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Having a Friend With Cancer, How to Cope

Updated on September 29, 2014

Having a relative or friend who has been diagnosed with chronic or terminal illness is not easy. Many people who see their loved one suffer may feel sympathetic towards them, but often caregiver or friend may be secretly suffering themselves. It is tough work to be a rock and close with someone who is terminally. When one person has a chronic illness, it affects not only them, but everyone around them. There are a few steps that can be taken to help you in this difficult time.


First, always remember to take care of yourself. This may sound simple, but it is much harder when put into practice. Before you are capable of taking care of anyone, you must be both emotionally and physically ready. There are a few ways of doing this, such as eating properly. By eating healthy meals, three times a day, you are ensuring your strength, which may be necessary if your loved one requires heavy lifting. Also, get eight hours of sleep. This may seem like a difficult task, especially with anxiety that may be present surrounding your loved ones illness, but it is imperative.

Also, just as your sick loved one needs an emotion support system (hence you), you need one as well. By help caring for a loved one, you are exhausting yourself both emotionally and physically, and support system can be a life-saver. Sometimes people do not realize strain that is put on loved ones of the chronically and terminally ill, and that is why you should not hesitate on asking for help, especially from friends and family.

When one is diagnosed with chronic or terminal illness, things in their and your life will be changed forever. When the diagnosed is found out, everyone involved needs to recognize the challenges that lie already. Once these issues are acknowledged and accepted, it will make day-to-day management smoother. Also, recognize your attitude in the mist of all this chaos, even though you may not be saying your feeling out loud, you body gestures and facial expressions maybe saying them for you.

Next, is anger, which is a healthy human response. Getting angry that this happened to you and your loved one is very common, because it may not be fair. You may be thinking that you loved one is a good person, and that someone else may deserve this illness, but not your loved one.

Bargaining is the third stage, in which a person may make a deal with God. You may say that you will be a better person if they get better. This stage is followed by depression, in which you may not care anymore. This stage is one that many people spend a lot of time in. It can be hard to come out of depression, but with the right support group, it is possible.

Last is acceptance. When one comes to accept that their loved one is ill, they are more likely to be productive and truly help their loved one. Even though a person has gone through the acceptance stage, this does not mean they cannot backslide into the previous steps.

Even though you did nothing to provoke this illness on your loved one, you may feel bad, and this is healthy. It is a necessity for you to get involved with a support group, whether it be formal or just your friends. However, this is not the time to be alone. With the right attitude, you can get through this, even though that may not seem possible right now. Just keep in mind you love for your friend or relative and make every moment count.

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    • Alli Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Alli Rose Smith 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      I'm sorry that you went through that.

    • Alli Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Alli Rose Smith 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks Rebel, I appreciate it.

    • Alli Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Alli Rose Smith 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks Wordwithlove, I had a friend who had cancer, and it was hard for all of us to cope, I just hope this article helps some people.

    • wordswithlove profile image

      Neetu M 

      4 years ago from USA

      Everyone needs courage in the fight against cancer or sometimes even coming to terms with the finality of an incurable form of the disease. Thank you for writing this, Alli, so those who are struggling with giving care to a loved one can find some guidance.

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      4 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Unfortunate victims of cancer need strong friends to comfort them. You put that point out very well, Alli.

    • Alli Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Alli Rose Smith 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Wow, she sounds like am awesome person, thank you.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 

      4 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      I have a dear friend who went through cancer 20 years ago using all natural treatment. It was tough to watch but she is a survivor and still alive today and cancer free.

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