Vanessa Chism

Not everything has to be done in one day. Some days are best taken moment by moment. Find your tribe that will carry you through the really hard days and remind you of who you are. Be patient, kind, and loving to yourself. Dream big and never lose hope because one day you will thank yourself for not giving up!

What are your biggest challenges as a caregiver?

While I could focus on the physical demands of caregiving and times when there were traumatic events, it’s the lack of caregiver support that I find makes this role so challenging. I have struggled with getting support from the VA. But even in my own extended family and my community there is a lack of understanding of what caregivers need.

What resources or support networks do you utilize?

My husband was medically retired while serving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, so I was able to meet fellow caregivers who are still a vital part of my support network. They lifted me up, provided me with resources, and held my hand along the journey. And I have found that being involved with veteran, caregiver, and family centric nonprofit organizations that provide opportunities for meaningful connections is incredibly beneficial.

Tell us who you are outside of your role as a caregiver. What interests you? Do you go to school, work, or volunteer? Are you an entrepreneur?

Serving others has always been a passion for me, and I had always wanted to be a physician. However, after my husband’s injury, his multiple hospitalizations, and our young family, that dream has had to shift directions.  I love to learn, and I have now almost completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in behavioral neuroscience and a minor in biology. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering with community nonprofit organizations especially ones that assist military and veteran families. And I have shifted my career to working within this nonprofit community ensuring no military or veteran family is left behind. Being of service has just taken a different route than I had originally planned.

My Story