We Celebrate Aireen

It was an average day at work as a medical doctor in 2017 when the nurses noticed something was off with Pedro. When he started to lose his speech, we went to the emergency room and an MRI found lesions in his lungs with the cancer rapidly spreading to his brain.

Pedro’s prostate cancer diagnosis in 2015 had been difficult, but this was even more devastating for all of us – our daughter and son and their families. It all happened so quickly! As a doctor, Pedro knew his prognosis presented a challenging journey ahead. He went through chemotherapy and radiation, but the cancer was relentless.

Between the endless hospital visits and appointments, being his caregiver was overwhelming. I took care of him both in the hospital and at home. Caring for him felt like a roller coaster. Some days were good, most of them were not. Some nights I would only get an hour or half an hour of sleep, if I was lucky. I was constantly fatigued. I wanted to be there for him, but the challenge of caring for Pedro left me physically and mentally exhausted.

At Cancer Support Community, I found hope and respite. Five years ago, after Pedro’s original diagnosis, a friend saw the stress I was dealing with and invited me to a yoga class at Cancer Support Community. Having this organization as a resource was so helpful, especially when we received Pedro’s second diagnosis. Being around others who were dealing with the same situation made it a little easier. I was able to share my hopes, fears and challenges with others who understood. Coming to a cooking or yoga class, even for just for an hour, helped relieve my stress. The programs and the people I met helped me realize I needed to take care of myself to be able to provide the best care for Pedro.

I’m grateful that Cancer Support Community was there when I needed the support. The nice thing is that they’re still here for me as I adjust to life without my husband. I’ve learned ways to take care of myself and reduce my stress at my favorite programs, Gentle Yoga, Belly Dancing, and Cooking for Wellness. I’ve developed friendships with people who understand how cancer changes families and who understand the stress of taking care of a sick loved one. We share stories, we share hugs, and we lift each other up.

I’d like to thank Cancer Support Community for helping me on this journey.  I didn’t sign up to be a caregiver any more than Pedro signed up to have cancer, but I am so thankful that they’re here for me.

5 Responses to “We Celebrate Aireen”

  1. Len Fisher says:

    On behalf of your husband, thank you for being there when he needed you. I’m in the middle of chemo for my prostate cancer and my wife is an angel too.
    Lastly, I hope you will consider trying our drumming class. I love it.

  2. Len Fisher says:

    Thank you Len, yes I am a participant for the drumming circle group. Actually on Thursday, the group will meet at Anne’s yard. Members will have the address soon as the reminder goes out this week.
    My daughter and I attend the drumming sessions.
    We love it!
    Your name has been mentioned several times in the circle. We lift you every week. Please take care and my best to both of you and your wife.

  3. Shirley Powers says:

    Aireen, this is a great way to celebrate your life with Pedro. Thanks for being willing to share and for letting others know about the support they can receive from this group. God Bless You

  4. Melinda Harty says:

    You and many caregivers are SAINTs who selflessly gave up many things to be there for your suffering loved ones.
    We applaud you, Aireen for sharing the pain and glory with this upcoming interview.
    Let us lift each other to Divine Providence as we bravely walk thru this journey.

  5. Just wanted to say really well done. Superb job.

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