I've always considered myself to be a very patient person. Over my many years of being in the working world, I've often been complimented by other staff members that I am a very good teacher because I as so patient. I love to share the knowledge that I have with others. 

But when it comes to Mr. B getting better, I find that my patience is lacking. I want him to hurry up and get better. I want the doctor to try other drugs. Why is it taking so long? Why are we not seeing any positive results from his treatments? And then I remember. This is not in our hands. We have no control over how or when Mr. B will get better. And so we wait. We wait for the day when Mr. B will turn the corner and be on the road to recovery. We place our hope in our God and remember that He alone will guide us and give us patience.

About 4 years ago, my daughter gave me a hummingbird feeder. I had often talked about how I wanted to put a feeder outside in the hopes that some hummingbirds would start visiting it. Then we moved to a condo on the second floor and I thought I had to give up my dream of seeing my own hummingbirds. After all, hummingbirds don't fly to second floor balconies, do they? My friend in Vancouver told me to go ahead and hang the feeder. She lives on the eight floor of an apartment building and she gets lots of hummingbirds! Ok, she had me convinced so last summer I hung out my feeder and even purchased a second one. But I discovered at the bird store that you need to have the feeders out as early as possible because if you miss their migration north, then they will find another location. So I did see the odd hummingbird but nothing very regular. I was so disappointed.

But this summer, I had my feeders out by mid May. It took a few weeks, but then I saw my first bird. I was so excited! Now to try and get a picture! I sat for hours on my balcony, waiting for one of them to come to the feeder. And EVERY single time I lifted my camera to take a picture, they were gone like a bullet. So I tried taking a picture from inside. That didn't work very well either. Next I tried using a tripod for my camera and I sort of sat behind it with my finger ready on the shutter release button. I did get some pictures. Here is one of the better pictures.
But I still wasn't satisfied. What was missing? Then I realized what it was. I think the thing I like the most about hummingbirds is watching their movement. They are so amazing to watch! They zip back and forth so quickly that you would miss them if you blinked! So I got smart and took a video instead. I hope you enjoy it. :-)
This is the second video that I took. The hummingbird wouldn't come to feed while I was outside so I set the camera on a tripod and started the video while I went inside. It came almost right away when I left but kept a close eye on the camera. LOL
7/28/2012 03:24:49 am

hi... I'll enjoy watching your hummingbirds.. I guess my feeder isn't exciting enough... I don't mine have returned. maybe next year.blessings

7/28/2012 03:26:04 am

sorry, i didn't proofread...it should say, I don't think mine have returned..maybe I need to sit outside more ...

7/29/2012 01:55:21 pm

Marge, you would be surprised how long you have to sit still before you will see one. Plus they are very picky about how fresh the food is so I change mine every second day in the hot weather. It's a lot of work, but the rewards are worth it. :-)

7/28/2012 03:29:13 pm

dear shelley,

what i hear in your "voice" is familiar to me as a cg to my husband, diagnosed october of 2009. thrust into a world of uncertainty with MM is such a jolt. we get clobbered with so much at once and know that our lives will never be the same. there is such a longing for some semblence of normalcy, for some definitive sign that things will get better, will be easier, and that the treatment will be successful. being a cg is lonely; maybe for the 1st time, we truly cannot put ourselves in our partner's shoes and truly know what it is llike to have cancer. and as they struggle through treatment and depend upon us in ways we were never prepared for, they also cannot really fathom our new role as a caregiver - the overwhelming fatigue, the loss of the comfort derived from everyday routines, and how it feels to have lost the familiar partership of enjoying life together. do not fault yourself for a lack of patience; you are doing the best you can and you are not alone. sometimes just getting through a day without collapsing in a heap is a huge victory! keep reaching out for support, make it a priority to have some time for yourself in a place where you can refresh and renew mind, body, and soul - a good book, a soak in the tub, a special treat, a time when you allow yourself to banish all the flotsom and jetsom of worry, fear, and all the "what ifs". you deserve it, and over time you will find your way to live in the present as fully as possible. i love that you shared your hummingbird quest and photo/video; it shows how patient you really are, and also how receptive you are to being comforted and to feel joy with the great gifts of nature. being able to feel appreciation and happiness even in the face of going through great challenges and struggles is a wonderful gift, and it will help you each time you indulge in it. and know that what you write about in your blog, so well and so honestly will resonate with so many other cgs who also feel the same self-doubts, longings, and lonliness. i will keep you and mr. b close to my heart and hope that soon things will be better. please know - you are not alone.

warm hugs,

karen sutherland

7/29/2012 02:07:00 pm

Karen, only people like you can really understand what I'm going through. I've always considered myself to be a very caring, empathetic person but until this horrible cancer happened to us, I had no idea what caregivers for a critically ill patient go through.

Every little thing that you did as a couple before has been changed. Even something simple like going grocery shopping or going for hair cuts has stopped. My husband is just too sick to go anywhere except for blood tests, treatments and doctor appointments. I listen to other people I know talk about going on vacation or going to a concert or visiting friends or family and I'm so sad that we are not able to do that. And it's not me that I'm mostly sad for, but for my husband. I just want him to feel well enough to enjoy the simple things in life.

And you are right, as caregivers we now have to help our husbands do some things that we never imagined we would have to do for them. Or at least not for many, many years. I was helping Mr. B with his shower the other night and he had been feeling very nauseated all day. As he was undressing he just started to sob and sob. He said, "I want a new life". My heart broke in a million pieces because I knew for the first time in my life that I could not fix the problem. I'm a positive person. In my eyes, there is always a solution to a problem and I will find that solution no matter how long it takes me. But this problem I can't fix.

