FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN
/In Their Shoes
I am looking forward to seeing my friend Deborah
Delaney on May 20th. She is the Executive Director
of SarahCare Adult Day Care in Savage, Minnesota,
and our partner in our first Minnesota area Fearless
Caregiver Conference. The event will be held in
Shakopee, which is right down the street from
Savage. (Too bad; I wanted to say that I was hosting
a Savage event.) I received a call from Deb
after not having been in touch for a while to hear
the shocking announcement that she had been
diagnosed with breast cancer. She stopped me
as I was attempting to console her and said that she
was doing well. In fact, something extraordinary
came out of her experience.
In Debís own words:
It was one of the most devastating experiences in my
life to hear I had cancer and that I had to go
through both chemotherapy and radiation.
I kept saying to myself that there has to be a
message in this experience. During chemotherapy, I
started to get what is known as Chemo Brain, which
includes losing your short-term memory. Never in my
world have I experienced short-term memory before.
Mind you, I have great recall and a strong memory
and kept working through this entire process.
I noticed a significant change in my memory when I
started to make business calls and then, when the
person would call back, I had no idea who they were
or why I placed the call.
In addition, I was misfiling documentation, losing
my keys, and would get so frustrated that I would
start to cry.
Then it dawned on me; the message that I was to take
from this experience is that I get to live through
what my loved ones (clients) feel at my adult day
center. I began to experience their frustrations in
loss of memory. I felt their pain. I felt the loss
of dignity when I looked and acted confused in front
of people while trying to look like I had it
together. I couldnít recall current events, but I
could remember things from the past.
I knew my memory would return in three months or so,
but my loved ones at the center would never regain
For Deb, the spiritual side of this recognition had
such an impact that it renewed her already intense
commitment to the loved ones for whom her center
cares on a daily basis. She said that her experience
also recommitted her to consistently validate how
they are feeling for the remaining years of their
Talk about a silver lining.
Please join us in Minnesota and at our other