Ways To Support A Loved One With Cancer
Getting a diagnosis of any type of cancer can be earth shattering. Your world can turn upside down within a matter of seconds. This is a vulnerable time for them and the way you respond can make all the difference. Support from family and friends is very important to his/her recovery. I work in a cancer clinic and see people suffering from this disease everyday. I am by no means an expert on this subject. I have learned a great deal of helpful information from the patients and their families by listening with not only my ears but my heart as well. Here are five tips that I thought was most important in helping your loved one through this journey.
- Deal With Yourself First. Before you help them, you have to help yourself first.This is very important. You need to deal with your own pain, hurt and denial. You will need to face all your fears and worries. Perhaps you could confide in a friend that will just listen. This will be difficult but you need to do it. You will need to express everything that you are scared of and then deal with it. This will help you when you have to listen and help your loved one cope with his/her diagnosis. After you have had your meltdown, whether that be screaming, crying, throwing things,or whatever it may be, get a grip and get yourself together and get ready to fight this disease!
- Be With Them. Unfortunately, bills still come due and the house responsibilities still need to be taken care of. Lend a hand wherever it's needed. Maybe offer to come over and do some laundry or vacuum carpet. Maybe you could cook a meal for them or anything that would really help them with these everyday tasks that will still be there. This will show them how much you care and want to help in any way that you are able to.
- Keeping It Normal. You should try and do things as you did before as much as possible. Sometimes it is not possible, but try to do what you can to bring some normalcy back in the picture. Keeping it normal helps the patient to feel like this cancer has not beaten them down. It also can help them to feel more confident and supported in the recovery and possibly be able to cope with things better.
- Laugh Often. Remember the saying "Laughter is the best Medicine"? How many times have you heard that? Many I'm sure, but there is some truth in it. When we laugh, there are these things called endorphins which are little mood enhancement chemicals that are released which in turn gives us a sense of well being. This can create a closeness with the person you are are sharing a laugh with. Laughter can also improve your immune system which can help with resisting infection. It also can give you more energy making you feel better and possibly taking away some of your physical and emotional pain. Laughter gives you a feeling of hope and can inspire you and your loved ones.
- Staying Positive. I know that saying and doing are two completely different things. You need to stay positive and act positive as much as you can. A positive attitude in a patient can make all the difference. I have seen the difference this can make. If you give up, they may give up feeling like there is no chance of recovery. I'm not saying you need to be in denial or not prepared about a situation that is terminal but being positive can give your loved one a sense of hope and a better will to live.
I hope this information has been helpful to someone. Like I said before, I am not an expert on this but I am a good listener and have learned a lot from my patients and their families that I see on a regular basis.