Navigating Cancer Caregiving
- Robin Roberts, who previously battled breast cancer herself, is now supporting her partner, Amber Laign, as she takes on her own battle with the disease.
- But she’s still made time for herself at work and away from work. In a recent post on her and Laign’s dog’s Instagram account, we can see that Roberts is enjoying time in Key West – presumably with Laign as well.
- Pastor Tom Evans of the Brick Presbyterian Church says caregivers should “remember that you can’t care for someone else properly unless you’re strong. So don’t hesitate to find those times.”
Good Morning America star and breast cancer survivor Roberts, 61, has been with her partner Laign, 47, for nearly 17 years. And now that Laign is battling the same disease, she’s working hard to be there for her in any way she can.Read More
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“Nothing beats a Key West sunset,” the caption reads under a series of photos of the happy dog on the island. “Leaving this island tuckered out and so so happy! Will be sharing some of my favorite places this time around. Hope your week is off to a wonderful start.”
Roberts was tagged in the post but Laign waas not as she doesn’t have a personal Instagram accountm, though it was most likely a trip for the couple to take together.
In the past, Roberts has shared that Key West is a “happy place” for Amber and herself.
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“Just chillaxin’ with sweet Amber & @lil_man_lukas in our happy place…Key West,” she wrote back in 2019.
Robin Roberts and Amber Laign Battle Breast Cancer
Roberts and Laign have been together through many highs and lows over their nearly 17-year relationship – including each of their battles with breast cancer.
Roberts received her breast cancer diagnosis in 2007. Ironically, she was diagnosed after finding a lump in her breast during her preparation for a news segment on performing self-checks. Thankfully, she was cancer-free after surgery.
But in February, Roberts shared that Laign now has to face breast cancer as well. And in an interview from just the other day, she gave an important update regarding her partner’s cancer journey.
“She’s had some complications with the chemotherapy,” Roberts previously told Entertainment Tonight. “They’re working it out. We’re gonna figure it out. The prognosis is still very good.”
Complications with chemotherapy are not uncommon, but they can be scary. So, Roberts is doing everything in her power to support her loved one during this difficult setback.
“I didn’t realize how much I had blocked out during my journey, and it was because of sweet Amber—because she protected me and navigated for me,” Roberts said in a previous interview with Ellen Degeneres. “So, I’m doing the same thing for her.”
The Complexity of Caregiving
When you take on a caregiving role like Roberts, there’s a lot that can fall on your plate. It’s important to understand your loved one’s diagnosis and help them follow the instructions from the cancer-care team.
“I encourage caregivers to come in to visits with my patients, because in that way, the caregiver is also listening to the recommendations — what should be done in between these visits, any changes in treatment plans, any toxicities [side effects] that we need to look out for, changes in dietary habits, exercise, etc.,” Dr. Jayanthi Lea, a gynecologic oncologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
That being said, it’s natural that filling this role can bring up a whole host of emotions.
Tom Evans, a pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church located in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood of New York City, previously spoke with SurvivorNet about the complexity of caregiving.
“When you find yourself suddenly having to care for somebody, to be the primary lifeline for them, you very well could have mixed emotions,” he said. “Maybe it’s anger. Maybe this person never cared for you in the past, and now you have to do it for them. And maybe you’re gonna feel like you’re selfish when you need a break.”
But Evans wants caregivers to prioritize their own wellbeing too and remind people filling this role that noone can be a caregiver 24/7.
“It’ll break anybody,” Evans said. “Just remember that you can’t care for someone else properly unless you’re strong. So, don’t hesitate to find those times.”
He also added that caregivers need to find time away from caregiving and even find time for others to help them. They also should, in his opinion, make sure the emotions they feel throughout their caregiving journey are being heard.
“In those frustrations and that anger, take time to find someone to express that to,” he said. “Whether it’s a friend, whether it’s a pastor, whether it’s a neighbor, because as you work that out of your system, you’ll be better, able to be there for them.”