A Passion for Advocacy

Where are you located?
Goodyear, Arizona

Where did your veteran receive the majority of their medical treatment?
My husband receives his care from Surprise VA clinic along with the Phoenix Carl T. Hayden VA facility.

Which branch of service is your family affiliated with?
My husband is a Purple Heart recipient and served in the Marine Corps for almost 10 years.

“I can’t even express how much of a stress relief and a load off my shoulders our case manager Sharon has provided.”

Please share how you came to be a caregiver.
I was a CVICU nurse that cared for critically ill patients for 6 years. I knew my husband while I was in nursing school and kept in touch with him throughout the years, so I’ve known my husband for over 8 years and we started to see one another in 2013. As a CVICU nurse, I worked bedside and noticed when we were with one another early in the relationship that he had multiple health issues/concerns, no pain relief from medications, and non compliance in medications which made me realize I needed to advocate for him and his needs. I researched jobs and found a stay at home position for a Telephonic RN case manager and asked him to move in with me after 3 months of dating so he can have a readily available access to a VA facility. The nearest VA facility where he was formally residing was around 2 hours away and residing with me would be only 20-30 mins away for his care.

How has caregiving impacted your day-to-day routine and your personal life?
Being that I was a CVICU nurse; with that job title I’ve had to learn how to multi-task, time manage effectively and efficiently, and it has helped tremendously with being my husband’s care giver. I do have a medically special needs son who has multiple health issues/physicians on his case and that has also helped me with coordinating and time management with my husbands needs as well. As I say this, being a full-time care giver to my husband along with parental duties of a special needs child and working full-time has led to me to have little or no personal life. I am very lucky to have a wonderful boss and am able to work Saturdays to take a week day off to work around appointments for my husband for that day.

Besides caring for your veteran, what other interests/jobs/passions do you pursue now?
Since I am a Nurse Case manager I come across with all eras of veterans, which has led me to my new passion on advocating for other veterans to help get them the assistance they need and deserve.

How has QoLF helped you to renew your passion in your interests or to change something to improve your quality of life?
QoLF has made me more passionate on helping other veterans in my Nurse case manager role. Having our support system from QoLF and having someone advocate for our family has truly been a blessing. To have someone help make the calls, do the research on other organizations for assistance and follow-up with me; I can’t even express how much of a stress relief and a load off my shoulders our case manager Sharon has provided. I am truly grateful to Sharon and QoLF for all their help and advocacy.

Do you have a favorite inspirational or motivational quote?
“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud”. Maya Angelou

What advice would you give a new caregiver?
Being a Caregiver is a lot of hard work, do not forget about your self and own well being. Lastly to my fellow caregivers, please always remember its okay to ask for help!

What would you like to tell the average American?
To help support the rights of veterans with making improvements within the VA system and along with support and help the needs of the Caregiver and family.