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Helping Your Loved One Face Cancer

Finding out that someone you love has cancer can be worse than hearing the diagnosis yourself. After all, while you won’t be waging the battle at the very front of the line, you will have to put a brave face on and provide strength and support when it’s needed the most. Chances are you’ll be doing so while also wrestling with your own fears, doubts and fatigue. With all that in mind here are some tips that can help you provide a strong shoulder to lean on while ensuring you, too, preserve the necessary energy to face what’s to come:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – If it’s your intent to attend medical appointments with your loved one, feel free to ask questions on your mind and on your love one’s behalf. Keep in mind, he or she is likely dealing with a whole lot of doubt and may not be able to fully articulate every question on the mind. If you’ve been invited in to the appointments with the oncologist, it is OK to ask away and get clarifications about the specific disease and stage, treatment plan, potential side effects and more. If you happen to be the primary caregiver during treatment, having the answers will become critical as the procedures progress.
  • Be firm, but understanding – If your loved one is undergoing chemotherapy and other more rigorous forms of treatment, chances are he or she will not be acting in typical form. Be understanding about the side effects, exercise patience with anticipated fatigue, but be firm in ensuring that doctor’s orders are followed.
  • Be kind to yourself – Do not forget to take time out for yourself. Your loved one is not likely to need you around the clock and you, too, must recharge your batteries. If you find it helpful, lean on a friend to share concerns with or look into a support group that can help you process the life-changing situation you are facing.

While cancer patients must face down the disease head on, they are often not alone in the struggle. If you are caring for a loved one facing this disease, there are ways you can help them stay on course while ensuring you’re taken care of, as well.

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