15. Don’t try to fix everything

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Dori helps us understand why open communication is so important when a family member is living with an incurable diagnosis and how she’s been working hard to be fully transparent and honoring the needs of her husband and children on their journey with cancer.

I’m super appreciative of the personal reflections Dori shared in this conversation. At the core, her message has been so consistent, which is that open communication is so important for families navigating the cancer journey. She demonstrated this beautifully with her children by being completely transparent about what was happening, checked in on how they were feeling, and gave them a choice about how they wanted to be involved.

What was even more amazing was that she had explicitly given her husband the permission to do as he wished, even if that meant not to continue living. I can’t imagine what courage and love it took for her to have that conversation. She also brought so much humility by admitting that even though she did give him permission, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments of real struggle still.

I was also glad that she pointed out how caregivers can sometimes get lost during the journey – not just because we often don’t prioritize taking care of our own needs, but it can feel like it’s our responsibility to fix everything, usually making sure that the patient is eating “right”. This unfortunately becomes an added source of stress for the patient at a time when they should be focused on relaxing and healing.

Crises like cancer can amplify existing relationship dynamics in a negative way so it’s important for caregivers to assess if the patterns in our relationships are really serving the patient, or if somehow, our own needs got in the way.

You can find more information about Dori’s work as a functional health practitioner at https://www.dorimartin.com/.

She also referenced the book Radical Remission by Kelly A . Turner.

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