I am my wife’s main caregiver. Shortly after our journey started, Kate and I realized that the role of caregiver and patient could get in the way of our marital relationship. We decided that, for us, these needed to be kept separate as much as possible.
We have been married for over 39 years. We started out as friends first and have always maintained open communication. At the beginning of the GBM journey, we had some very serious discussions about the road ahead for our lives. I realized that I could very well do everything for her associated with Optune—but I also realized that she needed to do as much as possible for herself to maintain her feelings of self-worth, and to decrease the dependency on me as much as possible. If she felt too dependent on me, then it would most definitely harm our relationship.
Enjoying Life Together
Kate and I continue to do as many things together as possible. The trick to keeping the spark alive for us is doing things together that do not include the caregiver and patient roles. We are season ticket holders for the Seattle Sounders soccer team and continue to attend matches.
With permission from Kate’s healthcare team, we also participate in a daily TV fitness program together and then a daily game of cribbage which, by the way, in the running tally for the year, I am way behind.
We have always had dinners out together at least weekly. It takes off the burden of cooking and gives us something to look forward to together. During the pandemic, this shifted to take-out meals, but now that we’re both fully vaccinated, we’ve been going back to our favorite restaurants.
Above all, Kate and I love to travel and continue to do that as much as possible. We had numerous trips planned around the world, but since Kate’s GBM diagnosis, we have limited that travel to North America, including Canada and Hawaii. This has included road trips and cross-country flights. Many of these flights have been from Washington state to Washington D.C. to see our grandson, son, and daughter-in-law. We have learned to allow extra time when flying, including time to educate TSA agents on Optune. For road trips, we plan on having all batteries charged and ready for the day.
During some of Kate’s breaks from treatment, on array change days, we set aside time for intimacy. This allows us time to focus on other things besides Kate’s condition and Optune. Her other breaks from treatment come during our annual trip to Hawaii (Kauai). When we’re there, we change the arrays every two days so she can get a couple of hours in the pool before putting new arrays on.
Taking time for each other during this journey has been extremely important in keeping our relationship strong. We love spending time together, and there isn’t another person I’d want along for the ride.