A cancer caregiver’s story of love, loss & hope

Jeviholi Swu
Jeviholi Swu

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | October 31

Behind every cancer patient are caregivers who play a critical role throughout the journey of cancer, making it more bearable with their love and kindness. While it is equally hard for the patient to learn about his/her diagnosis, caregivers often shoulder their responsibilities under sudden circumstances and without any preparation or guidance.

As a caregiver and daughter of a cancer patient, Jeviholi Swu says, “it’s hard like any other patient you take care of, but to be a caregiver for a cancer patient needs consistency, spontaneity, energy and so it also drains our energy as well as our thoughts and mentality.”

She resigned as a lecturer in a college in Tamil Nadu, to take care of her father who was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic colo-rectal cancer in the early part of 2016. Reminiscing about the three years ordeal along with her mother and siblings to restore her father’s health, she affirms that “one thing I love about being a caregiver for cancer patients, especially for my father is that it has been a rich experience that cannot be replaced.” “It’s difficult and challenging, but it is worth the challenge,” she expresses.

Stating that it meant so much to know that they were not alone during the journey, she went on to say that “one thing I have learned is that, in times of trouble, we always think that “we cannot visit the sick because we have nothing to give” or “we do not want to send our empty calls or texts” but believe me, true love and concern lie in these calls, texts, and letters and the so called empty visits and in the heartfelt prayers being said.”

“The patient and the care givers need these prayers, these so-called empty calls, empty visits, empty envelopes because these very things we call “empty” are actually filled with love that is priceless, filled and brimming over with constant love and concern which will be treasured for a lifetime”, she recounts.

Regrettably, her father passed away in 2018. However, she is passing on the lessons drawn and the experiences gained to another cancer caregiver in need of such insights. “The journey of cancer is hard, but the hardest part is when your loved ones just breathe their last and become motionless. But then the aftermath—to remember the journey and reminisce about all those experiences, it’s the richest thing!” Jeviholi Swu shares.

She strongly feels that the experience has enabled her to grow mentally, physically, emotionally, and also helped her become stronger.

Having been through the journey herself, she constantly hears from people and friends who are taking care of a cancer patient in the family. “The first thing they do is contact me and ask what would happen or something to do with their health condition. That, their cancer patients are facing such and such things, what should we do?” she relates.

“I don’t know if I am of help but I tell them what I know and have experienced”, she states while adding that “life is giving me an opportunity to learn and also impart that learning to others.” “We want everyone battling cancer and also the caregivers to be rooted in faith, to never give up because this is a rare opportunity life gives to teach us how to grow and live,” she also adds.