1. For whom have you been a caregiver and what has it meant to you?
I was a caregiver every day for 6 weeks to my wonderful mother, Nancy J. (Koenig) Buckman. She was diagnosed 4 yrs earlier with lung cancer but it was a small manageable spot in her lower left lung. She went through surgery to have that lower lobe removed, then only required 4 chemo treatments and she didn’t lose her hair (something was she was REALLY concerned about.) She was then was given all-clear reports for 3-4 yrs, but in July 2013, she began feeling badly, with rather normal symptoms of just being ill. However, by mid-August, she wasn’t getting well. Then, Labor Day night she was rushed to the hospital with what was first thought of as a stroke, only to find she had 11 spots on her brain. She then went right into radiation treatment but already was having problems with motor skills. She was never really able to walk again very well, and speaking quickly became a problem. She passed away about 6 weeks to the day on Oct 18, 2013. Being with my mom every day during her battle was heart-breaking yet, such precious moments of just slowing down life and being with the one you love. I have sweet memories of holding her hand every day, reading out of the bible to her, playing music, telling funny stories, watching old movies….
2. How did you or your loved one become connected with Hope Scarves?
It was meant to be that I learned about Hope Scarves. My mom hadn’t been diagnosed more than 3-4 days when I saw a spot on WAVE3 about the organization. I knew immediately I had to contact them because the radiation doc said this time she would lose her hair. My mom came from the generation that it was important you were “put together” and dignified in your grooming. Therefore, losing her hair made her feel very “naked.” I knew special scarves and hats could ease things… Hope Scarves responded immediately with the most beautiful scarf, packaged beautifully like it was Christmas for my mom!
3. What are ways you provide(d) hope and strength to your loved one throughout her battle?
Just by being there every day and talking about “Hope” because she knew there were “small victories” that could be accomplished along the way and in the last week when she knew she was dying, we talked about how beautiful Heaven would be and how she would be with her mom and dad.
4. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend or loved one battling cancer?
It is a beautiful, MEANINGFUL gesture, it carries such depth to the experience, rather than it just being a piece of material to be put on one’s head. It truly provides sunshine and hope when using it because it is also accompanied by a letter from a cancer survivor. My mom’s survivor was a 74 yr old lady named Nancy… I know hand-picked since it was my mom’s name… VERY special to us as her family.
5. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?
Now faith is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1.
6. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer with your loved one?
That you are stronger that what you think you are and that your loved one is stronger than you might have ever thought that person could be! For me, I have to put my trust in God and it did, to get me through… I relied on the fact that His mercies were new every morning.