Since my mother was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, her care, and everything that goes along with that care, has consumed my family.
It is a journey we have chosen to undertake, but one we were pitifully unqualified for. As a result, we have had to learn to navigate the health care system and all that it entails in just a few short weeks.
When a loved one receives a diagnosis like this, you have to become a quick study in everything from filling out mountains of medical paperwork to how to navigate the complicated world of health insurance. This is not something a person facing this diagnosis can deal with.
My husband and I have had to research what Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield and longterm care insurance will pay for. We have navigated the complicated process of getting home health care resources like a hospital bed, and home health care providers, like a physical therapist.
In addition, as a caregiver to someone with a terminal illness, one has to manage the complex and ever-changing list of medications that must be given in specific doses and at specific times throughout the day.
This is in addition to the basic care you must provide - feeding, bathing, dressing, and transporting to doctors' appointments.
Throughout the process, I have wondered how people who don't have a family member to do all of this can make it through. It makes me so sad to think of someone going through this all alone. It is unimaginable, frankly.
My mother took care of me for 45 years. Now it is my turn to care for her. It is not a job I applied for, but it is one I do with my whole heart. Prior to this I was training for a marathon, a friend told me that now, instead, this journey is my marathon.
I haven't trained for it, but I am determined to make it to the finish line.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.