Beliefnet
Jennifer Cares

Hello and welcome to my Take Care Tips blog. My publisher (Paul at St. Lynn’s Press) tells me that each year, somewhere around 250,000 new books are vying for shelf space in book stores. Each of those book s has a story behind how it came into being, and this blog will chronicle the story of Take Care!
My own personal journey has led me to creating this book. I learned what it was like to be a caregiver at a young age. My mother suffered from post partum depression while I was growing up, and she died suddenly of a heart attack when she was only 50 years old. As the oldest of four girls in the family, I did what I could to help my dad and take care of my sisters.
When my mom died, I was three months away from getting married. My mother-in-law-to-be scooped me up and took me in. She was an orphan, and knew what it was like to move through life without a mother. While I know my own mother watched and protected from above, it was my mother-in-law who was physically here with me to celebrate career advancements, and later, for the births of four of our five children. Not long after our daughter was born, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer—aggressive and inoperable—doctors believed it started somewhere in her stomach area. She died just six weeks after the diagnosis.
It was my honor and blessing to work with hospice to take care of my mother-in-law during those six weeks. At the time it was happening, I was just back at work full-time in a very public way as a TV News Anchor and Reporter, I had three toddlers, an infant, and a husband at home. I would stop at my in-laws house on the way to work, on the way home, and then again after the kids were tucked into bed. I talked to doctors and looked online to find out everything I could about cancer and how it progresses. I researched medicines. I found myself administering medicines to my mother-in-law, keeping pain charts, and lists of reactions to medications and dosages. I helped to organize counseling for family members. I kept a journal with my mother-in-law. I made sure my father-in-law was eating and sleeping. I tried to keep my house, and my in-law’s house straightened up. I took care of my own family, and continued to breastfeed the baby. I stayed connected to keep on top of everything I need to keep up with for my job.
I had a strong sense that I was the one who needed to take care of all of these things, and I happily did them. I would not have wanted it any other way. Looking back on it now though, I realize that I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating well. I wasn’t getting any exercise. I gained weight. My skin was dry (I was probably dehydrated). I had aches and pains I never had before. I had headaches; but I kept moving.
After my mother-in-law’s funeral was really the first time that I thought about any of that. Not taking care of myself had caught up with me. I had to go to the hospital with chest pains…scared because of my family history of heart disease including my mother dying of a heart attack at a young age. I had to stay overnight, hooked up to a heart monitor.
Thankfully I checked out OK, but before the doctor released me, he asked me about my lifestyle. He told me to consider my chest pains as a big red flag to hit the brakes, and spend some time taking care of myself.
Looking at my little children’s eyes when I got home fueled the doctor’s talk. My children were going to have to grow up without grandmothers, but I would do everything I could to make sure they did not have to grow up without me.
I made it a point to gather practical information from the many knowledgeable people I had in my world because of my 17-years as a journalist: medical doctors, psychologists, sports stars, nutritionists, fitness pros, celebrities, pain relief specialists, religious leaders, alternative care experts, decorators, organizers, crafters, life coaches, gardeners…I asked them each one simple question; “If I could give you ten minutes, from what you know, what would you suggest I do to make a noticeable difference in my life?”
I collected those tips, I tried them myself, I shared them with others who I thought could use them. I built a TV show around the concept, and now I am selecting some of the best tips to include in a new book, Take Care!
Although I am not new to presenting information to people, I do find myself in a new world of book writing and publishing. I’ve already learned a lot, and I look forward to learning and sharing more with with you throughout this journey. My sincere hope is that the tips in Take Care! will help millions of people to realize that they just need to spend a little bit of time on themselves to make big, positive changes in their lives. I love having you with me on this adventure.
Here we go.

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