Photo by Hipolito Alonso
Giving emotional support to a loved one with cancer is not easy. There is just nothing simple about it. Of, course you want to be there for your loved one, but at the same time, it hurts. Keep in mind that your strength will make them even stronger.
Just how do you give support and how do you give it without breaking down?
Listen With You Heart, and Not Your Ears
When your loved one talks about their cancer, listen. Really listen. Sometimes, it is not what you say, it is what you do. Listening is one of the best ways to show you care. If your loved one wants to rant and rave about how unfair life is or whatever is on his or her mind, let it be. We need to have emotional outbursts every once in a while to vent our feelings. Knowing they have a shoulder to cry on is such a comfort.
Don't Show Any Denial You May Be Feeling
It's normal to be in disbelief. After all, misdiagnosis' have been made. Encourage a second opinion, if he or she has just been diagnosed but for the right reasons. Encouraging thoughts that their cancer may not be, allows the patient to go into the mindset they they really don't have cancer. Many people do not go through treatment as soon as they should because of false hopes.
Limit How Often You Say "It's Going To Be Alright."
If you knew how many times a cancer patient hears that in one day, you wouldn't say it at all. When cancer patients hear phrases like that, one of the first things they ask themselves is, "What if it's not okay", or "How do you know?". Instead of trying to reassure that everything will be fine, reinforce that they will make it through cancer.
Normalcy Is Very Important
Don't feel like you can't talk about what is going on in your life, good or bad, in front of your friend or loved one. You may feel like your life is mediocre compared to having cancer, but it's so important to act as normal as you can. It is common for cancer patients to feel like invalids, even when they are fully functional. People begin treating them differently immediately upon hearing of their diagnosis. But, normalcy is the key to coping.
The secret to supporting is in these tips. There are also 4 L's to remember when caring for a loved one: Listening, Learning, Loving and most of all Laughter.
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