Cancer has never been a voluntary walk but when you are in it, you have to walk it through. It would be a period of confusion, anger, loss and emptiness. It is disheartening to know there is a fair chance one would have to give it all up- your happiness, your hopes, your dreams and above all the nagging thought of having to embrace the unwelcome goodbye. To add to the wound, what is harder is to see your loved one fight it. While it indeed is a rough walk, there are ways to make things at least a little bit easier for them when cruel cancer strokes him/her:
10. Be The Helping Hand
It is taxing enough having to win this fight, with a million questions, doubts and responsibilities revolving in their heads. So let us do our bit and take the extra load off their shoulders. Offer to do their chores, babysit their kids and/or take care of their pets for them. If they have to be treated and living in the hospital, you could walk the extra mile and make a little collage of their home,kids and pets and show it to them, keeping them updated and making them feel more at home.
9. Be the bringer
When your friend or a dear one is going through cancer do your part to bring them stolen moments of happiness. Check with them regarding their prescribed dietary plans and cook dinner for them and share the meal together. You could also cook little smiles on their lips with small notes, gifts or anything they are bound to brighten up over. If you know they would love it,then arrange a little meeting with their friends or an author or someone they admire a lot. Even starting and ending your visits with a warm hug or a small kiss would send a current of warmth to their hearts.
8. Do their research
For those who have gone through cancer or experienced a dear one face it, it is obvious how crowded and stressful the period will be and how everything has to be looked into minutely and planned. Save them some stress and decide that all researches such as the best doctors to consult, hospitals, treatment plans, medicines,excercises etc will be carried out by you. Browse the internet or check with people who are bound to know better than you regarding the required researches. Chip in the details and concise it for your friend. This would save them the extra torture of having to dig in and map out their future medical life as well.
7. Keep their creases at bay
It’s natural to be too caught up with the present worries but don’t let them forget their laughter. Staying happy and optimistic is an important point to winning this fight. If you have known the person long enough, bring up old albums, songs they love, old videos, etc. And when things seem too full of medicines, hospitals and treatment help them have a break and take a night out from the stress and pain and have a good movie time together. Let their laughs resonate their ears. Give them the medicine only a friend can and make them stronger.
6. Never budge the pain
It sure is not welcoming to talk of unpleasant things but take the braver step and let them talk it out. Be patient and listen to them, their fears, their pain, their doubts and concerns. Ignoring the unpleasant or not talking about it will only let the pain grow inside. From the frying pan into the fire?
5. Give them the initiative
Bring out the brighter side in them. Ask them to write- be it a blog, a book, random essays etc and keep a tab on their writings. Let me chip in incident of my friend whose relative was going through cancer. They encouraged her to take the initiative into gardening and she converted whatever time and energy she could spare into her gardening and eventually won the battle and aced the initiative she was given. You could also visit them with books,read out newspapers to them, have discussions with them on various topics, bring out their opinions and the like. Make them feel as much involved as you can.
4. Plan tomorrows
What is life if we have no tomorrow to look forward to? Is not this invisible hope that which sustains us all? So instill the same into you friend/dear ones as well. Give them the hope to believe in their tomorrows. Do not hesitate to make plans, be it big or small. Check with them and make plans to do things they like and love. If they are up for it, go out on a small walk and let them grab some fresh air. It would also help, even if it is only in small ways, that you ended your notes, visits, or phone calls with a ‘ see you tomorrow ‘ ‘until my next visit’ etc. This would automatically instil in them a hope for tomorrow and look forward.
3. Be flexible
While it is great to make plans and make them feel active it is also crucial to carry them forward only if they are healthy enough. There would be umpteen times where a show booked or an outing planned will have to be cancelled at the last minute. This could be due to a sudden illness or plainly because they do not feel up for it. Have the patience to accept that and to not get irritated about it. We all make plans and most of it die out halfway. This outing or plan is for them. Always remember that.
2. Give them their space
It is well and good that we do everything to make this walk better for them and it is also natural for us to expect them to feel our efforts and the happiness we try to instill in them, but we should know that sometimes they would prefer their space, their ‘me’ time. Not everyone wants to be happy all the time and sometimes sadness helps too. Accepting the pain, the reality and the effects of the illness would help them better in fighting cancer than trying to to escape it by attempting to be happy all the time. There would be times of blues, brooding and isolation from them. Accept them as they want to be and let them know you are just round the corner if they need a shoulder.
1. Process and digest it all for yourself first
Before you set out to be their beacon of hope there is one really crucial thing you ought to make right first- your mind. You need to have it all sorted for yourself before you be there for them. If it is someone whom you love dearly that has cancer, it would unwind you badly. You need to pull yourself together, talk to yourself that it is not the end. You need to know that it is only if you have come to terms with it and is hopeful can you be able to reflect the same onto him/her. You need to be their saviour, you need to be their strength here. Once you have come to terms with it, convey the same to them. Never wait for the perfect words or way to tell them this for we often fail to have them with loved ones. Hold their hands, give an understanding smile, be their silent presence.
Cancer is equally tiring for the patient and his/her loved ones. But turn the tables over and convert this really trying time into an opportunity for the both of you to grow- more into the relationship and as individuals. Living through it is hard, but not impossible.
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