How to Get Through Daily Life When a Loved One Has Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease that a lot of people have nowadays. Your neighbor, teacher, mom, dad, sibling or grandparent could have it. Believe me, I know the pain one feels when you find out a person you love has cancer. For me, that loved one is my grandfather. He has always been my favorite person in the whole world and when I found out about his cancer, I really couldn’t believe someone as amazing as him could have something so awful. Unfortunately, there’s no magic recipe that will cure that person or just make you forget about this disease. There isn’t a time machine that will take you to the past to help you fix everything. But of course, there are some things that will help you feel better on those terrible days when you start to think about that person’s illness.

 

Expectations of the cancer patient

Your loved one is going to have to endure some physical and emotional changes. In my experience, my grandfather feels really sad most days. There are a few reasons why he gets frustrated and why his mood borders on the negative: his hair loss, weight loss and the fact that he’s really weak and tired all the time.

Since we love him, my family and I constantly try to make him feel better. We watch movies with him, arrange his pillows and talk to him about anything he wants. Not everyone reacts the same way, of course. Some try to forget about their illness and try to live as ‘’normal’’ a life as possible, some try to make radical changes, and others experience constant mood swings. Every person has different coping mechanisms, and we need to try to understand what they’re going through.

 

Talk to someone

Image result for talk to someoneI’ve found that it’s really helpful to express your feelings aloud. Talk with a friend, partner, parent, sibling or psychologist. Looking for help to understand all your feelings is key to moving on with your life. I know how hard it can be to watch how the person affected changes from someone that used to be active all the time to someone that spaces out because they are in so much pain. That is why you need to process YOUR feelings first, so you can then try to help with your loved one’s emotions. It’s okay to ask yourself questions like, “What happens if they get worse?” or “How can I live if they don’t make it?”. I know some people might recommend you don’t think about these possibilities but… if you don’t deal with them, then you will not be able to help your loved one. Also, try to maintain a routine in your life. Continuing with some kind of “sense of normality’’ can help you cope with all of the changes that are happening around you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself just because you are caring for your loved one. Make sure to eat, sleep, and go to the doctor if you are not feeling well.

 

Support your loved one

Our first instinct when wanting to support our loved ones is to do things for them. Your loved one needs help, but don’t try to do everything for them unless they ask for it. You need to respect their decision to keep their routine and do their own errands. This is very important for cancer patients. Doing everything for them chips away at their will to live.

It’s normal to feel helpless when watching a loved one go through this, but we could just try our best to assist them IF they want the help. Don’t just start helping them with basic things like standing up, they might want to do that themselves. Be subtle about it. Ask if you can take them to the doctor or simply cook and do the laundry. Another thing we could do is be there for them whenever they need us. They might need someone to talk to whenever they feel down. Let them know you’ll be there, but don’t feel bad if they don’t want to talk about their cancer. The two most important things of all are that you make them laugh and tell them you love them. There’s no such thing as saying “I love you” too much.

 

Spend time with your loved one

The final step to feeling more at ease about your loved one’s disease is to be with them as much as you can. Being with them and enjoying some time with them can help the cancer patient but it can also help you. Try going out to eat if they are feeling okay, watching a movie together, listening to some music and taking a lot of pictures. Even though we don’t want to think about it, your loved one could possibly lose the fight. You should try to be with them as much as you can because if something were to happen, you would not want to regret not hanging out with them or not having more memories with them.

 

Cancer is still going to be something you worry about when your loved one has it, but maybe doing these things will help you to not think about it as much. If you need additional help or support, call The Macmillan Support Line for free on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8 am - 8 pm). Stay strong.

 

 

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