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The Carrie Ann Inaba Interview (Page 3 of 3)

Hey, Carrie Ann!
An Interview with Carrie Ann Inaba

Gary Barg: What was your experience taking care of your dad?

Carrie Ann Inaba: About a year ago, my dad was diagnosed with base of tongue cancer—about the same time as Kirk Douglas and the same kind of cancer. It was a very, very difficult battle to go through. They say that this form of chemotherapy treatment and radiation is probably the most difficult of all cancer treatments. It was hard, I have to say. I was exhausted. My dad is a tough guy. He is very loving, but he is also tough and he is sort of set in his ways.

There was a lot of arguing that went on during this time. I thought I saw things that could help him and he was resisting a lot. That was at the beginning because this was a new situation. This was not my mom and I was trying to do it the same way I did it with her. I needed to change the way I was thinking about it. Once I realized that my dad was different from my mom, and that I needed to support him in a different way, things calmed down and he realized that he needed a little help. Sometimes people do not want the care that you are offering, and that can be really frustrating.

Gary Barg: I think that is a really good point; just because you cared for one loved one, you cannot go and use the same armor, ammunition, support, and method for the next loved one because that is a different person.

Carrie Ann Inaba: Yes. It is so individual. With my dad, we went through some hard times and it got very scary a few times. He made it through the treatment and was cancer free after all was said and done. He went back to Hawaii, but he still has a feeding tube. Actually, one reason why this was so different was that my dad was living here in Los Angeles through this treatment. He is not a Los Angeles person, he is not comfortable here, and he did not have any other support except me. When I was taking care of my mom, she had other family around her in New York. My dad left all of his friends behind in Hawaii to be up here, so it was only myself and my brother, who lives in Orange County. I felt more responsibility and I put more pressure on myself.

Once I relieved myself of feeling that, I realized that it was going to be a partnership between us and the doctors.  My fiancé and his daughter, who had none of our family history, were able to just be unconditionally supportive and not quite as involved.

Gary Barg: What would be that one most important piece of advice you would like to say to a family caregiver?

Carrie Ann Inaba: It would obviously be, make sure you take care of yourself. Immediately. Please take care of yourself and breathe. Remember to breathe, step outside, and take a moment for yourself. Take many moments for yourself throughout the day.

Gary Barg: That is where all caregiving starts, I think, is to be able to care for yourself so you are able to care for your loved ones.

Carrie Ann Inaba: Exactly. The way you care for your loved ones is the way you should also care for yourself. Make yourself the object of your own care.

 

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