Caregivers Are Priceless

Celebrated every November, National Family Caregivers Month, is an opportunity to honor the caregivers in our lives whether they are family or chosen family.

Hear from the Cervivor community as they share beautiful messages of love and appreciation for the people and other resources that have given them strength, support, and kindness.


My caregiver/fiancé. He has been there for me through so many different situations. We’ve had bumps in the road but love prevails. He fed me, bathed me, clothed me when I was too weak and gives hugs all the time. Most of all, he spoke life into me by encouraging and motivating me every single day.


My husband has been amazing through this whole thing. Spoils me rotten with anything I need, comes with me to all of my appointments, asks questions I wouldn’t even think to ask, has voluntarily taken over taxi duty for our two teenagers, and he bought me a fancy bidet toilet seat as a “Let’s kick cancer’s ass” gift. What more can I ask for??? So incredibly grateful for him.


“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” ~ Tia Walker

Having been on both sides – patient vs caregiver, I’ve found I prefer to give as receiving can be difficult at times. Being overwhelmed with generosity can feel difficult to live up to.


My hubby has been by my side every minute of every appointment, side effect, bad day, etc. This was him holding my hand while waiting for a brachy appointment. He’s my rock. My comforter. My best friend. And, my caregiver. I know it’s not easy for him (I myself have been a caregiver to my dad and my mom), and it’s definitely not easy for him to watch the person he vowed to love forever to be in pain. To suffer. To possibly face a future without them.


This is my baby girl. When I got diagnosed with stage 3B cervical cancer four years ago, she sold her home, packed her five children up and moved in with me. I’ve also had to have a surgery due to cancer in my lung and because the radiation had deteriorated my bones from my belly button down, I had a total hip and knee replacement.

Multiple strokes kept me in the hospital but she’s been by my side from the day that I heard, ‘you have cancer’. We get on each other’s nerves once in awhile but that’s what mothers and daughters do and at the end of the day I know she’s got my back.

She is also an amazing caregiver to her five children; a set of six year old twin girls, her seven year old boy, an 11 year old son with Asperger’s and ADHD, who was born with no rectum and had a colostomy bag for quite a few years, and a soon-to-be 13 year old daughter. I always say I’m very blessed and our house is always filled with love.


My caregiver. My support. My love.

He held my hand throughout the journey and he hasn’t let go.


My hubby was always a bit of a grumpy guy but this last year he has turned into a big old softy. The day after my radical hysterectomy he, without being asked, brushed my hair for the first time ever. He works 12 hours from our home and took off a month after surgery to look after me.

This November, Cervivor has partnered with Caregiver Action Network for their national campaign #CaregiverAnd. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the identities and passions that enrich your life. Check out Caregiver Action Network’s Family Caregiver Toolbox. It’s full of great resources for every topic!

Tell Me I Was A Good Mother, Tell Me I Did Everything I Could For Her

Colleen lost her daughter Caitlin to cervical cancer in May 2020. Caitlin was 32. Colleen was there on the day Caitlin received her Stage 4 diagnosis, and on the day she died just two years later. For Caregiver Awareness Month (November), Colleen shared some experiences and reflections with Cervivor:

I was with Caitlin April 13, 2018 – the day her doctors told her she had advanced cervical cancer.

I was familiar with the term “Stage 4.” I’m a surgical scrub nurse in the labor and delivery unit of our local hospital, so I know medical terminology. Maybe it was because of this that I could never fully wrap my  head around how she could possibly ever fully “beat” stage 4 cancer. So I prayed for time. I only got two years. She died on May 17, 2020.

I had hoped Caitlin would have more time to do some stuff before she died – to travel and experience the world. She kept on with different treatments. Chemo. Radiation. A clinical trial with an immunotherapy. They would work, a little bit. The tumors might shrink, but then come back. Or the treatment would work on the tumors in her cervix, but not on the cancer that had spread to the other parts of her body.  Still, she kept her spirits up. She kept fighting. She found a community of support in Cervivor. She did all that she could to share her story. She wanted to make sure that this didn’t need to happen to anyone else. She had so looked forward to attending the September 2019 Cervivor School in Chicago to hone her story sharing and outreach skills, but was ultimately too sick to attend.

As her mother, I just tried to accommodate her in any way I could. Whatever she wanted to do, I helped her do it. She surrounded herself with family and friends. She cherished her time with her nieces and her friends’ young children and took so much joy in them. Her best friends came from near and far and took turns living with her. Her brother came home from the military and stayed with her. She surrounded herself with love. Her friends made sure she was not alone. They did fundraisers to help with her medical costs. They organized meal drops. They strived to have “regular” Friday nights with pizza and beer, hanging out in her living room so that she didn’t have to give up her social life even when cancer was taking its toll. That made such an impression on me. I was proud that my daughter – always a fun and popular girl who loved going to concerts and music festivals – had such strong friendships and supportive friends.

I took the role of taking care of the caretakers. I cooked for everyone. I straightened up. That is the story of my life. I’m a mother and a nurse. But I wish I had stopped running around and just sat down to “be” with Caitlin. I wish I had just slowed down and spent time with her rather than always being so focused on “taking care” of her.

Yet at the same time, I’m always wondering, did I do enough for her?

Please tell me I did everything I could for her.

Please tell me I was a good mother.

I took family medical leave from work when Caitlin finally entered the care of hospice. I didn’t realize that two weeks after she started hospice, she would be gone.

Caitlin left me a gift that I am forever grateful for. Mother’s Day was a few days before she passed away. She gave me a beautiful Mother’s Day card that told me exactly what I needed to hear – that she loved me and loved her family. That card assured me that she knew she was loved and well cared for. I pray on those sentiments. I carry them with me.

I think what Caitlin would want to tell all women undergoing cervical cancer treatment, all women in general and, really, all people is this:

  • Listen to your body. Advocate for yourself.
  • None of the bullsh*t matters.
  • Cherish your time with your friends and your family.
  • Let go of FOMO (fear of missing out). If you are with your family and friends, there is nothing more important that you are missing.

I keep Caitlin alive in my mind every day. I talk to Caitlin’s friends about what is going on in their lives, and I find comfort in that. We are all friends on Facebook, and when a Facebook “memory” with Caitlin pops up for them, they share that with me.  They share photos of Caitlin at concerts, festivals, weddings and celebrations.  They share those photo memories of my beautiful daughter out enjoying the world with them. Her life was short. But she did amazing things and surrounded herself with amazing people.