When you receive a cancer diagnosis, it’s devastating to both you and your loved ones. You undoubtedly have many questions, and you’re bound to experience various emotions as your process your condition and undergo treatment.
Your friends and family are an important part of your support system. It’s likely your spouse and/or your children are going to be very involved in your care; in fact, after your physicians and other treatment providers, perhaps no one else will play a greater role in your treatment and recovery.
Because caregiving is often a full-time job, and one your loved ones gladly take on in addition to their normal responsibilities, it comes with a unique set of challenges. While you need to focus on your needs and recovery post treatment, you can do some things to help your caregivers give you what you need while avoiding exhaustion.
Give Them Something To Do
It’s common for loved ones to feel helpless post diagnosis, and not know how they can help. Perhaps in the future they may need to be involved in direct care, but in the short term after the diagnosis, they may struggle for purpose. Ask your loved ones to research brain cancer treatment centers, for example, or to research new and emerging treatments. Ask for help keeping track of your appointments or for help taking notes during consultations.
Communicate Your Needs
Your loved ones may respond to your diagnosis by going into “help overload.” As a result, you might feel overwhelmed or even more helpless — and end up lashing out at him or her. Speak to your caregiver and communicate your needs. What do you need help with, and what can you handle on your own? What do you want your caregiver to do for you? Be honest, and understand your loved one just wants to help.
Chances are your loved one knows you appreciate his or her efforts, but it’s always nice to hear. Make a point of showing gratitude for their efforts and acknowledging their hard work.
Spend Time Together — and Forget About the Cancer
It may sound impossible to forget about something as all-encompassing as cancer, but caregiving experts argue the patient and the caregiver should “take a break” every so often to do something together and not think or talk about the disease for a short time. If you are feeling well enough, a weekend away can do wonders for reviving the spirit; if you’re not feeling well, watching a funny movie or taking a drive can allow you to spend time connecting with each other. Doing so is a reminder of who you both are aside from the disease, and allows you to rest and recharge.
A cancer diagnosis affects the entire family, and without effective communication and support, can lead to frustration, hurt feelings and burnout. As the patient, consider your caregiver’s needs as well as your own — and you’ll successfully face your disease together. For more tips on how to handle this, consult with the kind staff at the Pasadena CyberKnife Center today and get back to what is important in your life.