal. But that's kind of another thing. So you get these things where you're dreading it.

Speaker 1:

But what if or what I'm going to share are things that you can do to overcome these, because you want to overcome what I call the ruminating thoughts, all those negative thoughts that your brain wants to continue to reinforce, and you want to stop those ruminating thoughts that are doing you no good and help you shift. And for me, I needed to build what I call and what you call neuroplasticity. What you're doing is you're stopping the rumination thoughts and you're building these thinking mechanisms in your brain to help you deal with your frustrated thoughts, or the dreaded thoughts. In layman's terms, it's finding ways to overcome your negative thoughts, overcome your moods, those energy suckers that take all the energy out of you, and any other negative feelings or maybe actions that can make your day or your experience worse, because you dread the day. It reminds me.

Speaker 1:

What came to my mind is telling them when I raised my boys, telling my boys the night before that we're going to go somewhere in the afternoon and have some fun, but you have to bond with me in the morning so we can clean the house. Well, they didn't want to get up knowing that they had to clean the house in the morning so we can clean the house. Well, they didn't want to get up knowing that they had to clean the house in the morning, and so I envision the boys walking around with their shoulders down, with their body language showing that they have this attitude and they're humpty, dumpty, dump. I don't want to be around mom today because she's making us work that kind of thing, right? Well, that's the same for us.

Speaker 1:

For me, what I did this time was I tried a few different things because I needed to. First of all, it was eight o'clock in the morning and the appointment was for 1130. We had to be there early for labs, but I had to shift out of this as fast as I possibly could, and so what I had to think about is the doctor is not my enemy, or this is not my competition to have a boxing match with. He's a good man, but as I was thinking about him, and every time I thought about him, I had anger and resentment and I'm like he's a doctor, he's treating Dennis. Why am I holding this grudge from the past that I felt he wasn't answering my questions the right way and I needed to figure out how do I show up as my best self and what the outcome would look like? I had to know what I wanted and what it looked like and how I would show up, and I had to think through this.

Speaker 1:

And so, as I was getting ready, I said I can't control the test results. I wanted to be prepared and I wanted to ask good questions. I wanted to be a good listener, so I'm picturing myself being a really good listener. I wanted my spouse to be engaged in the conversations and I wanted to show up as a supportive but also a good advocate. So I went to a visualization of the room. I've been in so many I've been in every single of the exam rooms anyway so I could visualize the room. I spent space in the good energy and I had to figure out what it could look like. And so what it would look like. He would come into the room, dennis and I were sitting in our chairs. He would usually, you know, greet us with a handshake. What could I do to go ahead and make that first impression of the appointment, make me feel better? And then he gets over to his computer and pulls up his results at the little desk that they have there He'll do his exam. So I'm envisioning all of this.

Speaker 1:

Now I had to sit with the things that might throw me off and cause frustration too, so I had to visualize what it would look like and then visualize the what ifs, the things that could make me feel moody, could make me shut down, could make me bark at something, and so I went through the what if? Scenarios. What if the doctor is late? It irritates us because we have been in situations where the doctor is really late and I have to go out and ask do we have an ETA? It's now been 40 minutes that we've been sitting in the room not in this clinic, but we've had situations I had to visualize.

Speaker 1:

What if the PET scan results are not what we expected? Because his first doctor would show us the PET scan results in advance and we would be able to get a glimpse of them before this doctor. Doesn't? We look at them all together? And what if he doesn't share much or talks over our head, which he has a tendency to do? He goes ahead and talks over our head or talks through it really really fast, and it's hard to go ahead and grasp, or talks through it really really fast, and it's hard to go ahead and grasp. And then I have to talk through what if he seems frustrated with me by me asking questions or I ask him to repeat something. I have to be prepared for that so that I can go ahead and overcome that.

Speaker 1:

This is what I did too, and I don't know if you use the AI or the artificial intelligence or chat GPT, which is absolutely free. I shared my thoughts and my feelings, my frustrations, and asked chat GPT how could I prepare and ask better questions when I'm at the appointment, knowing the situation that I'm in? And it was really interesting because there I could actually just absorb it and I took some of these questions with you. So I would encourage you. I know some people are anti-artificial intelligence, but it may be beneficial for you to just gather questions that you don't even think about. May be beneficial for you to just gather questions that you don't even think about. So this is what ChatGPT said to me. It says going into the appointment prepared can help you make the most of your time with your health care team, ensure that all information that is shared that you want.

Speaker 1:

And here are some questions you may consider what are the results of the PET scan. I know I don't have to ask that because he's going to share those. Have there been any changes compared to the previous scan versus in the past? I would ask questions like okay, where's the cancer at? Do we see improvement? Asking what the comparison was from November to now is going to be a better view. He's had CT scans in between that have given us glimpses of this, but now this is the apple to apple comparison.

Speaker 1:

I thought this was another one Good question. What do the findings mean for my husband's condition and treatment plan going forward? I used that one. I wrote that one down. Are there any new areas of concerns or signs of progression? What treatment options are available based on the scan results or, knowing me, are we going to continue with the treatment plans? They gave us some clinical trial questions possible side effects. How soon do we need to make decisions about treatment? We know that that one isn't going to work because he is already in treatment.

Speaker 1:

And then, if there was things going wrong, I had some other questions as well that I could use. And then ChatGPT said, or the artificial intelligence said, it's also helpful to bring a list of medications your husband is currently taking, as well as questions or concerns you may have. Don't hesitate to ask for clarification. If there's anything you don't understand, your health care team is there to anything you don't understand, your healthcare team is there to support you and provide guidance every step of the way. So that was really good. I gleaned two or three questions from that and you can continue to ask questions to chat GPT. You can say put these into my voice. Can you go ahead and address this question? How do I ask this question? So you can go ahead and do that. I also went back to my old school course that I was certified in training and it's called Crucial Conversations and these are conversations you have with people that are difficult or you have problems with from a communication style perspective, and it helped me look up ways to reword the same question or ask better questions.

Speaker 1:

If I sense pushback in the room and most of the time, crucial conversations is really making sure you understand and you're listening and you're rewording. I appreciate, for example, I wrote down things like I appreciate you sharing the results today. So you're getting into that compliment stage. Can you help me understand more about? And I wrote that down because if there was like an area of concern more about, and I wrote that down because if there was, like an area of concern, can you help me understand why we saw improvement there or why we didn't see improvement there? That's what I wrote down. I wrote down. Or another one is I wrote down I'm concerned when you said X, y and Z. I'm concerned when you said X, y and Z. So both of these questions are really talking about you. Can you help me understand? Or I'm concerned? You said this and you're really going ahead and focusing it more in your space.

Speaker 1:

So I came in with some questions and tried to get a little bit more prepared. I was also prepared to push back and if you know me a little bit, I'm feisty, but I'm very respectful. I'm a little bit feisty and I will not let down, especially when it comes to my loved one's health. And I think I've gained this advocacy skill set and I am very proud of going ahead and making sure I am a really good advocate so that my loved one doesn't have to go through additional pain and suffering. So I prepared myself for any pushback if I needed to.

Speaker 1:

But in order to do that, I had to talk with Dennis and after I took my shower. I explained to him I'm like, have you noticed that I'm not talking a lot today and you know what the issue is? And I explained that I just didn't like his doctor and he goes. Oh, I knew that already. But I said I want to go in there and be very open and make sure that I am being respectful and I had to make sure I tried everything else first before I jumped into the strong advocate personality that I can be, because I know advocating isn't being the nice guy and it doesn't mean being a jerk either. I need to go ahead and be professional. It's all about Dennis's care right now. It was all about my loved one's care right now.

Speaker 1:

There were many times where the doctor left and I just didn't feel good that. I went ahead and said like mom, you go ahead and get ready. The nurse is going to be back in. I just need to go to the front desk a minute and see if I can ask one more question. And my mom would be so mad at me. But I'm like I have another question and then I could go ahead and get a nurse to answer the question or the doctor would come back. But it was all about making sure I didn't miss anything when you feel like you're not getting the information you need, and for me from the oncologist, in this situation it's important to advocate for yourself and your husband's care.

Speaker 1:

And when I went to chat GPT again, they gave me some more guidance, knowing my situation, and these are things that I already know, but I thought, oh, I'm going to share them with you anyway. It says express your concerns, let the oncologist know that you feel like you're not getting enough information. If I get to that point, I have to go ahead and do that. And it says be respectful but assertive in expressing your concerns. And it says ask specific questions and really getting specific. I think I've learned about it and I'll share my outcome. Come prepared with a list of questions you want to ask during the appointment and don't hesitate to ask for clarification or more details. And there was one situation I'm going to share in just a minute that Dennis was just nodding his head, but when we got clarification it actually sunk in with Dennis and he's actually going to do it. He wouldn't have done it if we didn't ask clarification.

Speaker 1:

It also says you have a right to request a second opinion if you're not getting your answers that you need. But I even go further, and ChatGPT doesn't know this. I had said we have a nurse navigator or a cancer coordinator whatever you call it in your clinic. There are other people that can be your liaison. If you're struggling with the advocacy piece In getting that, can we get a second opinion? Can I talk to you about this, because I don't understand everything. The doctors seem like they were pressed for time. Use that and get that. Many times the nurse navigator was able to answer my question, but there were a couple of times where I got an extra virtual visit and I was able to go ahead and give them my questions and we got another virtual visit and I was able to go ahead and give them my questions and we got another virtual visit. It's also said seek support, which I talked about just now, and consider bringing a trusted advocate with you and with being Dennis's advocate. If there was a situation where it was more complex, I would ask my kids to come with me or ask the nurse and advocator to be there in this situation because I'm struggling. Whatever it would be, remember your rights as an advocate. Don't hesitate to speak up and advocate. That's what GPT says. Okay, I can't tell you enough how this preparation helped me become a better advocate and I am grateful and you should be grateful when your mind and your body tell you something.

Speaker 1:

No matter if you're dreading the day or not, you have to acknowledge that I didn't want to get up. I was actually not sleeping the night before. There's something wrong here, kathy, and I need to figure it out. There's something wrong Put in your name. I have to figure it out. Listen to your body and your mind. I want you to know that nine times out of 10, your perception and gut instincts are right. They're right and they're going to help you through that. I can't tell you how many times I've questioned, I've pushed back, I was persistent, and all in a very professional and kind way. There were many times, if we didn't push and if I didn't push, to say maybe we should biopsy this piece because this one looks unfamiliar. Have we thought about that? And we biopsied and find out that his cancer morphed? Because they said well, we can just wait until the next time and I'm like what's a more aggressive way that we could go ahead and get on top of this? You know that sort of thing.

Speaker 1:

The medical team only spends an appointment with your loved one. Maybe it's an hour, maybe it's labs and treatment and the appointment, but they only spend that small portion with their loved one. You're the one that's spending more time with them. You're the eyes, you're the ears. You're the ones that you have to go ahead and fill in the cracks. They only see the technical, medical side of it. You're sharing the everyday living. You're sharing the symptoms, the moods, the atmosphere. You're their eyes and ears. And if the doctor with your loved one is not going to work with you and be your partner, then you need to look at a better solution or you need to go ahead and figure out how to make that partnership work. So let me tell you the outcome.

Speaker 1:

And Dennis didn't want. I had a discussion with Dennis and Dennis didn't want to change an oncologist. He's had too many changes and he wants to stay with this doctor if at all possible. We talked about how we could work with him, how I would feel better with his personality and style. I had to go ahead and be okay with him. You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of a teacher. Let's say you have children and they go to school or they went through school. Every year they had to change teachers or classes. They have different teachers. You can't go in there and demand different teachers all the time. Now, maybe there's situations where you did, but most of the time you had to learn their style and their personality. Some of them you like, some of them you didn't like.

Speaker 1:

So I had to hone my advocacy skills and that's what the route that I went with. I'm done with thinking about the doctor anymore, because I have to put aside my dislikes for the doctor. We weren't going to go out for lunch together. We weren't going to ever be friends. I just had to be confident with his expertise and care. I had to trust that he was the best possible care and Dennis liked him. I had to find a way to be open with him and show him that we're all in this together. So what I did for the appointment is I went in and had this mindset, this partnership mindset. But I also went in with this experiment, testing, kind of comment and question phase, and I did it in real time and played with the way I asked questions and was kind of doing it that way.

