Understand What The Cancer Patient Is Facing
Adapted from COPEWITHCANCER.ORG
A cancer diagnosis instantly changes things. The cancer patient is not alone to face the emotional, spiritual, social, and physical challenges. People who suffer from fatigue have no energy at all and find it difficult to do simple every day tasks. For this reason it can affect the independence and quality of life of the individual. Everyone’s experience of cancer fatigue is different. It is important to know your current limits and not expect too much of yourself.
Fear of Death: Even when people are cured, they often still worry that the cancer may come back. This fear may fade over time. However, it’s important to allow your loved one a chance to talk about it. By simply listening, you can be a support to them.
Social Isolation: When a person is ill they may feel cut off from the rest of society and their usual friends. This may be because family and friends feel awkward about not knowing what to say or do, so they find it difficult to visit or get in touch.
How to Help
When you first learn that someone close to you has cancer, you may have many thoughts such as, ‘What if I say the wrong thing?’, ‘How do I talk to them?’ and ‘I don’t want to hurt them”.
The most important thing to realize is that there is no magic formula, phrase or approach that is the ’right’ thing to say or do in all circumstances and for all situations. There isn’t a right set of words or attitudes that will always help. It’s not a skill that everyone else but you has. If you want to help someone who’s facing a difficult time, just wanting to help and offering to be there for that person is what matters most. Most of us feel that we don’t know what to say. But the important thing is not what we say – it’s that we’re there and that we listen. When you understand the few simple rules of good listening, you’ll be a great help and support. Listening can help build a relationship between you both that allows you to be even more supportive and to know what your relative or friend needs.