Karen, I value your comments. Thank you so much for sharing them with me because they are not just helping me, I'm sure there are others that are reading my blog that need some encouragement too.

Hugs to you too. :-)

7/30/2012 04:14:01 pm

oh, shelley, i am so glad that you found my comments helpful. we are nearly 3 years into hug's MM, and i have floundered and often been in despair, too, about things i just couldn't fix. i was a hospice nurse for nearly 30 yrs., and when hugh got sick (his femur snapped in half as he was putting something into our car), i had to leave my job. believe me when i tell you that all my nursing experience often didn't amount to as much as one might think. but i was so lucky to find a blog written by lori puente, "riding the wave multiple myeloma blog". lori is a cg for her husband dave, is an incredible writer, and has been sharing their story for nearly 4 years, in great detail, about so many issues that cgs and patients alike experience. if you go to her site and look in the right hand column, you'll find a list of subjects that might interest you. lori's blog was literally a life-line for me, and since i do not have my own blog, is quite generous, even encourages others to share their stories in the comment section, often creating a great forum that readers and other bloggers contribute to. also, last december, i was diagnosed with ST IV metasatic breast cancer, then 6 days later with insulin dependent diabetes. i mention this only to reaffirm that none of us knows where life may take us, and it was a tremendous help for me during the first 2 harrowing years of hugh's illness to take on skills to help me cope as a cg - most of which i learned from reading lori's and dave's story. these coping mechanisms have been passed on to our 2 young adult children, and now to hugh, as we share both patient and cg roles. i wish i could have started my own blog when i was diagnosed, but was too overwhelmed by the sheer number of hours and days and months of keeping up with both hugh's and my own treatment. you can imagine how grateful i am that though i never thought in a milliion years we would BOTH have cancer at the same time, i feel so blessed to be able to fall back on ways to cope that after lots of practice we had firmly established in our lives. we are still learning - it's truly a work in progress and we do still flounder and struggle many times. but it was so worth all the effort and so worth reading blogs like your's and lori's to keep us focused on what's most important in life - family, dear friends, enjoying and appreciating all of life's marvelous gifts, a finer honed sense of compassion for others, and love that extends and grows and fills our hearts fuller that we ever thought possible. keep writing in your beautiful way; even though i am only a "professional commentor", i and so many others appreciate your thoughts, feelings, experiences, and all the ups and downs you have written about while travelling with mr. b on this road through myelomaville. warms hugs and thanks, karen sutherland

7/31/2012 02:52:13 pm

Wow, Karen! I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for you to also have cancer! How are you doing? Have you also been through chemo treatments? Who looked after you during all of this? I've often wondered what I would do if I became sick right now. I've had some health issues that required a biopsy of my uterus which thankfully came back negative. But the next step is to go for a D&C but I'm finding it hard to take the time right now to get it done. Every time I plan something like that, Mr. B has a medical crisis and I need to cancel it. And I keep thinking that since the biopsy was negative, then maybe it's just a hormone problem that will sort itself out. Or I could just be playing the ostrich role and hiding my head in the sand. :-(

I've been to Lori's blog many times. Reading it gave me the courage to try my hand at blogging. She was very helpful and encouraging when I started setting it up. She's a wonderful lady. :-)

I think I might even have the ability to set up a forum on this website. I'm not sure if it would be something people would use though.

Donna Sutherland
8/1/2012 06:41:49 am

Shelley & Karen,

Wow, you are both so inspirational to me. Strong women who are facing life's challenges head on and teaching others through your heartfelt words and actions. Thank you for sharing. Your openness helps me to heal a bit more from the loss of my dad a short time ago for whom I was a care giver. I never thought in a million years that I would be expected to care for my father as if he were an infant, but I was called upon to do it, and truly, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to do what I could for him. After accepting the role, I surrendered to it and began looking at him as the man he had become instead of who he was...what was. And I learned there was much purpose in the situation that helped me to be more patient, more compassionate, and to feel much for empathy toward others, and that what does not kill one, does make one spiritually stronger. Blessing to you both. --Donna

8/1/2012 10:55:34 am


The one thing I've learned through all of this is how very important it is to have a loved one be the caregiver. I've watched other people at Cancer Care that have a Homecare aid with them. And you can see that they are just doing a job. They don't care if the person has a preference for how something is done. I've seen aides that are so consumed with their own cell phones that they are barely paying any attention to the patient.

I've often said that I don't know how a patient goes through this journey alone if they don't have a caregiver that can also be their advocate.

What happened to the days when children looked after their parents as they aged? Now they just want to stuff them away in an old folk's home and forget about them. It breaks my heart to see that.

You are a very special lady to have cared for your dad like that. Plus you have taught your children what love is all about. They won't soon forget a lesson like that. :-)

Donna Sutherland
8/3/2012 12:27:34 am


Thank you! I think you are pretty special too. I agree with your comments about those who have no one to walk with them. I saw that same thing in the personal care home - people who just wanted someone to acknowledge their existence. A smile, a touch of the hand, or small conversation and their faces lite up. It's a cold and lonely place without an advocate and someone to care. The path of a caregiver is a rough path to walk with not only pebbles on the beach, but often boulders with sharp edges that cut us deeply. We must all care for each other. --Donna

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