Have you ever had a life event that was so earth-shattering, it changed the trajectory of your life? One that made you question your own skills, career, and relationships?
March 2020 it happened to me, and ultimately, it’s what led me to DUOS. The path that brought me here was very personal and anything but linear, but it made my new career that much more gratifying.
Both of my parents had significant health events in recent years. A few years ago, my mom was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. It rapidly became uncontrolled, and she needed more specialized care than she was receiving. At the time, I was living in New York City and my parents were in St. Louis. But even with the distance between us, I stepped in and took charge of her health affairs, tracking down new doctors and managing her care.
Then came March 2020. My father contracted COVID-19. His case was very serious, and he ended up on a ventilator for a month. Since family members could not visit and communication with the hospital was limited, I moved to St. Louis for two months to be the point person for all of his health needs.
I did the medical update intakes and served as spokesperson for our family. When he finally came home from the hospital, there was a slew of issues and paperwork to work through from his job, to his benefits, to his ongoing healthcare. It was a lot. Still, I was happy I could lend my communication, research and organization skills to help my dad and mom during those critical times. It felt so good to be able to be a support for them.
But I was still working full time, trying to balance my role as the Director of Legal and Business Affairs for an award-winning sports media platform, while navigating my parents’ more urgent day-to-day needs. So I know firsthand how stressful and time-consuming it can be as a primary caregiver, especially long-distance. And even then, I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to do more.
This is when I started to really examine what I was doing with my career and my life.
I enjoyed my job, but I always felt the pull to be part of a start-up that was making a difference in people’s lives. When the opportunity came along to join three healthcare industry experts building this company called DUOS, it was like worlds colliding.
If I had a service like DUOS, it would have saved me so much time and stress. I have a law degree, and I even struggled to work through my parents’ benefits. So I loved that one of the services DUOS provides is helping older adults sift through their benefits, understand their choices, and make the best of them—all while providing some relief for caregivers. I knew I had to be part of it.
I wanted to work for a company helping real people, with a team that’s equally committed to this demographic. The problem is only accelerating, and at DUOS, we are addressing the pain points of millions of people, and that means a lot to me.
Today, my life looks completely different than what I thought it was going to be. I know I’m lucky I was able to help my parents when they needed it the most, and now, I use that experience to help others in the same way.
Being a caregiver isn’t an easy role, and my advice to people in similar situations to mine is this: Recognize when you need help.
Looking back now, I didn’t even realize how stressed I actually was. Be sure to check in with how you feel mentally and emotionally, and continue to ask yourself, “Can I do this alone?” My first inclination was that I should just do everything myself, but I’d encourage you to really take the time to ask questions about what works for you and your family.
The past year and half has been a winding road for so many people, and I want to thank my DUOS co-founders for their endless support, knowledge, and resources as I supported my own parents. The world of healthcare is vast, but when you have people by your side that can help you, it can be so freeing.