Carrie Gibson

Meet Carrie

Carrie Gibson, Caregiver

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Carrie’s Story

On December 18th, 2009, I was at a Christmas gathering when I received a call from my twin sister. Our dad, the big boss, the strong one, was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer.

Since that day, I saw my Dad, my Mom and my siblings struggling in all the stages of grief. We all were in different stages, trying to understand why, of all of us, he was the one who diagnosed with this disease. He was always healthy, he exercised, and he had great eating habits.

He had been having symptoms for about a year and was already over 50, but a colonoscopy was not recommended by his primary physician. After being constantly pressured by Mom, Dad finally went to another physician, who ordered his first colonoscopy.

By then it was already too late, surgery was not an option because of the tumor size, so he began chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. Then he went through surgery, colostomy, more chemos, more surgeries. I guess he was suffering, however, he never complained in front of us. He never lost his smile, he always kept a lot of faith in the treatments, physicians, and God.

From 2013 to 2014 he had a good year, but after the CT to finally remove his medport, we found out that now the cancer had spread to both lungs. With a negative biopsy, he decided to undergo surgery following his proctologist recommendations.

All tumors that were removed tested positive. Although my Dad remained optimistic, his body betrayed him and every day he was getting weaker. My Mom started feeling more and more burnt out, stressed, and I can’t imagine how awful it must be to see the love of your life suffering day after day. My sister and I decided to get more involved and helped lessen her workload. We moved in with them to help in all possible ways.

We had the opportunity to see the real struggle, to be face to face with cancer and we decided to focus on the little miracles.

We even prepared Dad a book of his legacy where our brothers, sister, mom, grandkids, family and friends wrote letters about what we had learned from him. In these letters we thanked him, some of us asked for forgiveness, and we shared with him the lessons we learned from him and will always cherish.

That way in life he could knew that he was leaving part of him in every one of us.
All of us went above and beyond, sacrificing time with our family and even compromising our jobs. We got tired, sleepless and anxious of not knowing what to expect each day. But despite that, nothing that we did will pay back how great of a father he was for us, the Gibson Five.

Papi died in the comfort of his bed, holding our hands while Mami was praying. It was a bittersweet honor to have shared his last breath with him. We don’t regret anything. We learned that caregiver’s burnout is real, but we also lived the other side of the story. The smiles, the kisses, the hugs, the deep conversations, the good readings, we were kind of partners in crime against cancer.

Through caregiving we got to know his very best version, and we will always be so proud of him.

Carrie’s Advice

Despite the chaos, you’ll gain perspective in your journey. Enjoy the tons of little miracles that come along the way, such as a smile, a friend’s hug, a rainbow, a deep and meaningful conversation with your loved ones. It is so rewarding to experience the honor of taking care of someone you truly love when they need it the most.

JOIN ONE MILLION STRONG

If you’ve been impacted by colorectal cancer, join One Million Strong by sharing your story! And, get involved! Get behind a cure!

  • Was this information helpful?
  • yes   no

9 comments on “Meet the One Million Strong- Carrie Gibson from Puerto Rico”

  1. 1
    Maria on May 28, 2017

    Thank you for being such a special daughter, and giving the most of yourself no matter how many sacrifices. God Bless you always!!!!

  2. 2
    Ana Roca on May 27, 2017

    My father didn’t died of Colon CA he died of his complications of Alzheimers still I can relate with the process of a dying parent and be their caregiver. Saludos to Elsa. Big hug!!!

  3. 3
    Elba on May 26, 2017

    Hi Carrie, like always your stories bring tears to my eyes. It is a lesson for every family that has to deal with this disease. I am happy that I was part of the Soto Millet team that took care of my mom. I will never forget a minute that I spent with my mom. Take care. Your suster in cancer.

  4. 4
    Catherine on May 13, 2017

    Los admiro…Gibson family!!

  5. 5
    James VHA on April 7, 2017

    We need more people just like you, ’tis them little miracles. My respects, enjoy your smiles!!!

  6. 6
    Lys on March 20, 2017

    Thank you very much for sharing. My condolences to you, Elsa, and the entire family.

  7. 7
    Odette Del Rio on March 17, 2017

    Thank you for your optimism and continual declaration of fighting colorectal cancer with all that you can possibly do on your part & inspiring others to do likewise. God bless you as you move forward in your determination to help others.

  8. 8
    Monica Patino on March 15, 2017

    What a beautiful message… It brought tears to my eyes.

  9. 9
    Marievelisse Soto on March 14, 2017

    Thanks for share your experience! Thanks for be the voice of many caregivers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *