|Posted on September 18, 2018 at 12:25 AM|
What to Do When Someone You Love Is Going Through Cancer Treatment
Sometimes it happens… the words that we never want to hear coming from a loved one’s mouth: “I have cancer.” Cancer is a difficult diagnosis for patients and family members, but early detection and medical advances can successfully treat cancer. There are a variety of treatments that can destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors, stop the cancer from spreading, and send the disease into remission. Cancer treatment brings along a host of side effects, but there are ways to help someone with cancer deal with both.
Help Them Manage the Pain and Symptoms
While there are many different types of cancer treatment available, you probably hear the most about radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Side effects from treatments include nausea, fatigue, and pain, in addition to the pain from the cancer itself. As a supporter, you can learn about the treatment and understand what it’s doing to your loved one’s body. Help them eat better and exercise, allow them to rest when they’re tired, or buy them a nice wig or head wrap when their hair starts to fall out. If it’s your spouse who’s experiencing a decreased sex drive, be understanding when he or she isn’t in the mood.
Do Things to Make Their Day-to-Day Life Easier
It can be difficult for a person living with cancer to get out of bed, let alone cook food or take baths. Anything you do to mitigate these tasks could be a huge help to your loved one. Make dinner, do laundry, clean the house, pick up groceries, get the mail, or drive their kids to school. Most importantly, offer to drive them to their appointments. They might need transportation and loving company during this process. If you’re attempting to help and are met with resistance or anger, be patient and understanding. They’re not angry with you; they’re angry at the situation. It’s not easy for them to cope with losing their faculties and having to rely on others for assistance.
Help Them Relax
While cancer is a physical pain, it can also bring mental anguish. A positive mindset can be achieved with meditation. If you live together, create a space in your place for meditation and relaxation. When people are battling cancer, they are under a great deal of stress, and their minds might be overwhelmed with negative thoughts. During these times, it can be difficult to focus on the positive. Meditation and mindfulness can be beneficial in helping them stay in the now and not worry so much about things that are out of their control. According to one study, mindful meditation has positive effects such as improved sleep and energy levels, calmness and well-being, and decreased pain.
Encourage Them to Keep Living
A cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean that life is over, so avoid treating your loved one like he has no life left to live. Patients might experience cancer-related depression, and your encouragement could keep them from giving up on life. Keep inviting them to do things and tag along when they want a buddy. There may be less time now that cancer treatment is part of their schedule, but it’s important to enjoy life. A happy mindset can lead to a healthy body.
Don’t Make It About You
Your loved one probably feels guilty enough for putting you through this, but remember that you’re only experiencing worry and emotional pain from seeing them suffer. The physical pain is real for them, and the prospect of death is real for them. You might feel as though you’re losing something in this battle, but your part in the matter is easier than theirs.
When someone you love has cancer, both of your lives change. Sometimes, all they need is your companionship and support, but your actions can certainly go a long way. Encouraging words might help temporarily, but it’s what you do to make life easier and more manageable that counts the most.
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