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Survivorship Guide for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant
Long-term Relationships with Caregivers
Just as the transplant changes us, it can also profoundly affect our caregivers in both negative and positive ways. The effects of the transplant can change not only how our caregivers relate to us, but can also change their perceptions of themselves and their life goals. Many caregivers find that their feelings towards life and death, their sense of security, and their priorities are changed. Here are a few comments from caregivers about their experience:
For some caregivers, the late effects of the transplant may include post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety, while for others the transplant experience can lead to a greater sense of self-worth, meaning, pride, and improved sense of competence. The changes that are introduced into the relationship as a result of the transplant can pose serious challenges to relationships between survivors and their caregivers. Over time, these feelings evolve and change, sometimes bringing people closer, introducing strains, or, in some cases, tearing relationships apart. Below are some observations from caregivers on how their relationships have been impacted by the transplant:
Dealing with the ripple effect of the transplant and its impact on our close relationships is complex, and requires good communication, compassion, and understanding. Recognizing that our caregivers have also been on their own cancer journey and have had to struggle in the process of supporting us can be useful. Like us, they too have suffered losses and made gains as a result of the transplant. And like us, when put to the test, they have struggled with their strengths and shortcomings, and have had to persevere to get to this point.
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