For National Family Caregivers Month, lymphoma caregiver Rickey Briskman explains the importance of caregivers putting themselves first.
In 1998, Marla Briskman was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, a subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Since they met in 2001, Briskman’s now husband, Rickey, has been by her side, caring for her as she faced five relapses and six different treatments.
Rickey is also familiar with the role of being a patient with cancer. When Rickey was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma one year after Marla’s relapse, Marla took on the role of caregiver while he completed treatment.
In a recent interview with CURE®, Rickey and Marla shared their story of navigating the roles of caregiver and patient while also being husband and wife. Rickey also stressed how he made sure to take care of himself before caring for Marla and advised his fellow cancer caregivers to do the same.
“You can’t take care of somebody else if you’re not in good shape,” he explained. “Take care of yourself first, then take care of them.”
The most important aspect of being a caregiver is (remembering that) you’ve got to take care of yourself. You can't take care of somebody else if you're not in in somewhat good shape. (If) you're depressed or you're unhappy, you won't be able to take care of anyone. So, you (have) got to take care of yourself, whatever it is going for walks, working out, being around some other people…Take care of yourself, because once you do that, you have the energy to take care of that person.
I'm sure every caregiver that goes through the same process that I do. Some more, less, some are more, but take care of yourself first, then take care of them.
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