Valdosta Daily Times

Features

February 19, 2014

Strength to the End: Author shares a caregiver’s story

VALDOSTA — Lucy Carter’s role as a caregiver began not by choice but by necessity.

“It actually began in 2002 when my then 50-year-old husband had a massive heart attack that left him with less than 20 percent heart function,” Carter says. “Our lives changed in an instant. His doctor told him to apply for whatever he needed to because he was never going to be able to work again. We went from a two-family paycheck to one. The hospital visits, doctor visits and medicines along with the bills came at an astounding pace. This is where my caregivers’ journey began.”

Carter shares her experiences and struggles, what she’s learned and seen as a caregiver in her book, “Strength to the End: A Caregiver’s Journey.”

Being a caregiver, whether it is for a family member or for others, requires commitment.

“We volunteer ourselves, our time and in most case our resources, not really realizing at the time just what it will entail,” Carter says. “You will just wake up one morning and you are all in, determined to stay the course due to the commitment you have made.”

The book focuses more on the care she has given to others, especially one friend who battled cancer. Caregivers are in the thick of these battles.

“It definitely takes a toll on you to watch your loved one or a dear friend die a little each day,” Carter says. “For my friend because of refusal to fight the cancer or to take pain medication, it was agony no one deserves. ... I found in my case, I neglected my own health due to the time constraints. I just couldn’t fit me into my schedule. I put off tests and procedures that were necessary and long overdue. There was my husband, a full-time job and a dying friend to care for. That may be why you hear of so many instances where the caregiver dies before or shortly after taking care of someone else. It took well over six months for me to recover from the 14 months spent as caregiver.”

“Strength to the End” tells the story of Carter, a devout Christian, and her developing friendship with a woman who was an atheist facing cancer.

Carter has spent most of her life in the Valdosta area. She and husband Tommy have been married for 44 years. They raised their children here and have grandchildren here. They are members of Calvary Baptist Church in Lake Park.

Lucy Carter’s faith has seen her through her experiences.

“I have to say I could not have made it through this journey without the prayers and support of my church family,” Carter says. “My faith in Christ is what sustained me through the entire process.”

Lucy Carter will have a meet and greet session for “Strength to the End: A Caregiver’s Journey,” 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, Lakes Chapel Clubhouse, Lake Park. The book is also available on amazon.com.

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