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Tambre Leighn: What I REALLY Mean Is…

Editor’s Note:  On June 29th, 2015, Tambre Leighn will join the #BCSM Chat. Our topic will be caregivers.  We are honored to share Tambre’s work with the #BCSM Community.

What I REALLY Mean Is…
Yes, the walls of the renovated guest bathroom had just been freshly painted. But, I didn’t mean to snap. Especially, not over a damp towel. Yet, it was too late. I’d already taken Gary to task for it.

He called me to the kitchen and as I stepped up to him, he wrapped my hands in his.

“Babe, what’s going on,” he asked. “Because, clearly, it’s not about the towels.”

For more than two years, I’d put on the face of the confident caregiver, always looking for the positive even in the scariest times during Gary’s cancer treatments. In that moment, the softness in his voice and concern on his face shattered my mask.

“I’m afraid you’re going to die and leave me alone.” The words tumbled from my mouth before I could stop them. It was the first, and only time I ever voiced my biggest fear.

I still wonder how he managed, with everything my amazing, late husband was going through, to have the presence of mind to know it wasn’t about him. Instead, he stopped and listened to me – REALLY listened. He asked questions to understand what was going on and he made me feel safe enough to be completely honest with him…and with myself. His arms enveloped me and he let me cry as he held me close. That was the beauty of our partnership – when one of us was struggling, the other would be our strength.

Survivor and caregiver – these are roles neither Gary nor myself ever imagined were awaiting us less than four years after our fairytale wedding. We didn’t always navigate tough times gracefully. We weren’t always able to say what was really going on in the darkest moments. But when you’re a team if one of you can hear the fear or upset or worry and connect and hold on to the other in that moment, you can get to the core of the suffering. You can provide a safe space and you can comfort them so they can find their way back to their heart.

***

Our experience with Gary’s cancer inspired me to want to make a difference for others going through it. Eventually I crawled from the depths of my grief and channeled my energy into become a certified professional coach. Each role, survivor and caregiver, has its challenges as does being an oncology healthcare professional.

Coaching Tips for Survivors
1. It’s usually not about you. In life, we often take things personally, especially when we are overwhelmed. Remembering that when others are struggling, they can unintentionally lash out because of the circumstances.
2. Stop and listen. When someone we love is hurting, we can tend to want to try to find a solution. Often, what they need most is just to be heard.
3. Ask questions. Instead of telling them they should or shouldn’t feel a certain way, be curious about what they are going through.
4. Create a safety net. Gary’s demeanor, his actions, and the comfort of his hug made me feel safe and loved.

Coaching Tips for Caregivers
1. Sometimes it needs to be all about you. Most caregivers tend to put their loved one first most of the time. But sometimes, you need to practice self-care so that you have longevity and patience to continue to provide caregiving.
2. Ask for help. Often as caregivers, we try to do it all on our own. Caregiving becomes a big part of our identity and gives us a false sense of control. Sometimes others have to wrestle that control from us instead of us allowing them to contribute so we can rest and reenergize.
3. Create a safety net. Talk to your loved one and agree on some communication guidelines. Make an agreement that if you find yourself overwhelmed and you need some time to reflect before talking it through, you can take a time out without them taking it personally.

Coaching Tips for Healthcare Professionals
1. It’s usually not about you. Just as with survivors and caregivers, when patients or their family members – or even your coworkers – are stressed and upset, stay grounded and don’t take it personally.
2. Sometimes it needs to be all about you. Professional caregiving carries with it many of the same challenges as caring for a loved one and can be just as draining if you don’t practice self-care. Be sure to find time for you.
3. Have a cool down strategy. For those moments when you become the one who is overwhelmed, have some quick steps you can take to refocus. It may be counting to ten. It could be taking a short walk outside or, perhaps, using a deep breathing technique.

No matter what path you are walking – as a survivor, caregiver, or healthcare professional – remember you are truly amazing.

6/29/15 TweetChat Transcript

Tambre Leighn, MA, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP, is a certified professional coach and founder of WellBeyondOrdinary.com. She is a well-known health advocate, avid blogger, and speaker appearing on numerous radio shows and panels including StupidCancer, Go Forth & Thrive Telesummit, Health Bloggers Summit, Oregon Women’s Conference, Young Survival Coalition, and most recently at Stupid Cancer’s OMG Summit - the largest young adult cancer survivor conference worldwide.   As an author, Tambre’s articles on coaching for cancer survivors and caregivers have appeared in leading cancer magazines and she blogs regularly for iPEC and theONC, a gated community for oncology healthcare professionals.

Tambre Leighn

Tambre Leighn, MA, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP, is a certified professional coach and founder of WellBeyondOrdinary.com. She is a well-known health advocate, avid blogger, and speaker appearing on numerous radio shows and panels including StupidCancer, Go Forth & Thrive Telesummit, Health Bloggers Summit, Oregon Women’s Conference, Young Survival Coalition, and most recently at Stupid Cancer’s OMG Summit – the largest young adult cancer survivor conference worldwide.

As an author, Tambre’s articles on coaching for cancer survivors and caregivers have appeared in leading cancer magazines and she blogs regularly for iPEC and theONC, a gated community for oncology healthcare professionals. Follow her on Twitter: @tambreleighn.

