Life as a Caregiver, Advice from Lorraine Kember

Mesothelioma caregiver, Lorraine Kember, shares how her husband’s diagnosis changed her life and gives advice on what coping mechanisms worked for her during that rough time. You can see the rest of Lorraine’s videos as well as blogs from other mesothelioma survivors and caregivers on our Wall of Hope.

Transcription:

“Caring for Brian has taught me the true meaning of love and the strength of the human spirit. It has also taught me that as carers, we need not feel helpless. There is much we can do to help our loved ones achieve quality of life. I have found much peace in the knowledge that I made a difference, and I want to bring inspiration and strength to those who are on the same journey as I have traveled. As well as writing my books, I now speak publicly about my experience and I work part time in a cancer support center where we offer free complementary therapies and support to cancer patients and their carers.

What advice do you have for people who are caring for a loved one with mesothelioma?

Caring for a loved one with mesothelioma can be quite overwhelming and there will be times when you wonder what you can do to help. Knowledge is power. Find out as much as you can about mesothelioma and what symptoms and pain your loved one will experience as their disease progresses. This will enable you to put things in place for them when they will be needed, and also help them to make informed choices about available treatments.

Is it important for a caregiver to think of herself while caring for a loved one?

It is important for carers to look after themselves as well by having a good diet and if possible, a rest during the day. Don’t try to bottle the feelings up-talk to someone, talk to family members and friends, and see a counselor on a regular basis if you can. Writing your feelings down is also a very good way of releasing pent-up emotions. During my husband’s illness, I wrote in my diary every day and this was by far, my strongest coping tool.

What advice do you have for people who are caring for a loved one with mesothelioma?

Sometimes when someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are options of surgery. With pleural mesothelioma, if it is found early, lung surgery can be beneficial. Certainly I have read where people who have had lung surgery for pleural mesothelioma have had a longer survival.”

Would you like to share your story as well? Do you have a question for Lorraine? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.


Lorraine Kember is the author of "Lean on Me," an inspirational personal account of her husband's courageous battle with mesothelioma. She is an accomplished public speaker in Australia and is passionate about sharing her journey with cancer. Her website can be found at www.lean-on-me.net

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