A Caregiver’s Perspective: Being the Best Version of You

Newlyweds with a new diagnosis

When you think of being a newlywed, what comes to mind? Laughter, love, spending forever with your partner—these are just a few things I thought of.

Cancer never crossed my mind.

Four months into marriage, “forever” suddenly shifted to, “Do we have tomorrow?”
 

Stuck on autopilot

Every single day, I faced daunting statistics, decisions about treatments, and the overwhelming feeling that I was drowning.

I remember being on autopilot and not even realizing I was on autopilot. Get up, get the kids ready for school, follow up on medications, go to work, drive to appointments, pick the kids up, make dinner—the list goes on and on.

The minute I would leave the house alone, I found myself sobbing. It was the only time I didn’t have to shove my feelings down and make sure that everyone else was okay.

It was the only time I could stop acting like I was okay.
 

Acknowledging grief

I started to feel like no one cared about my well-being, though I know that wasn’t the case. I felt myself fading away.

This is the point I became aware that I wasn’t giving myself what I needed to be a good wife and mother—to be present in our lives.

I realized that while I had been on autopilot, I had been ignoring my anger and my grief for the life I had been dreaming of.
I had to acknowledge these feelings and tell myself they were valid. Then I had to ask, ‘What can I control? What can I do?'


Remind yourself how good you feel after a full night’s sleep. It sometimes gives you a new perspective or hope—the ability to do what felt impossible yesterday.

Amanda_Fishing.jpg

 

Putting yourself first

With this new awareness into my grief and my mental health, I took the first step and scheduled a massage. That 90 minutes of time for me and about me was the reminder that I needed to make myself a priority, as well as my husband and family.

Today, I spend more time walking, gardening, sewing, and getting massages, and it allows me to be a better wife and caregiver. My husband didn’t ask to have glioblastoma, but he also didn’t ask to lose the spark for life that he has with his wife.

I owe him the very best version of myself.

Amanda_Dog.jpg


You matter

Being a mother, a wife, and holding a career is enough to require you to take time for yourself. Add in being a caregiver and that need grows exponentially.

If I could share some advice, please allow people to help you. Preparing meals, grocery shopping, sitting with your loved one while you take a nap—it doesn’t matter what it might be, people want to help. They don’t have to understand what you are feeling.

It is okay to ask for help. You matter, and you are grieving. You need to be able to breathe so you can be the best version of you.
Topics: Learning About Optune, Daily Life with Optune, For Caregivers
By - 38, Brookfeild, WI

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What is Optune® approved to treat?

Optune is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.

Newly diagnosed GBM

If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:

Recurrent GBM

If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:

What is Optune Lua approved to treat?

Optune Lua is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated for the treatment of adult patients, with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) to be used together with standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy).

Who should not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM are not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

Do not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Optune/Optune Lua is safe or effective during pregnancy.

What should I know before using Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune and Optune Lua should only be used after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical staff who have completed a training course given by Novocure®, the maker of Optune and Optune Lua.

What are the possible side effects of Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy for GBM (temozolomide or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, seizure, and depression.

The most common side effects when using Optune alone for GBM were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers.

The most common side effects of Optune Lua when used together with chemotherapy for MPM (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy) were low red blood cell count, constipation, nausea, tiredness, chest pain, fatigue, skin irritation from device use, itchy skin, and cough.

Other potential adverse effects associated with the use of Optune Lua include: treatment related skin irritation, allergic reaction to the plaster or to the gel, electrode overheating leading to pain and/or local skin burns, infections at sites of electrode contact with the skin, local warmth and tingling sensation beneath the electrodes, muscle twitching, medical device site reaction and skin breakdown/skin ulcer.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Caution: Federal law restricts Optune Lua to sale by or on the order of a physician. Humanitarian Device. Authorized by Federal Law for use in the treatment of adult patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma concurrently with pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.

Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (IFU) for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

Please click here to see the Optune Lua IFU for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

On this site, patient and healthcare professional videos as well as all images labeled as Optune users, caregivers, or healthcare professionals depict actual patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. All other depictions of patients and caregivers are actor portrayals. Patient images reflect the health status of the patients at the time each photo was taken.

What is Optune approved to treat?

Optune is indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.