My husband was injured initially in Afghanistan in 2009. Over the last few years he has had multiple surgeries and was in a coma last year that contributed to him developing ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) which is similar to TBI, he has multiple incomplete spinal injuries and a myriad of other health issues that all stem from his injury in Afghanistan and the subsequent treatment. My husband requires full time care due to his injuries/illnesses- and this falls to me as his wife. On top of being my husbands full time care giver I also have 2 of my 5 kids who live at home, and my youngest son has 2 behavioral disorders and my daughter has special needs and health issues of her own. I also work part time to help with the finances in supporting our family and I do some volunteer work with other wounded warrior families as well. I am telling you this because I want you to understand how full my life is,which means that there is no "me" time, or time for me to be able to regroup. Caregiver burnout is a very real threat to myself and my family. Even though my journey in life the last few years has been very hard and very rough, the Wounded Warriors Family Support team has contributed to making it so much more bearable in the last few months (since I enrolled with their program).
I was able to go on a retreat for wounded warrior caregivers at the end of March because WWFS brought in a wonderful, professional caregiver to care for my soldier. For me to be able to go to the other side of the country and know that the love of my life, the light of my universe was in caring and competent hands was the biggest factor that allowed me to go on this weekend retreat. This retreat went a long ways in delaying caregiver burnout for me thus far. Not only has WWFS provided a caregiver for my retreat but at other extremely stressful times as well, and a few times just because I needed a day to myself. Being a full time caregiver of a wounded warrior is very hard, very very hard- regardless of how much you love your solider-your relationship with them is completely different then that of a couple who doesn't have this same kind of relationship. If I didn't have WWFS on my side and in my corner I wouldn't be able to cope as well as I do with my situation in life. Wendy Tatro-Walker and her team has provided so much support, emotionally, personally and physically (by providing a caregiver when I need a break) that if I won the lottery I would donate every penny to them to continue this project for the future and for other caregivers. I really can not stress how amazing and wonderful and supportive this organization is and how this organizations programs have enabled me to be a better, healthier,happier wife,mother and caregiver-by providing a professional caregiver that I can feel safe leaving my family with when I need one.
Not only do they do this, but they are also sending our family on a trip at the end of August to Orlando,Fl for a family vacation. This is the very first time that we have been offered the opportunity to take a vacation as a family. Being the family of a wounded warrior affects not only my soldier and myself, but my children also. It guarantees that our children don't have the same kind of childhood that most parents dream for their children.Our families plans and goals for life have been changed so dramatically by the injuries/illnesses that my solider suffers from because he is not able to do the normal dad-kid things that other kids get to do with their dads. So this trip to FL for a week, where they have the appropriate accommodations for my husband that will also allow us to make amazing and lifelong family memories is a blessing that we are very thankful for. Again, this wouldn't have been possible with out the WWFS and their volunteers.