Speaker 1:

But let me back up. First of all, remember I envisioned him coming into the room. He knocks on the door, he walks into the room. He also has another person, a medical student, transcribing for him. He comes in and he always shakes our hands. This time I went ahead and smiled with eye contact and I said you know, good morning, how are you? You know, this is an exciting day for us, that kind of thing. So I went in and I smiled, I went above and beyond.

Speaker 1:

Versus in the past I would have just said hey, hi, let's get to the meat of it. And I went in with saying I have to listen, because the doctor that we have likes to do his thing first. He likes to do all of his presenting of the facts, talking through everything, looking at all of the data on the computer, and I think he gets annoyed because I want to interrupt sometimes or I have questions and I need to go ahead. So I sat on my hands as a way to go ahead and remind myself to just listen and let him get through all of the data and let him have conversations with Dennis first and take a back seat, and that's really, really hard for me. So after that then I asked him questions, but I did it differently. Then I asked him questions, but I did it differently. And when he gave the results, I said how do you feel on a scale of one to 10? One being not good, 10 being the best? And he smiled at me and he goes I like that question. And I'm like, okay, put that one in my back pocket because he likes that question. And so I started experimenting with different ways and I used some of the other questions that we had talked about.

Speaker 1:

Then, after he gave the results and looked at all of his lab work he always does, dennis gets off of his little chair that he's on and goes to the exam table and he does like the physical exam, checking all of his lymph nodes and that kind of thing. As he's checking the lymph nodes, he always continues to talk and more or less gives Dennis directives and coaches them and he's like I want you to go ahead and make sure you take a water bottle with you all the time and drink at least 50 ounces of water every day. And no, no, no ibuprofen anymore, you can't take ibuprofen. And Dennis is nodding his head. But that's all he said and I'm waiting for Dennis to ask questions of why. And then Dennis didn't ask.

Speaker 1:

And then, after Dennis sat up from the exam table, I said to the doctor are you saying this because his creatine levels are high? And I wanted to ask a factual question, you know because you said to drink water. And he said then he opened up about, yeah, the creatine level, the Keytruda that he's taking, you know, could affect his kidneys and his liver. So it's really important that he drinks a lot of water and no ibuprofen, because we want his body to flush out his kidneys and keep his vital organs, which are healthy, going. And so I joke then after that because Dennis, my husband, hates just drinking plain water. He loves flavored water. He does not drink enough water. And I joked with the doctor and said ah, I'm glad I asked this. Dennis, don't you like that? I'm around now Because I'm going to make sure he drinks his water and he has his water with him. And the doctor actually looked at me and he said to me he goes, I really like when you're along. And it blew me away that he liked it.

Speaker 1:

But what really made me just have a little kick in my step is I had to just adjust my communication style with him and that was it. Gosh. Let me tell you this this caregiver stuff is constant learning process about yourself, isn't it, gosh? Just when you think you have it figured out, you have to go ahead and fidget. And just Just when you think you have it figured out, you have to go ahead and move forward and try something else. Every situation is different and every lifestyle that we have is different, and I knew that you probably can relate to it.

Speaker 1:

But let me get to just some good news. Dennis's cancer, or his scan, showed significant improvements with his treatment and he will continue his path. I mean, there are places that the lymph node swelling is 50% better. It just looks really good, and so his healthcare team has his plan dialed in. I just need to adjust my process and their process and really go in with a better mindset. So it worked out really well, and you know what I learned so much from it and why I'm telling you this is because we're going to learn something from it every time.

Speaker 1:

Now, if I would have gotten bad results, I'm going to take that as data and saying, okay, this is a situation, now how could I shift and change going forward the next time? Or maybe I have to bring in somebody else the next time, or maybe I need to just have a separate conversation with the doctor, whatever it would be, but every piece you have to learn. So, in a nutshell, his health care team has, like I said, his plan dialed in. I just need to adjust the process and in my mind and really learn myself. I had to adjust my communication style, most importantly, listening and asking the right questions, and asking the right questions Because 99% of the information was shared. I have to also learn to trust the process and really do that. I had to understand they are showing results and the doctor's main job there was to show us the results first. The doctor's main job there was to show us the results first. But I also really learned that I had to listen to my gut and my mind.

