Sunday, May 24, 2015

“I am NOT Wonder Woman!” said Megan Stewart about herself as a military caregiver. “I can’t do everything and trying to will leave me sick and tired.”

Megan knows setting boundaries isn’t easy when the demands are so great. For the past 15 years she has gone beyond what she thought were her limits to care for her husband, Tim, injured as a result of gunshot wounds, grenade fragments and a concussive blast.

Tim requires Megan’s support to cope with the effects of his traumatic brain injury and PTSD. She helps him with his memory. On days when Tim is unable to bathe or dress himself, Megan helps him with daily routines, reminds him to eat, take his medications, and look after his service dog. Somehow, she manages to squeeze in classes toward finishing her Bachelors degree in accounting.

She thinks Tim is depressed, but he won’t acknowledge it or ask for help and it wears on their marriage.

Although she’s part of an online support group, she wishes she had another caregiver nearby to grab a meal with and talk through their issues. When she attended her first Wounded Warrior Program retreat with other Dole Fellow Caregivers, she found that personal connection with other caregivers really helped.

The retreat also made her feel appreciated and validated — that being a military caregiver really matters. As a Dole Fellow Caregiver, Megan wants others to understand the challenges of being a military caregiver and she wants to advocate on behalf of their needs.

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