My advice is to ask questions, listen and learn about resources that are available.
What are you most excited to do as a Dole Caregiver Fellow?
I am excited about sharing information, being a support to others, offering a smile and/or hug, providing a positive attitude, and being a motivator to others.
At what moment did you realize that you were a military caregiver?
Being a military caregiver was a progressive process for me; I just kept thinking things would change and our lives would get easier. My affirmation came when Pete had his amputation five years ago, and he started receiving medical treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
What quote inspires you or keeps you motivated?
Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
Anne Way's risk of losing her husband Pete continued after he returned from his deployment in 2003. Pete would be in a fight for his life more than once because of injuries he sustained while serving as a reservist in the U.S. Army.
Pete was one of two medically trained personnel at his post during his deployment to Afghanistan, where he served as an Army nurse practitioner. Pete took shrapnel to the knee but stayed in theater and received surgery when he returned to Fort Bragg. However, as time went on, bacteria from the injury continued to reoccur, requiring more operations. With each reoccurrence, the doctors were convinced they had stopped the infection, giving Pete and Anne a sense of closure. That was not the case. Years later, Pete has had over 30 surgeries, lost 30 percent of his muscle mass and ultimately had his right leg amputated in 2015 after he became septic, a life-threatening condition.
Pete was also diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anne struggled to find the right resources to help Pete, in part because as a reservist family, they weren’t connected to a base where information would have been more accessible.
Anne is a teacher. She first taught in a traditional classroom and now is a special education PE teacher. In 2020, she decided to retire to manage the responsibilities of a full-time caregiver to Pete. Every day, she makes Pete’s meals, drives him to appointments, and gets him involved in activities outside the home.
Despite what they’ve seen their father go through with his service-related injury, Anne and Pete’s daughter and son are serving in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force respectively. Although seeking reassurance from their parents prior to joining the military, Anne believes that her children are more resilient than ever before and motivated to serve in return.