This Cancer Day – Let’s Support Someone
Everyone dreams of the day when cancer will only be a zodiac sign and nothing more. Everyone dreams of the day when every pain or diagnosis is not cancer. Everyone dreams of the day when cancer will be a history, and people will look up for survivors as heroes of a deadly battle. Sadly, today is not that day! On the 4th of February, every year is remembered to be the World Cancer Day; this international awareness day was led by the Union for International Cancer Control to raise worldwide attention and inspire action for a cancer-free future. It is not surprising to know that everyone has someone who had and has cancer, and they don’t know how to go through it or how to deal with such a situation.
Whenever someone is diagnosed with cancer, we never get to know how overwhelmed they are as they don’t know how to ask for help or what to ask for, but what is certain is that they do need help and support. If you happen to have a friend or family member or acquaintance with cancer and you want to help them, then don’t make the mistake of asking a vague, questionably-sincere offer, like “call me when you need me.” It is important to know that they will need you to be there EVERY single time, so just be there!
To make their life a bit easier by anticipating their needs and giving much-needed support. Here is a list of things that you can do for them and make their day.
1. Help them with the grocery shopping – Order their grocery online and have them delivered. If you don’t know what they need, then ask them their list of groceries. Be sure to do that on a regular basis.
2. Help them with keeping their household intact – Cook, clean, mow the lawn, wash the laundry and dishes, make sure the bills are paid, get the kids dressed for schools, walk the dog, and do all of the things that the person in cancer treatment would typically do to keep their life going on for the rest of the family.
3. Visit them regularly – Unless you are staying with them, make it a habit to visit them regularly so that they don’t feel left out. Be there for them until they tell you, as cancer patients struggle a lot with fatigue. If you stay with them, then be the one who brings the tea or coffee and gossips.
4. Be humble – If possible, give the primary caregiver a break as you know they have to deal with a lot. Go with the patients to the doctors’ appointment instead of the caregiver. Help out with the kids or pets and organize their medications or send the spouse on medication duty. This will help the caregiver the energy to keep going. By driving the patient to the appointments and making sure that they go to each checkup and scans, you will be of great help to them. It is quite often that cancer patients go through a lot of anxiety even years after their treatment. Remember a friendly face and someone to talk to can make a huge difference.
5. Write down – Remember to take notes during the appointments or when the doctor stops by in the hospital. During their treatment, a patient’s memories can be foggy, and the amount of information received can be overwhelming. Take notes to ensure they have they might need later on.
6. Prepare meals at home – It is better to have food at home than take-outs unless they want to be pampered. To make it even more interesting, you can organize with a bunch of friends and family to bring and share their foods until the patient recovers.
7. Listen to them – Sit with them and listen. Don’t offer any advice or recommendations unless asked. Listen to the patient’s concerns, acknowledge that cancer sucks, and offer a shoulder for them to cry on. If someone does not like to talk, then just be there with them physically, it plays an important role in doing so.
8. Let the music be – It is said that music heals, so let it be! Play an instrument, make a playlist, or turn on some tunes. Music will surely help them in relaxing and taking their minds off cancer.
9. Stay connected – If you are far away from the patient, then do make sure that you are connected to him or her virtually. Send texts, emails, cards, or call them almost every day. Let them know that you are thinking of them.
10. Gift them something – Don’t be afraid to bring something for them. Give them a gift or card with instructions to open each morning. This is a great way to make them feel that they are special and remembered in many ways.
11. Be normal – Most cancer patients do not want to be treated differently just because they have cancer. Talk to your friend or loved one normally. Tell jokes and gossip about everything like you used to do.
It is important to know that cancer treatment can go on for years, and it is a never-ending path for your friend or loved one, so be patient with them. Remember, the post-treatment period can be difficult as some people do go through PTSD, and in such times, it is essential that you offer them your constant support. Cancer changes people, but it should not change you.