Cancer can be a total game-changer and cause significant alterations in not just the life of the person diagnosed with cancer but also their family and friends. To grasp the situation and adapt to the changes can be challenging for the loved ones of a cancer patient. If you are experiencing a situation wherein you truly want to be supportive towards a loved one diagnosed with cancer and are grappling, these tips from knowledgeable doctors, nurses and consultants at Apollo Diagnostics would be extremely helpful.
Listen, don’t just hear– More often than not, cancer patients just want a hearing ear. They appreciate someone who would just listen to them share about their cancer, the diagnosis, treatment. It may take a while for the fact that they are suffering from cancer to sink in. This would stir feelings of insecurity and frustration which they want to speak about and want someone to just listen. They are not seeking solutions but just pouring their heart out. Rather than saying it’ll be fine, just say we’ll work it out. Even if it’s just an hour a day, your empathetic listening could make that one hour they most look forward to all day.
Accept their decisions without judgment – Through the course of treatment, they would have to take calls regarding the treatment. Since they know about the condition and factors that influence it better than anyone else, respect their choices. It is natural that out of love you research extensively on cancer treatments but it is not your place to take the call. Appreciate that the patient’s decision comes after lot of deliberation considering aspects which may be unknown to you. Not implementing your suggestion is no reason to turn your back. Your loved one always needs you by their side while a disease as terminal as cancer.
Offer advice only when solicited– It is quite obvious that when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer you would go all out in your educating yourself about the cancer. However, it is wise to not bombard the cancer patient with latest information regarding the diagnosis or trends in treatments. This isn’t the time for fun facts or trivia, just show your solidarity without being overbearing. If asked for opinions or advice be objective and concise while speaking up. Also sharing stories of others’ treatment experiences is avoidable unless asked.
Indulge in a range of conversation subjects and activities – Your friend is already overwhelmed by the physical treatment and well-intentioned advice from all and sundry. They need a breather from constant cancer conversation. Chat up like before, share friendly gossip, discuss fashion, TV shows, music, movies, recipes just as you used to pre-cancer. You may think you are taking extra good care of them by doing all their chores like dishes and laundry while they may want to do it themselves to feel normal. Observe if they can manage and allow them to do it unless they are forthright in requesting for help. Just be around, lend a helping hand when needed and keep conversations light, silly and show the love rather than say it.
Always invite them to your plans – While making plans don’t assume that they may be unable to join or enjoy because of their condition. The best way of showing camaraderie is letting a sense of normalcy prevail. Continue to invite them to the movies, a lunch date, book club or other outings and activities as you always used to. Let them take the call if they are up to it, if they do refuse do not push too much.
Battling a cancer is in itself a herculean task, but having your loved ones stand by you, day and night, rain or shine, can help conquer the battle. The key is to keep things the way they were pre-cancer and before you know it, your loved one would have surmounted the cancer being ever so grateful for your support.