Cancer is a life-threatening disease that affects millions of people around the world. It can be a traumatic condition, and many patients rely on the courage and support from their loved ones to overcome this trauma.
Learn how to help your loved one cope with cancer and the changes it involves.
Helping your loved one cope with cancer
Understand the diagnosis thoroughly
Knowing about the type of cancer your loved one has will help them cope more than you think. Many myths and misconceptions surround cancer and its treatment, making it highly essential that you speak to your doctor, and get the right information.
You should get the proper information from your doctor about the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, whether it has spread to other parts of the body, whether a specialist doctor is required for cancer treatment, and the chances of survival. It is always best that you accompany your loved one when they go for a consultation. This way you can clear all your doubts.
Understand the treatment procedure
Once the diagnosis is made, you should get information from the doctor about the treatment plan. You should ask about the type of treatment, the benefits and risk of the procedure, whether hospitalization is required or not, and how long will the treatment last. This will help in getting a clear picture of the future so that your loved one, as well as yourself, can be prepared
Be prepared for physical changes
Some treatments, such as chemotherapy, have many side effects. Check with the doctor about the possible side effects of the treatment. This will help all of you to be mentally prepared for the change.
If there is hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, then you can encourage your loved one to use a wig. If the treatment leaves scars or marks on the body, then the patient can be encouraged to cover it up through proper dressing.
Be prepared for changes in daily routine
Depending on the severity of the case, the doctor might ask the patient to stay in the hospital for a specified period. In this case, the patient may not be able to attend office and continue with the routine work.
Similarly, you will also have to spend time with them in the hospital when they undergo treatment. Both of you should apply for a leave of absence ahead of time, and make an alternate arrangement to carry out the work.
Try to keep things normal
Once the treatment period is over and the patient is recuperating at home, try to keep things normal for them. Do not prevent them from doing things that they enjoy just because of their illness. If they like to cook and if they have the energy to do the same, encourage them to do it. This can distract them from their illness, and help them not feel worse about their condition.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Cancer treatment can physically and mentally exhausting, not just for the patient but also for you. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle help both of you cope with the difficult time. Encourage the patient to consume a balanced diet according to the doctor’s advice. The patient should also be asked to take adequate rest whenever he feels tired.
Exercising regularly also helps to boost the mood, and bring in a positive attitude. Both of you can go walking or jogging, depending on the physical condition of the person. Always remember to consult with the doctor before making any lifestyle change.
Do not hesitate to ask for help. For example, if your friends are ready to prepare meals for you or even look after the kids, accept it. This way you will not be completely stressed out and will have the much-needed energy to look after the patient.
Indulge in activities that make the patient happy
Keeping the mind occupied is very important in treating chronic diseases like cancer. Encourage the patient to indulge in activities that make them happy. It can be anything like reading, craft work, or gardening. This helps to distract them from their thoughts, calm their mind, and create a positive attitude.
Share your feelings
Do not be afraid to talk to your friends about your fears and concerns about the disease. They will be able to provide you with unbiased opinions and suggestions that can help you overcome the fear. But do not share your concerns in front of the patient. This might create a fear factor in the patient, which can have a negative effect.
For more information
Learn to help your loved one cope when they need it most. For more information, contact MississippiCare at (866) 608-1834 to speak with a healthcare professional.