Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!
- It is a season that is always on the go.
- Homeschooling advice- be willing to let others help and let them be as independent as possible.
- What can be automated in your life?
- Faith has always been apart of life.
- Bosede experienced healing before so standing on it in her caregiving was natural.
- Autopilot doesn’t allow us to take care of ourselves.
- Pace yourself in caregiving.
- Learn to draw boundaries. You can still honor and respect your parents and have boundaries that allow you to call for a timeout.
- It is most critical to find peace and then joy will come.
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
Welcome. I’m so excited to have you today.
Bosede Santos: Thank you for having me Rayna, I’m glad to be here.
Rayna Neises: I would like to start with having you share a little bit about your caregiving experience and I know that kind of came on suddenly for you. So tell us a little bit about that.
Bosede Santos: Well, my mom, in 2009 was, diagnosed with cancer, but, you know, when it happened, she just, took ill and we really didn’t know exactly what was going on. She took tests eventually she was diagnosed well, then this was in Nigeria, and my family and I at that time were living in Aberdeen in Scotland.
So, I just asked my other two siblings who lived in Nigeria at that time. My younger brother and I lived in Aberdeen then. So we asked, or the two sisters back in Nigeria to just send them over and they came and, God being a gracious God, the kind of tumor that she had, which is called, gastrointestinal something, something tumor.
The hospital in Aberdeen back, where she got her care, the most influential, oncologists, like the head expert oncologist for that kind of tumor was in that hospital. And he was her consultant. So, to us was like, wow, God, you are all over this and you’re in control. Initially, when she came to Scotland, they really didn’t know exactly what it was. So they just did a barrage of tests. Eventually, they found out was this GEEZ so that a fellow or was invited to be a consultant. By that time, they had just started using a certain type of, drug for it. It wasn’t the type of tumor that, you know, chemotherapy, worked with radiation. Didn’t work with it. Surgery didn’t work with it. And unfortunately, by the time it’s discovered it’s at its advanced stage. And so it had already metastasized. And so there I was my brother and his wife, they were working, I was home homeschooling my kids, my husband was working. So I sort of became the primary caregiver for her. And that will, that meant shuttling between home and hospital, every day. that went on for six months initially. along that journey, the doctor called us to a special room where, they tell you it’s time now to go say your goodbyes because that’s it, tomorrow she’ll be gone and I’m going, no, nobody makes that sentence on that. Another human being, you can’t make that sentence, you know. She’s not ready to go. So, he looked at me funny, like, excuse me, you know what, some of that, but anyway, long story short, we told him she’s not ready to leave. So, we prayed, and God honored our prayers. And the following day she turned, she just turned around. She started responding to treatment. And she just started coming, getting better. The tumor started shrinking, nothing had happened up until that time. And the tumor just started to shrink. And this was a tumor they told us would, you know if it shrunk maybe just a few millimeters, but it shrunk considerably it shrunk, maybe to about 10% of what it was when she got there. And, so this gentleman was like, Oh, I my goodness, I’ve never seen anything like this before. So she eventually was discharged and she came home. And then that was exactly when the caregiving started so had to, manage ha manage my dad because my dad was here as well, manage my dad, manage my kids.
I was homeschooling my brothers two daughters as well, with my own two sons, so I had to manage all of that and it was just go, go, go, go, go. I learned to give a blood thinner injection, every other day dress, how warm bathe her. It was just, some autopilots, you know, you didn’t stop. I didn’t stop to think about, self-care. Like most people would. I just went on like that for six months when she now went back to Nigeria. And I think about three months afterward, she came back again because they had to have constant consultations. We have checkoffs because they had to keep on observing the tumor to be sure that, it kept down. So that’s it in a nutshell, it’s just go, go, go, go, go. And, you know, but, when I say that, I regretted the way that I cared for her. I don’t think so because we’re naturally raised to care for family and you just dig your heels in and get on with it, you know? So yeah.
Rayna Neises: So managing all of those hats, that’s one of the toughest things as a caregiver, as, as you said, you just are on the go all the time. And most caregivers don’t think about taking care of themselves because there is so much to do, but were there things that really came in handy and managing homeschooling and taking care of your mom?
Bosede Santos: Yeah. I think for homeschooling, It’s such a beautiful thing that at that time, the curriculum that we were on, it wasn’t the type that I had to teach my children, I wasn’t, so hands-on that way. all I needed to do was, supervise them, just ensure that the goals that they set for themselves, that they met it. So it was kind of, self-learning curriculum that we were on. So when I wasn’t available, like in the mornings, I would have to run my dad to the hospital, so he could be with my mom and then maybe at noon, go back to bring him home. And then go back later in the evening with everybody, with all the kids and my, my brother and, my brother and his wife will meet us there.