Speaker 1:

I can't even imagine if I wouldn't have did this that Friday morning. I would have walked in there with anger and resentment and a chip on my shoulder and probably a little bit of attitude, and my spouse would have probably been stressed and I just had to go ahead and really figure that out. So as we end this episode today, let me revisit the three most important habits I leaned into during this situation. I listened to my gut and acknowledged and processed it and peeling back that onion and really saying, okay, what else is going on? What else is going on, what else is going on on? I'm crabby, I have trauma from that place. If I just peeled back those two, I wouldn't have gotten to the root cause.

Speaker 1:

And then the second thing I did is I did a visualization of it. I visualized myself in that place with the doctor, with Dennis within the room, and I envisioned the handshake. But I envisioned me going an extra mile with the handshake so that I I don't know how to put it I threw off an impression that I cared, maybe, or when I tried to connect, which is good. I envisioned myself asking the right questions. I envisioned myself listening and I had to figure out how I was going to listen. So I envisioned what I would look like if I sat on my hands, because I do that in podcast interviews, because I like to interrupt, interrupt and I can't do that. And then I figured out the right questions to ask and be prepared. Now, I didn't ask every single question. I had a notes page on my phone that I had all my questions on. I didn't have to ask all the questions, because most of the questions were answered, but I wanted to get his gut feel on a scale of 1 to 10. He said these are really good results. And then I wanted to ask him oh so, on a scale of 1 to 10, where do you think we're at and how do you feel about it? And he was like an H. This is really good. And if this keeps progressing like this, you know Dennis is going to live a longer life. You know, and he said something like and I can't remember exactly what this is what the oncologists go to school for. We want to go ahead and see these results, and so he shared a little bit about himself and so being prepared and asking. So those were the three.

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Now, these are skills and habits you learn as a caregiver. Remember, I'm here for you if you need help. I gave you the AI or the artificial intelligence route too. That's another tool or resource that you can use. We have the podcast episodes that you can go back to and use and you can continue to fill your toolkit. But if there are things that are happening just in time and you can't get beyond it and you don't know how to work through it like I did. Now. This has come from seven years of caregiving. This has come from working with therapists, going and reading tons of books, talking to people, talking to communities. I've learned these things over the years, so I could go back and pull out some things in my toolkit and use them. If you don't have that, know, I'm here for you.

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I have a free chat. I offer coaching and if you think that that might be the route you want to go to click on the bottom of this in my podcast notes and get a free 30-minute chat and we can look at what are the peelings you need to peel off of your onion and let's look at how you can unpack it, or if you're looking for the overall caregiving experience and trying to figure out all of these pieces, because caregiving is just not about being an advocate. It's about mindset, it's about managing your stress, it's about prioritizing your health, it's about protecting your time and energy and so much more. And that's what I cover from A to Z in the Empowerful Caregiver School, which is open now, so you can go ahead and check that out. And so, to end today, then, I want to thank you for being a listener to the Caregiver Cup podcast.

Speaker 1:

I want you to look in your show description. There is now a text that you can send to me and the text goes to a computer program. But if you wanted to text me a question, if you wanted to comment or just do a thumbs up or whatever, you can text me and give me your thoughts on this podcast episode. You can go ahead and share. Hey, I want to hear more about this. You can share a comment that you have as well.

Speaker 1:

Step closer to going ahead and hearing from you, because in a podcast, you don't really get to hear from your audience unless they put out a review, which I love, or they hit the subscribe button, which I encourage you to do. So this is one way to go ahead and get a feeler from you as well. So you have a good rest of the week, my friend, and here's to more sunnier days than cloudy days. Here's for you waking up and assessing what you're feeling like each and every day and figuring out is it something that I need to go ahead and unpack right now? And if you do take that time and do that, whether it be five minutes or for me, it took me a few hours to do that, but you're going to see it. At the end You're going to say I am so grateful I did that. We'll talk to you again next week, my friend. Bye for now.

Navigating Emotions Towards Healthcare Providers
Overcoming Negative Thoughts and Anxiety
Advocating for a Loved One's Care
Caregiver Learns Communication and Adaptation