Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Caregiver

This is a post that is way past due. I have procrastinated writing it because I knew how difficult it would be for me to adequately express my feelings for Lynn and what she means to me, especially at this time. For over forty years we have traveled the road of life together, sharing all the joys and sorrows that make up this mortal existence. Through it all Lynn has been my rock, my best friend and the love of my life. She is a constant example of love, service and charity in every aspect of her life; at work, at church, and specifically as a daughter, wife, mother and grandmother. But I have to say that over the last few months she has really out done herself.

The cancer patient may be the one getting poked, prodded and pumped full of dry cleaning fluid, but it is the Caregiver who is the real hero in this process. My commitment is easy. Dr. Z. “You can go through treatment and possibly live ten or more years, or you can die, the choice is yours”. Let’s see, let me think about this for awhile. The Caregiver, on the other hand is a volunteer job with no pay and terrible benefits. But Lynn, like always, is there for all of us when she is needed.

To a cancer patient your Caregiver is the most important person in your world (not that Lynn wasn’t already, but the world has changed significantly for us in the last six months). In our guidebook provided by the Huntsman it states “A transplant is not possible without the support of Caregivers.” I know this is true because without Lynn I would be toast. As my Caregiver, she provides the following:

24/7 Nurse - taking care of my central line catheter, giving me daily injections, making sure I stay hydrated, tracking my medications, and keeping medical records.

Personal Nutritionist - making sure everything I eat is on the approved list and is properly prepared.

Guardian Angel - protecting me from germs by disinfecting the house, keeping away visitors who are ill, and making sure I am washing my hands properly.

Chauffer - making countless trips to the Huntsman Center.

Emotional Support – Of all the things Lynn does for me this is probably the most important. I’m finding this to be an emotional roller coaster and having her there by my side gives me tremendous comfort and peace.

While Lynn is certainly my Primary Caregiver there are a lot of people who Lynn and I consider Caregivers as well. First of all, our children and their families followed closely by our extended families and our friends. Your gifts, cards, letters, emails, comments on the blog, phone calls and visits give us strength and lift our spirits. Thank you so much for your support, it means so much to us just knowing you are there.

Lynn being a Grandma

Skiing with the girls

Lap quilt made for me by Jennifer and Kelly with inputs from all 9 grandkids


Kim said...

We agree, aunt Lynn is pretty amazing but I'm sure she'd agree you're totally worth it!
We love you both very much and feel like we've been blessed with the best aunt and uncle in the world.
We're praying that 2009 is a much better year for you. Hang in there!
We love you,
Kim, Greg, and the kids

Paul, Sandra, Hailey, Sophie said...

Amen brother! I think you are both lucky to have each other. We had the chance to see the mo-tabs christmas program and Brian Stokes Mitchell sang a song called greatful and I couldnt get you guys out of my mind during the song. never once have you said anything bitter about the hand you have been delt ,only how greatful you are for your famliy, medical staff and what a great life you have. Awesome attitude! Good luck this week, you will be in our prayers.

Steph and Brady said...

What a wonderful post! I am so lucky to get to work with Lynn. I totally agree with all of the wonderful things that you said about her. She is such a wonderful person. I know that she feels the same about you. Good luck this week!

Book Girl said...

Setting the record straight.
1. Anyone who knows us well, knows I'm the lucky one.
2. Girls, no need to panic. Remember recently we became concerned when Kelly started calling Steve - DAD - I want to assure you that I am the same person you have always known - bossy, pushy, voicing my opinion loud and long - you know - a Smith through and through. Steve is fine, treatment is going well, and he is going to beat this thing. No worries. 3. Steve is a bit more emotional hence the glowing report. 4. Having set the record straight, do not doubt that I love Steve, there is no question about that. He is truly the BEST and like Kim said he is worth it ten times over!

Ann said...

Sometimes it is the freeing (hmmm, strange word?) of our emotions, because of things beyond our control, that allows each one of us to expose the deepest part of who we are and how we feel about precious, eternal, or just in general, life "things". Am not sure that makes sense, but as I read this post and caught up on others, I am reminded once again of the parts of life that become our rock to hold on to and of other things that really don't matter. What a blessing that you have each other to hold on to, and a neat family to help in the down time. We hope this is a good week for you.
Love you lots,
Ann and Paul

itcc said...

Steve and Lynn,
I've been following your blog all along - thank you for keeping us all updated. Lynn - miss seeing you :)
Kathy Andrews

Georgia said...

Thanks for sharing, Steve. You crack me up, Lynn! I can just hear you saying what you wrote!;-)
I hope to see you both this summer at the reunion. Hang in there!
-Cousin Georgia

Q said...

We kinda like Lynn too! She's got that Smith thing goin' on! We are lucky to have both of you in our lives. We love you both and continue to pray for you.

3 boYs aNd a giRL said...

Lynn, you are one amazing woman!! I love you (especially the spit-fire Smith in you your blood). I know there is never any need to worry about how these doctors are caring for Steve...not when he's got you by his side. And he's right, the caregiver too often goes forgotten. So, thanks for the hours spent, the sacrafices, the love given. Thanks for taking such good care of that hubby of yours!! He's got the BEST!!

Steve, you are the man!! I love you and your GREAT attitude. You are the BEST example of optimism and of faith out there. You keep up the fight...your wife is right, you're gonna beat this thing...if anyone can it's YOU.

I must mention just one more thing. The best thing about the two of you is, just that- the pair of you. No two people go better together than the two of you. Thanks to you both for showing all of us how it's supposed to be done.

Love you.


lisamcd1959 said...

Steve: I read your blog and pray for your recovery. I'm not sure if you're coming back to Rockwell when you are better, but if so, I look forward to working with you again.

Lisa McDonald

thehalvs said...

Aren't my mom and dad the coolest?

I love you both so much. And mom, we had no doubt you were still a Smith. No worries. Dad might grumble sometimes about being bossed around when it comes to meds, naps, and handwashing, but he knows it's what he needs, and we love you for doing it.

Keep up the good work and maybe someday you even talk him into that whole crazy multi-vitamin idea!

Love and hugs-
Good luck tomorrow-

ali said...

Steve and are both amazing! It is humbling to read how your family has "circled the wagons" to express their love and support during this time. It makes you as parents realize that you have done something very, very right. Bless you and yours!

Bob and Alison

lehi petersens said...

thank you for that beautiful post. it just reminds me how great both you and lynn are! we love you and your examples of optimism, caring and unselfish love. one of my favorite sayings is "attitude is everything, pick a good one." you both have done just that with the cards you have been dealt. good luck this week with the treatments. i hope the recovery date is shorter rather than longer. and i do have to say go smiths! :-) love to you both. <3 nat :-)

the kings said...

dang it - natalie got to be the thirteenth comment...and now I have to be fourteen, hmm..
Anyway, Jenn and I did win the parent lottery, what can we say!! Your are both the best - keep hanging in there.
all our love -
ty kel and crew

Christina said...

Brother Tanner, I love you and your family so much. I am so glad that I found your blog while sorting through my mom's e-mails. (She sometimes needs a little extra help with the whole computer thing!) I am so happy that treatments are going well (seeings how I am writing this in July! I have been catching up all night!) Anyway, I wanted to say that we love you and love your zest for life. I also wanted to make a comment about the 'terrible benefits'. Besides preferring that you didn't have to go through this, I'm sure that the best benefit through this is that Lynn gets to be with her sweetheart and to be the one to give you the care and neccessities. I know I would feel that way. You guys are amazing and I love seeing you guys together. I'll be praying for you! ;)

Christina (Hymas) Windhorst