My husband after work would meet us there, so that was our routine every day. And so my sons understood that as well. my oldest son now became the facilitator for the younger ones, so he just made sure that while I had to be away, everybody’s did what they needed to do. So that was the beauty of, being able to manage that because I didn’t really have to be there to like teach hands-on all the time.
Rayna Neises: I think that’s a key for our listeners to think about is how can we automate or make things run that are able to run without us, because there are so many things that do require our attention that when we can find the things that someone else can handle, letting it go and asking for help and letting someone else do it is oftentimes harder to do than you think.
So it’s nice that your older son could handle it, that the curriculum was already one that allowed that to happen and you weren’t having to make a big change in the middle of things either. So sometimes we have to make a change in order to get the support that we need, but it was nice that yours was kind of already in place. So that routine was able to continue.
Obviously, faith is a big part of your life. Share with us a little bit about how faith played in your caring for your mom?
Bosede Santos: Before we experienced, you know, this with my mom. Personally, I had also experienced, seasons of breakthrough through prayer and miraculous healing through prayers, you know? And so for me it was, I didn’t see that God couldn’t heal my mom. I didn’t see that, you know, I couldn’t pray and I, I would pray and God wouldn’t answer. I didn’t see all of that. So I just. You know, went into it with faith that this is what the word of God has said. And I believe that I hold onto that. It doesn’t matter what my eyes are seeing right now. The word of God is my final authority.
And so I stood on that because when I had my second son, I had a situation where the prognosis was that I would never walk. I was paralyzed waist down, but. You know, six months after I walked. So it was the word of God, that’s that brought that to me or those other situations had been through it.
And it was the word of God that saw us through. So for me, it wasn’t even a, it was a no brainer that, you know, God was going to answer us and my mom herself, she had a word from God that God promised. That I will heal your wounds and I will deliver you. So we all stood on that word and as she was speaking it over herself, as she could, we spoke it over her as well.
And 24/7, there were faith scriptures played in her room between, scriptures and worship, we kept faith going on in her room and whenever anyone came and they were discouraging her or well, this or well that we would go no, this is what we believe. That is where we want to have our focus. We understand, where you are coming from, but please understand as well where we are coming from. And please honor that. And, just believe with us, if you can. And if you can’t just let us be. And God, fateful God in spite of the fact that she was given this sentence of, not many years, she still lived five years after then. Unfortunately, we think it came back with a vengeance and she gave him my, she was tired. She really didn’t want to fight it anymore. And so, she passed, it’s going to be five years this year since she passed. And, it’s just that legacy of it doesn’t matter how long God will answer. And for us death, isn’t like we lost, we didn’t lose it because the Bible says death. Where is your sting? So that, to us, it’s like, yeah, that’s where she’s getting her complete and total healing, in the presence of God. That’s it for us as we there’s no, there’s really no, God, no contest about what we believe, that God answers prayers.
Rayna Neises: Yeah, I love that you were able to, share not only the healing that happened in the moment, but that later it was not His plan to heal her, but rather to heal her in heaven and restore her whole body and actually give us a new body. One of the difficult things as I was caring for my dad for this period of years, I knew that I wanted to offer everything I could to help him be as healthy and as happy as long as possible.
We knew that we had a terminal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but that didn’t mean it needed to happen tomorrow. As you said, fighting for and having the faith of the best quality and of all the things that, that, we were able to give him, it was all part of what happens, but then there was a time in which we knew, Oh, that it was it was time. We were reaching the end and it was time to let go and let him pass on to the other life. I think that’s a hard thing to do when you’re caring for a loved one. we don’t want to let them go from here. But there is a celebration in knowing where they’re going and that we will see them again. So that’s a blessing.
Bosede Santos: Indeed. Indeed. Indeed.
Rayna Neises: So what hard lessons, would you say that you’ve learned in caring for your mom?
Bosede Santos: I think the hard lesson would be, like I said before we, as careers, we just go into autopilot and we don’t tend to stop and take care of ourselves because after she left, she was completely discharged and she didn’t need to keep coming back for checkups. I completely broke down in that, you know, I had this incessant headache. I couldn’t, understand what it was. So I went to see my GP. That’s my family doctor, who, you know, after tests, discovered that my blood pressure was through the roof. And that was why I was having those headaches. And so I had to completely be off my feet, for a few weeks. So for me, that was a wake-up, call that, when you get into that kind of a situation, you need to pace yourself. You know, don’t just go full blast, in, in, in seconds, you know, and don’t just go full blast, but take the time to, drawback, and look after your own self. So that was, that was kind of hard. Also, the fact that I think because we are groomed, in Nigeria, we are groomed to be like family, you do anything for family, you know?