Comments

stales

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

#BCSM What I REALLY Mean Is…by @TambreLeighn http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

stales

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

uvmer

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET http://t.co/ojU3KkEcX3 …

DrAttai

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

BCSMChat

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: #BCSM What I REALLY Mean Is…by @TambreLeighn http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

FollowHeidi

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Caregivers! Unsung heroes among us... http://t.co/CWYdEEH737

caregiving

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

it4caregivers

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

tambreleighn

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Monday 6/29 I'll be joining #BCSM to talk about survivorship and caregivers at 9 pm ET #mycancer http://t.co/jt8Sen6gas

NancysPoint

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

tambreleighn

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

tambreleighn

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: #BCSM What I REALLY Mean Is…by @TambreLeighn http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

bjork5

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

ABHuret

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

chigrl13

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

JeamesSailor

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

NickiDurlester

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

BartAndrews

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

BRCAinfo

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @tambreleighn: Monday 6/29 I'll be joining #BCSM to talk about survivorship and caregivers at 9 pm ET #mycancer http://t.co/jt8Sen6gas

uvmer

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET http://t.co/ojU3KkEcX3 … …

tambreleighn

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @uvmer: RT @stales Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET http://t.co/ojU3KkEcX3…

dianeradfordmd

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

doctorkarpoff

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @stales: Next Monday on #BCSM @TambreLeighn will join us to talk about survivorship and caregivers 9 pm ET Monday http://t.co/1S2yjSIzlF

tambreleighn

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

In just 30 Minutes – I'll be joining #BCSM to talk about survivorship and caregivers at 9 pm ET #mycancer http://t.co/jt8Sen6gas

BCSMChat

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @harriseve: MT @BCSMChat: Caregiving is topic 4tonight's #BCSM chat, w/ guest @tambreleighn http://t.co/T8i9Roj1hY 6pm PT - all are welc…

MHBTmovie

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Caregiving is the topic for tonight's #BCSM chat, with guest @tambreleighn http://t.co/eUwtespB9j 9pm ET - all are welcome!

MyelomaTeacher

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Caregiving is the topic for tonight's #BCSM chat, with guest @tambreleighn http://t.co/eUwtespB9j 9pm ET - all are welcome!

ABHuret

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @tambreleighn: Starting in 1 Hour – I'll be joining #BCSM to talk about survivorship and caregivers at 9 pm ET #mycancer http://t.co/jt8…

tambreleighn

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Starting NOW! - I'm joining #BCSM to talk about survivorship and caregivers at 9 pm ET #mycancer http://t.co/jt8Sen6gas

DrAttai

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Welcome to tonight's tweetchat - we'll be discussing caregiving and more with @tambreleighn http://t.co/L8P8i0Q5Af #bcsm

MHBTmovie

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @tambreleighn: Starting NOW! - I'm joining #BCSM to talk about survivorship and caregivers at 9 pm ET #mycancer http://t.co/jt8Sen6gas

DrAttai

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

@tambreleighn wrote a great post with pointers for survivors, caregivers, and even health professionals http://t.co/L8P8i0Q5Af #bcsm

susanwoolner

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @tambreleighn: Starting NOW! - I'm joining #BCSM to talk about survivorship and caregivers at 9 pm ET #mycancer http://t.co/jt8Sen6gas

a4breastcancer

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Great! RT@DrAttai: @tambreleighn post with pointers for survivors, caregivers, and even health professionals http://t.co/apbsrjwt7b #bcsm

DrAttai

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

T1 here is some of @tambreleighn story http://t.co/L8P8i0Q5Af #bcsm

DrAttai

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Updated @tambreleighn Caregiver Post with #BCSM tweetchat transcript: http://t.co/L8P8i0Q5Af

BCSMChat

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Updated @tambreleighn Caregiver Post with #BCSM tweetchat transcript: http://t.co/eUwtesHcxT

YourMindCanHeal

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Top story: Tambre Leighn: What I REALLY Mean Is... http://t.co/8vDTc32XBM, see more http://t.co/vXnuH4zY0L

knotellin

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Updated @tambreleighn Caregiver Post with #BCSM tweetchat transcript: http://t.co/eUwtesHcxT

BRCAresponder

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @DrAttai: Updated @tambreleighn Caregiver Post with #BCSM tweetchat transcript: http://t.co/L8P8i0Q5Af

BRCAresponder

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Updated @tambreleighn Caregiver Post with #BCSM tweetchat transcript: http://t.co/eUwtesHcxT

Hc_chat

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Updated @tambreleighn Caregiver Post with #BCSM tweetchat transcript: http://t.co/eUwtesHcxT

Hc_chat

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @DrAttai: Updated @tambreleighn Caregiver Post with #BCSM tweetchat transcript: http://t.co/L8P8i0Q5Af

BCSMChat

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/eUwtespB9j

DrAttai

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/L8P8i17GrN

chigrl13

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @DrAttai: Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/L8P8i17GrN

chigrl13

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/eUwtespB9j

teaminspire

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/eUwtespB9j

karenBRCAMTL

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @DrAttai: Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/L8P8i17GrN

BRCAresponder

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @DrAttai: Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/L8P8i17GrN

pinkandbluedoc

Date: 26 Jun, 2015

RT @DrAttai: Updated #BCSM Caregiving Blog Post by @tambreleighn w/ 6/29 chat transcript http://t.co/L8P8i17GrN

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