8 ways to help cancer patients are pulled out of different experiences with cancer patients and how loved ones supported to reaffirm they are not alone.
One thing that stood clear is that families and great friends often make it easier for people diagnosed with cancer to bear the suffering. For instance, they are there to help cancer patients navigate the complex medical information when they are too disturbed to reason. While chores and errands are done for them when they are too weak. Through helping, you shift their focus from pain with words of comfort, hope, and prayers. Importantly, families, friends, and coworkers of cancer patients assist them to manage the challenges that cancer brings. In doing this, you may find useful these 8 ways to help cancer patients.
Avoid Gloom And Doom Reaction
When people are diagnosed with cancer, death is the first thing that comes to mind. Although not all cancer cases end up in death. The issue is this. Ok sure you are afraid, but imagine what the cancer patient will be going through. Consequently, when you go to visit in the home, or in the hospital, avoid a gloom and doom reaction. Of course, we all know cancer is a big deal to handle. Even if it is glaring the cancer is terminal, you can continue to show empathy with an optimistic attitude. Avoid a sorrowful look, wear a happy face. Hence, the support should be phrased like “I know this may look bad. I am positive you can also beat this cancer, as you have beaten many challenges before”.
Accept Their Condition
Accept their condition. Don’t live in denial and pretend cancer doesn’t exist. For the reason that keeping quiet about it makes them feel even more lonely and alone. For example, some family members are afraid to talk or even mention it (cancer). This is simply out of the feeling that the topic is too emotional. And will make the cancer patient cry. However, it does more harm than good to keep silent. The best option is to accept their condition. Then talk about it sincerely and let it come from a place of love that says” I feel your pain and I am with you in this all the way”. This option will give some hope and reduce the cancer patient’s sadness.
Don’t Promise What You Can’t Do
When you hear someone close to you has cancer the tendency is to promise high heavens. Not that you don’t mean it, but second thoughts soon swing things into reality and you default on your promise. As such, it is important to refrain from making promises you can’t fulfill. In other words, try to offer help you can deliver on. Simply because you will feel bad, they will feel bad also.
There are times cancer patients need our help but may find it difficult to ask. Either they are reluctant to ask or maybe too troubled to know exactly what they need. On the other hand, some may require support early on in the treatment, and then the support increases as treatment progress. So when you have made up your mind to help, be precise. For example, you can put it this way: “Will you like me to bring you anything special for dinner on Sunday”?
Be Honest If You Can’t Take On A Request
Then again, it may be the other way round. That is the cancer patient may make a request like “Can you take my son to live with you for a while”? Be politely frank if you can’t take on that responsibility. Consequently, your response may go like this: “I am so sorry I won’t be able to take care of him because of my long hours at work”.
Then offer an equally great alternative. “But he can stay with my sister who is also fantastic with kids”. The point is to make a commitment you can deliver. In any case at times, merely visiting, and updating what’s going on, is what they really expect from you.
Don’t Share Their Physical State With Others
Have Heart-To-Heart Talk With Them
Many of us live in a society where there is plenty of optimism like the song “don’t worry be happy”. We are very good at looking at cups half full. “Stay in there! Don’t lose hope! You’ll be fine”. Unfortunately, people with cancer live between hope and despair. I remember those days when I used to visit my friend Mariam in the hospital battling stage 4 breast cancer. I was always upbeat for her sake, perhaps more for my sake. My positive attitude helped me retain my sanity somewhat.
Although once I was out of the hospital, my friend Mariam had no one to turn to. So yes, it is good to be upbeat, but I wished I had spent more time to really talk with her, listen to her fears and pain. And after, be reassuring even in the face of death. Believe me, they do need someone to talk to about what they are going through.
Give Message Of Hope
Remember it is important to give a message of hope. After all, without hope we have nothing. However, cancer patients may not feel there is hope even when you insist they should be hopeful and positive. Many may feel the battle against cancer is futile, whereas deep down they hang on to the possibility of survival. Therefore, one of the 8 ways to help cancer patients is not to go along the hopelessness route. Instead, allow them to share their burden with you and use that opportunity to support them through difficult times.
Help Maintain Their Dignity
Helping cancer patients maintain their self-worth is critical to their emotional health. The treatment of cancer frequently throws patients into feeling like their bodies have been ravaged so much they have little to offer to people they love. Therefore, as family, friends, or colleagues, our role is to remind cancer patients about their key roles as beloved mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, valued work colleagues, and neighbours.
It is also a fact that no matter how much you love a person with cancer, you can’t take their place. But what you can do is to make sure that you provide nutritious food. In addition you can be there to steady them when they stumble. And when their spirits are down, your tolerance, affection, and respect will motivate them to take one step at a time.
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