Vena Stewart-Semprie is a new author caring for her husband inflicted with multiple sclerosis for over 23 years. Her struggles and triumphs have inspired her to share her personal experience with the world so caregivers/carers will be better prepared to deal with challenging times.
Her recently published book Caregiver Triumphant - How to Overcome Stress and thrive in your role as a family caregiver is available on Amazon.
In addition she has a blog in support of caregivers to help them cope in caring for their loved ones http://caringforcaregiver.com
My inspiration to write this book is based on my own life experience and the many challenges navigating through a very difficult pathway. My desire to share the difficulties and rewards of care giving is to pay it forward so readers can think of the road ahead and be better prepared. Simply put, I struggled for many years because I did not know what to do.
I am not a nurse, psychologist, social worker, nor do I have a designation in health services. What I do have is a wealth of practical experiences and an abundance of healthy, support of stories from caregivers
in my support groups, comments on my website and caregivers whose experiences are shared. I read articles relating to care giving, books and research related topics for continuous learning.
My greatest challenge came in 1992 when care giving became my new reality. Prior to that I cared for our four children and longed for the day when I will escape care giving. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.
My husband, a detective with Toronto Police Service was diagnosed with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis in 1992. This diagnosis shattered him and devastatingly impacted our entire family. Four years after the diagnosis my husband retired from policing.
Not knowing how to deal with my new circumstances I got stronger every day navigating through whatever had to be done to keep our family going. My goal was to ensure that our children get a good education.
Thankfully, they all graduated from university and are now contributing members of society.
I became a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and joined a local chapter in my neighbourhood. I must learn all I can about multiple sclerosis to understand what we're dealing with. I started to attend meetings at the chapter and realized that everyone was in the same situation, carrying a tremendous stress load and had little to no communication at home about the elephant in the room. We were all very sad, emotionally drained and broken. I had to do something more for myself and for my support group.
I developed some personal friendships within the group and we spoke at length. The conversation always started off with frustration, stress, anxiety followed by tears. By the time the conversation was over there was relief, laughter and a better perspective. My friends often thanked me for listening and making them feel better
Moving forward, I decided to start a blog (http://caringforcaregiver.com) helping caregivers to navigate through their complex role. I trust that the information posted will impact caregivers and all readers in a positive way. Ultimately, I wish to make a difference in the lives of caregivers everywhere. We undertake a very important responsibility that is often undervalued and underappreciated.
Also, I remind caregivers that taking care of you should be your No.1 priority. To be better able to take care of your loved ones, you must first take care of you.
Disclaimer: Some of the views and opinions expressed in the Book Club are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of founder Elizabeth Bourgeret or her agency
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