And so to draw boundaries was difficult. there were things that I couldn’t afford emotionally what I still gave, but one thing that I was, but I’m quite thankful for was I still have the community in spite of that. So there were times that I could just go, I’m done, especially when I became a, my emotions began to free, I could just. So I need to watch to my younger brother about, look, you need to go and take care of your mom. I really don’t want to get cross with her or whatever, or my husband, you need some, you know, just watch that. I really don’t want to step into whatever she’s doing right now. We’re not raised, especially because their parents, they are older.
We’re not raised to, be able to call timeouts, you know, whenever whatever they were getting into was getting too much. So those were the kind of hard lessons that I learned that there is a way to actually respectfully call timeout, which I, now am learning with my dad, even though, you know, we’re caring for, for him as a distance, he’s still back in Nigeria, but, it’s just those things that I just needed to understand that there is a place to actually call time out when it’s getting too much, which I didn’t do with my mom.
Rayna Neises: Wise words and definitely process of learning how to do that, that we. Have boundaries that are healthy, it doesn’t mean we don’t care. It doesn’t mean we don’t respond when we when we’re really needed. It means learning how to, to have that separation. That’s healthy and understand ourselves and our needs as well as understand them and their needs, but not sacrifice ourselves for their needs. It’s difficult, difficult to do. So let’s start as you continue to work through that, make it a goal, make it a process that you learn yourself and you learn what you need in order to be able to give what you need to give to those that you love. Hard lesson, but definitely worth learning. And one that we get to exercise honestly all the time in life, with our children, with our loved ones, just all over the place, we have opportunities to learn, to find our boundaries and honor our loved ones at the same time.
Bosede Santos: Because really what it comes down to is you can’t give what you don’t have. And if you’re running on empty, then emotions rise and your actual risk of even, making that relationship worse. So it’s just wise to just know this is how far I can go and just attend to that, honor that. And respectfully communicate that to them. That looks like I can’t go that way. It’s too much for me right now.
Rayna Neises: They love us too. And so that’s the good news that they don’t want that for us. They want us to be able to take care of ourselves as well. And so, that’s the good news.
Is there anything that you could encourage our listeners with today who are in this caring season and maybe are feeling weary, any encouragement?
Bosede Santos: Well, It’s even worse right now for those who are actively caring, especially because of, you know, what’s happening all over the world. There’s, COVID-19, there’s all the riots, you know, and everything. So there’s anxieties heightening. And if there’s anyone who is a Christian, who’s caring first, all our seeds come to God because that’s the only place where we can find peace.
And, you know, for any other person who doesn’t have, that relationship with God. Well, I’ll just say is whatever you can find to maintain peace. Because for me, I believe that, if you can just look at peace in your heart, then it calms you down. And you’re able to make rational choices, you’re able to make, you’re able to see clearly, I suppose, too, having an anxiety that, you know, just makes you run a mock and just two things that hurts that will hurt you, that other people.
So for me, what is most critical is find peace. And with peace, joy will come because then you’re not working against yourself. Your just, you know, slowing calmness. Yeah.
Rayna Neises: Very wise words, seek, seek to find peace. And if you don’t have it, then search and find it. Well, thank you. It’s been wonderful to be able to visit with you today. And I think it’s been refreshing for our listeners to hear that’s I’m in the midst of the difficulties there is peace and there are places that you can find to take care of yourself and to continue to care for others.
And listeners, if you’d like to stay in touch, you can find some free resources available, life-giving words, weekly planner, different motivational resources at www.BosedeSantos.com.
Thank you again for your time today. It has been wonderful to be able to just be refreshed by your faith and, the encouraging words that you’ve offered to the listeners.
Bosede Santos: Thank you, Rayna. It’s good to be here.
Rayna Neises: And just to a reminder, A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have medical, financial, or legal questions, please consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
Promoting Champions with Bosede Santos www.BosedeSantos.com
Spiritual and Life Coach
Bosede is a Spiritual and Life Coach, Mentor, and contributing Author of an anthology of faith encounters with God, ‘Anchored by Trust’. As a vocation, she coaches through Promoting Champions Coaching, helping Christians and young adults power their purpose through passion, so they live purposeful influential lives.
She holds a Masters in Leadership and Ministry from the Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
A wife and a mother, her favourite pastimes include exploring new walking trails, hosting friends, old and new, in her home and enjoying exotic flavoured lattes and teas.
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