By: Logan Greene, "Jacks Only" Private Facebook Group Admin
On April 1st of 2021, Jack's Caregiver Coalition made our Jack's Only Facebook group findable by the public. We made it so guys from around the world can find our group and request to join after we review their answers to a short questionnaire. Anyone who's been a caregiver for a loved one with a catastrophic illness, that identifies as male, is welcome. Becoming a full-fledged member of Jack's Caregiver Coalition is not required. We simply want to provide a space online for guys who've played the role of a caregiver, to interact with other guys who've played that role. Whether that interaction is posting, reading, liking, or commenting, all are welcome.
What Does a Great Caregiver Do?
By: Laura Effel
When I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2012, I had never heard of the disease.
Learning that I had cancer was terrifying, and it didn’t help that my first husband had died of cancer. My primary care doctor tried to reassure me: “Multiple myeloma is treatable. I have patients who have lived with this disease for 10 and 20 years.”
But my husband Robert knew what to do. His father had had multiple myeloma years before we were married, when treatments were rare and not especially effective. He had gotten to know Dr. Brian Durie and the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) that Dr. Durie headed and signed us up for its patient and family seminar. At the meeting he asked Dr. Durie: who should we get to treat Laura? The answer set us on our path.
The IMF meeting was only the beginning of our journey to get treatment for me with one of the nation’s best myeloma specialists. After nearly two dozen treatments in more than 8 years, including 6 clinical trials, I finally reached remission for the first time this year.
Along the way, Robert took care of me. He never hesitated to drive me to the emergency room, several times late at night. Any time I was in crisis, he was there for me. He would tell members of our support group that he just drives the car, but that was never all. He did the grocery shopping, cooked our meals, nudged me to consume more protein, read my test results, asked questions of my doctor, helped me to understand. Trained as a chemist and food scientist, he made sure he knew what I needed and provided it.
I have the best, most loving caregiver and partner anyone could have.
How lucky I am!
The Path to Angel
Celebrating 20 years of Angel Foundation.
A tribute to perseverance, passion, and one so loved,
who was lost so many years ago.
The summer of ’64 and Jim. A beginning.
Caregiving is an interesting and winding journey
by: Rachel Engstrom
The first time he met her, she laughed in his face.
It was a cold, January morning in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, in 1992. Dan Cramer was working for a political campaign at a Democratic meeting at the local Holiday Inn, and between presentations, he spotted what he describes as a ‘really beautiful young woman’ sitting at a rival campaign table. He walked up to her, in his brand-new suit and tie (something that made him stand out at the mostly informal event) and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Dan Cramer. I don’t believe we’ve ever met.”
That's when she laughed in his face. That was it or so he thought.
Until Further Notice
by Natalie Meysembourg
If you’ve ever experienced a catastrophic life event like cancer, death of a loved one, divorce or an accident, it is so important to deal with the emotional trauma that comes along with these events. The way that I've learned to deal with this is through my writing.
“I remember being in the doctor’s office,” Eric begins. “The oncologist and healthcare coordinator came in, and I knew it wasn't good by the look on their faces. Ashley was holding Madelyn when we got the full cancer diagnosis. They gave us the news, started talking about survivorship, and asking us all sorts of questions.
“I remember thinking that I was going to be a single dad to a new baby. I’m like, ‘how are you going to do that, Eric?’
“I got up, said I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to get out of the room. But I also knew I couldn’t leave. I’m standing there, and the next thing I know, I passed out.
“I wake up and nurses are checking my blood pressure and I’m saying, ‘Don’t worry about me - Ashley’s the one who’s sick.’ I’m looking over to her. She comes over, holds my hand and says, ‘Live with no regrets.’ That was something my dad used to say.
“I knew that from that point on, whatever happened, everything was going to be okay.”
It wasn’t a big thing. Many people may not have even noticed it. They might have just turned their heads, stared through the dusty, bus windows and gotten lost in the Peruvian mountainside and the music playing in the one earbud.
To Andrés, though, it was a lasting, meaningful impression that would stay with him throughout his life.
And Eva had just made it.
The Meysembourgs came into 2018 on a high note.
Their daughter, Mila, was born 3 months earlier, in October, and Nick just became partner in a sales company he’d worked at for over 11 years.
They were on a roll.
Sarah DeBord lived with stage IV colon cancer since November of 2011, when she was diagnosed at the age of 34. She knew early on that there was no way out of this disease and that it would probably take her life.