Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hidden Heroes
Caregiver Journey Map Campaign for Inclusive Care

Nodira Murodkhujaeva

When things don’t go as planned, I suck it up and adjust accordingly.

What was your first major challenge as a military caregiver?

I was at a loss for how to access resources and support. I am not from the United States, so I knew nothing about the military here. I also did not have any other military wives for friends, so I didn’t have a network I could tap into. It took me a while to learn how to navigate the system. I came to rely on a scheduling book to keep track of all his appointments.

To whom do you reach out for help?

My mother will come to stay with us, and she is very helpful, especially now that we have a toddler. My mother-in-law is also so good at dealing with my husband Ryan’s outbursts of anger and sadness. Sometimes he just needs to talk to his mom.

What do you think is the biggest misconception the military community has about your situation?

One time, my husband and I went to an event for wounded warriors. We were seated at a table with a tablecloth. We had begun talking to someone and all of the sudden he pulled up the tablecloth to see if Ryan was missing legs. I was completely shocked. There are still people who don’t understand invisible wounds.

My Story

Nodira cares for her husband, Ryan. She originally met him when he was assigned to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Guard Detachment in Uzbekistan. In addition to his time in Uzbekistan, he also served two deployments to Iraq, one to Afghanistan, and was stationed in Romania. It was in Romania that he was run over by a drunk driver. He suffers from the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

As a Dole Fellow, Nodira is committed to getting the word out about caregivers. People do not know who they are and she intends to change that.