By the Mayan Calendar, December 21, 2012, was supposed to be the end of the world. The world didn’t end, but life as I knew it would. Robin, my wife, and best friend was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer.
I am a maintenance man for the county government and my job is to fix things. Throughout our marriage, my wife has joked that she married me because I make her laugh and I can fix things. But there was something I couldn’t fix, and we sure weren’t laughing. I felt helpless. We both did. And so began my caregiving journey.
For more than 7 years now we have navigated through the world of multiple surgeries, chemo, radiation, and various other treatments and procedures. During this time my feelings of helplessness have diminished as I have realized how important it is just BEING THERE for her. Driving her to and attending every appointment; keeping track of what the doctors are saying; being in the waiting room for her during every scan; keeping her company through every chemo treatment; little trips out for odd items; making sure she takes her medicines and let her sleep as much as she wants. We as caregivers have to dig deep within ourselves to be as strong and encouraging as we can, to be there through the good and bad times, to be the shoulder to cry on, and the giver of hugs of fear and happiness. But caregiving doesn’t stop there. The family members who embrace you with their love and concern, the friends who are there to give advice, encouragement or just to listen; the co-worker who sends a card or flowers or fixes a meal – they all play an important part in the caregiving role and should be recognized for the part they play.
My hope is that by all of us coming together like we are today, raising awareness about the symptoms of this terrible disease, and raising money for research, one day in the near future we will well be on our way to Fixing it!
Chip McGolrick lives in Hollywood, Maryland with his wife, Robin. Their two adult children and extended family live nearby, and are all advocates for NOCC and promoting early awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.