If you have a loved one currently going through cancer treatment, remember that he or she requires support alongside the excellent care of his or her cancer treatment center. This side of care is up to you, and it can make a huge difference in a patient’s quality of life.
What Your Loved One’s Going Through
It is important to know what your loved one is dealing with. He or she may be dealing with some of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and finally acceptance. Remember, not everyone goes through all these stages, nor does everyone go through them in a standard order. At the very least, your loved one is probably overwhelmed. If you are in the patient’s geographic area, for instance, you are near his or her Connecticut cancer center, you can help him or her deal with all these feelings by paying attention to the signs and negative effects of these feelings. If you notice that your loved one is too overwhelmed or in too much denial to take care of things, ask if he or she wants your help organizing, educating, and communicating on his or her behalf with the care team. Help relieve stress by helping with the kids, doing the cleaning, or running errands. If he or she is sinking into a depression, you might strongly recommend counseling. If your loved one is feeling guilt or asking what they did wrong, remind him or her that this diagnosis is no one’s fault, and especially not the patient. Of course, you should always check with your loved one before you step in. If he or she is married, you might also ask the spouse. There is such a thing as being overwhelmed by too many well-meaning people.
Healing With Emotions
According to the National Cancer Institute, some doctors think that maintaining a hopeful outlook can help patients beat their cancer. Give your loved one all the hope you can. Do not be that friend who “cannot handle” cancer; remember, your loved one is the person battling it. You need to be present and provide whatever kind of support your loved one needs, so that he or she does not feel as alone. Remember, it is up to him or her to choose when to talk about the cancer; unless you are the in-treatment spokesperson, do not force your loved one to speak about the issue. Let him or her feel. Repressing feelings will only make them worse. Even though you want to help the patient have a renewed sense of hope, remember that he or she does need the time and space to feel any feelings.
Do not be afraid to lavish gifts on your loved one. You can spoil him or her and also provide a means of entertainment during the hospital stay by going to a retailer such as this generic electronics website and buying your loved one a tablet or computer on which to watch shows, surf the web, or even do a little work. Maybe a new outfit, favorite books, or comfort devices like pillows or blankets will make excellent gifts.
If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one with cancer, remember that you, too, may experience similar stages of grief. If you need support, do not be afraid to reach out to someone else. Do not be afraid to get counseling support. Keep a life away from your role as caregiver, as well. Stay involved in an organization or group. Keeping occasional distance will help you avoid burnout, so that you can provide the best support for your loved one.