Caregiver Spotlight: Beverly
Beverly Baldwin's father passed away from prostate cancer in 2012. She is the author of the book, "Memories of a Daughter’s Last Cry," which recounts her emotions during her father's battle. Beverly talks about her mission to prevent prostate cancer from happening to someone else, what daughters can do to care for their fathers, and what advice she has for other caregivers.
The impact of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer has impacted my life in an unexpected and unimaginable way. The impact hit me like I had run into head-on traffic. It took the life of the most important man in my life, changing my family dynamic forever. My father passed away from prostate cancer in 2012. I didn’t know anybody who had prostate cancer; I had never so much as heard of prostate cancer. I did, however, know that it was serious because I had lost all of my grandparents to some form of cancer: lung, breast, and colon.
Prostate cancer also impacted my life, because it made me vow to be a lifelong learner. I wanted to learn and be connected with this disease that changed my life forever. I wanted to make sure I could connect my own dots to why this happened, how it happened, and how I could stop it from ever happening to somebody else.
Taking care of others
Being a caretaker is just that: taking care of and looking after a person/people. Perspectives are based on a person’s experience. I watched my dad struggle with what one would consider basic daily routines: getting dressed, shaving, eating, or just getting out of the bed. These are daily tasks that “we” take for granted far too often.
Through it all, my dad never complained or wanted to ask for help. I truly believe the “caretaking” my dad received from his family is what kept him alive longer. He was fully supported. I think about others who do not have a support system, those that suffer in silence, those who wants answers, those that feel like giving up.
My mission is educate and bring awareness to a disease that plagues our community in devastating numbers. The advice I would give to caretakers everywhere is to create memories, be patient, and don’t take the actions of the patient personally.
How daughters can support their fathers
Since the beginning of time, men have always had a complex about going to the doctor for regular checkups. Just the notion that something “could” be wrong was a deterrent for men to visit the doctor; the notion that, "if something IS wrong, it's going to prevent me from taking care of my family." Men are born with a provider spirit. Women have less of a complex about going to the doctor for regular checkups. I strongly believe that if you educate the woman, you will educate the man.
The influence on advocacy work
Humans have an innate ability to form connections with others. Those connections are formulated from the same perspectives, goals, and ideas. I have been so blessed to be born into a family where there are strong ties.
To say I was a daddy’s girl growing up was an understatement. My dad was and is still my hero. He is my true guardian angel. The bond that I have with my family was intensified when my dad initially got sick. I have cried many nights. My dad reached out to me from the grave, assuring me of the advocacy work that was on my heart to do. Advocacy was just second nature for me. It was ordained for my life. Knowing that I have always had my parents' support leads me to want to support others.
What to expect in the book
My book is a memoir that will take you on an emotional roller coaster. Your journey of emotions will range from you laughing, shedding a few tears, covering your mouth in shock and disbelief, and feeling tranquil and at peace. You will uncover a touching testimony through the eyes of a daughter, who witnesses her father fight and lose his battle to prostate cancer.
My book includes colored pictures that allow you to connect with myself and my family. Toward the end of the book, there are word-search puzzles that will provide positive words of affirmation to help you on your journey to healing. After reading my book, you will find yourself feeling educated about the disease, empowered by the disease, and encouraged by the disease.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?