Did you know that one in five referrals to Headway Essex are from carers? When somebody in the family acquires a brain injury (ABI) it often falls on a family member to become a carer. It can happen without warning and sometimes, can be a life changing, lifelong role.
We are showing support and solidarity for carers and everyone whose life has been affected by ABI on Sunday 19th June. We are walking together, so anyone adjusting to life with an ABI can access the support they need and carers are supported in their caring roles.
Pat has been a carer for her son for the last 43 years. Her son was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour when he was two years old. He had an operation to remove the tumour, followed by radiation to the brain and spine. We are revisiting Pat’s story told in her own words to remind everyone of the challenges and fears a carer lives with on a daily basis.
Unseen Daily Challenges of a Carer
“There are so many challenges to being a carer, some that are seen but mostly unseen. There is so much stress caring for a loved one, seeing them struggle on a daily basis, the treatments and medication and the worry for the future.”
A Lifelong Caring Role
“My caring role began when my son was two years old. Yes, I know that caring for children is a hard job, but imagine caring for a child who cannot walk, does not speak, even though he was perfectly capable of both before his brain tumour.
I did not know at the time whether he would walk or talk again and the possibility of learning difficulties, because of the injury to the brain, was hard to come to terms with. This was even more challenging as I had a five-month baby to look after as well.”
Facing New Challenges as a Carer
“The challenges now are different. My son has deteriorated health-wise over the last two years requiring constant help. I sometimes have the feeling of living my son’s life and not my own. I have to fit everything I need to do around hospital appointments, blood tests, eye tests, GP appointments. In total my son is under five different consultants. The disturbed sleep having to get up 4-5 times a night to see to him. The fact that my age and own health issues are now a problem.
When my son is at the Headway Centre, in Colchester, I get some respite from my caring role. It has been a joy to see my son cope so well with all his problems. He doesn’t complain just gets on with life but the pain I feel for him is constant and makes me sad.”
Support from Other Carers
“It has been positive for me to attend the Carers groups. I would recommend this to anyone just beginning their journey of living with someone who now has a brain injury. It is so good to meet with people that really understand the problems and frustrations. We all have a different story but have the understanding. Together, we can laugh and cry about our lives. We are not judged or given unwanted advice.
To sum up, Headway is a brilliant Day Centre in Colchester and carers are supported too. My son is happy there and I know he is well cared for, but above all understood.”
Join Headway Essex on the ‘Longest Day’ Fun Walk
If you are inspired by Pat’s story, will you walk together with us on Sunday 19th June, for our inaugural Longest Day Walk? You will be joining people across Essex walking in solidarity for anyone coping with an ABI and their carers.
We walk together, so anyone adjusting to life with an ABI can access the support they need and carers are supported in their caring role.
For more information and to sign-up visit our Longest Day Walk Page.