The cancer journey can have a profound impact on the patient and those close by providing support. Finding oneself in the role of caregiver for a cancer patient can be an emotionally exhausting experience for a young adult, as they try to maintain support and composure in times of worry and hurt.
Life on Pause is a podcast created by and for young adults living with cancer. Within this episode, our host Brady Lucus chats with guest speaker Krissy Hitz about the challenges and rewards of being a caregiver to a loved one with cancer.
Listen to Brady and Krissy as they discuss the caregiver experience:
Guest Introduction (0:30)
Our host Brady begins this episode by introducing this episode's guest, Krissy Pitts. Krissy provides a background of her history as a caregiver for her late husband, Todd, as he fought his battle against Hodgkin's disease. After learning of the diagnosis together when she was 18, she dedicated the next twenty years of her life by Todd's side, providing support and love through his cancer journey.
An Emotional Roller Coaster (6:11)
Looking back on her caregiver experience as a young adult, Krissy recalls its impacts on her life emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically. She credits her faith, her strong relationship with her husband, and her relationships with doctors, friends, and family as helpful for maintaining positivity.
Asking for Help (10:33)
Krissy goes into detail about her experience balancing her life as a young adult and her role as a caregiver. She discusses the impact of the cancer journey on caregivers and the difficulty of asking for help from others. Throughout the feelings of guilt and constant worry, Krissy describes the deep appreciation that she and her husband formed for each other during this time.
Taking Chances (15:07)
At the time of Todd's battle with Hodgkin's disease, medical science regarding bone marrow transplant operations was still in its earlier developmental stages. Krissy talks about her responsibility of supporting Todd and putting on a brave face as he underwent this unfamiliar process or receiving a bone marrow transplant.
Peace With No Control (24:20)
People often make preparations to seek stability and control during times of uncertainty. Patients and their caregivers must face the painful reality of having difficult conversations and preparing for worst-case scenarios through the cancer journey. After her husband's passing, Krissy experienced the difficulty of letting go and making peace with not being in control.
Thankfulness Throughout (31:07)
When Todd underwent his bone marrow transplant procedure, he helped pave the way for other cancer patients in need of transplants. Now twenty-five years later, Krissy expresses her gratitude for all of the ways she and Todd's experience helped to progress medical science and aid others in their fights against Hodgkin's disease.
Advice for Caregivers (33:01)
Krissy tells listeners the one piece of advice she would provide to young adult caregivers going through cancer treatments.