Finding out your loved one has cancer can leave you reeling from shock. All of a sudden it can feel as though your world has come crashing down around you.
Help for cancer patients’ families is out there though, and if you can be at your strongest, it will help your loved make sense of it all. They’ll be looking for answers to a lot of questions.
We’re here to give you the tips you need to ensure you’re supported too at such a difficult time.
Look After Yourself
It sounds obvious, but looking after yourself needs to become a top priority. This means eating healthily, exercising regularly, and getting sufficient sleep. You should also consider practicing relaxation techniques like mindfulness or yoga.
All this is going to encourage you to have a positive mindset and give you more energy. That will enable you to offer your loved one as much support as possible. It will also be inspiring for them.
One of the most important things to be when you’re dealing with a cancer diagnosis is calm. Your loved one may be overwhelmed with emotions, from denial to anger. They may not be able to see through the fog of difficult feelings.
If you’re their primary line of support then you need to stay focused. This will allow you to decipher the facts and begin what can be a tough journey.
Create Your Own Support Network
It’s wise to be honest about your feelings. Different people manage this in different ways.
It may too hard to open up with the person you’re caring for. You may well be concerned that you’ll upset them and break down in front of them.
Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a relative stranger such as your doctor or a trained counselor. Some people find it helps to write their feelings down.
Support groups and online communities are a great way to communicate with people in similar situations. You may learn helpful things by sharing your experiences. Others may well be having problems similar to yours.
You may also feel that you need to call on a close friend or relative to talk to regularly. Make time for yourself to discuss and deal with your emotions. A routine chat over the phone with someone you completely trust can work wonders.
Knowledge Is a Powerful Tool
Always stick to the facts. It’s very easy to become frightened and anxious by some of the things you read. Close that door firmly behind you.
It’s vital to stay positive and focus on the reality of your loved one’s situation. We are all made differently. All cancers are different, and every diagnosis is different.
Don’t get caught up in the negative experiences you read about that others may have had. Because something hasn’t worked for one person doesn’t mean it won’t work for everyone else.
Keep a Clear Head
When someone’s diagnosed with cancer, they can feel as though the world has ended. The only thing they may hear at the hospital or surgery is the word ‘cancer.’
You can assist them by listening to what they are being told. You should always retain the facts by taking notes and writing things down if possible.
You may also be able to ask questions that they are simply unable to think of at the time. All this will help you and your loved one understand things better.
Sit in on Medical Appointments
If you’re at your loved one’s side, you will be both a comfort and a second pair of ears. This will help you get a better grasp of what the future holds. That is going to give you a sense of empowerment.
Part of your job will be to listen carefully, ask questions and sort out any essential paperwork. Being able to offer such valuable practical help is a rewarding experience at a time when positives may feel hard to come by.
You may well have to play the part of an advocate as well. This could happen if your loved one requires more answers or even a second opinion. You may have to step up to the plate and become their voice.
Listen to Your Loved One
You should encourage your loved one to communicate the concerns and fears they may have. Listening and validating their anxieties is one of the best ways you can show your love for them.
You should ensure that your loved one knows that you are always available to talk things through at any time. They may well not want to feel a burden so the onus is on you to check up on them regularly.
If they feel well supported and loved, then that is going to rub off on you. It will ultimately help you to feel happier and more able to cope.
Ask specifically about how you can help them most. They may be struggling to know how to tell others about their cancer diagnosis, for example. You can help them with this part of the journey.
Consider Financial Implications
Extra financial expenses can quickly crop up following a cancer diagnosis. Treatment could mean having to take time off work. It might mean extended periods away from home.
There could also be further costs. These may include buying medications, traveling for treatment and hospital parking fees. Some clinics are able to offer financial advice and let you talk to the team of specialists about the health care program.
The Best Help for Cancer Patients’ Families
What’s needed here is a clear strategy. You should practice relaxation techniques, share your feelings with others, and keep a journal to help organize your thoughts. Stick to your routine but be prepared to modify it.
Take advantage of any support groups available. Some are specifically designed to offer help for cancer patients’ families.
Read more here about how a support group could be of value to your loved one too. If you’re based in the Augusta, Georgia area, you can go to our calendar page for further information on support group meetings that are coming up.