Being diagnosed with cancer can come with a number of intense challenges and emotions to deal with. This period can be overwhelming for not only the patient but those around them as well. Having to try and cope with the emotions that can come with being diagnosed with cancer can often result in the patient forgetting that his cancer affects family and friends too. Loved ones are likely dealing with emotions and fear much the same as those of the patient.
How the diagnosis affects relationships depends on the relationship and each person’s individual coping style.
It is important to consider how your diagnosis affects those around you. Often, family therapy and in some instances group therapy is a great way to aid families in dealing with cancer as a unit.
Having been a caregiver for my mom and now my husband, I know what it feels like to feel unappreciated and taken for granted especially after giving up what you love in life to help care for a loved one. Unless you have cancer you cannot possibly understand the fear, pain, and anger.”Joniwriter CSN.Cancer.Org
How family Counseling Can Help
Family Counseling can help in sorting out many of the different challenges that families can go through when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. It is also a great way for families to learn coping tools together that will enable them to offer each other support during this period. Knowing how the next person feels is the first step to dealing with the emotions one is feeling. Counseling can help with:
- Learning to cope with the emotional reactions to cancer
- Help friends and family to sort through their own fears about the diagnosis
- Give family units the tools to strengthen bonds during this challenging time
- Help the family to prepare for what may lie ahead
“What struck her, as she struggled to cope in the weeks following, was how difficult it was for everyone around her to deal with her news. They all wanted to help, to say the right thing. Yet somehow, all too often, their best attempts at kindness proved more debilitating than comforting. The grim reality of cancer is that life, with all its myriad demands, continues: the dog still needs walking, the daily meals need preparing and dishing up. What can I do to help? you ask. Well, stand by, because the answer is: plenty.” What Can I Do To Help by Deborah Hutton
Tools for Families and Caregivers
Families and caregivers want to help and offer to support their loved ones during this challenging period. It is not uncommon that loved ones are so focused on caring for the patient that they overlook their own well-being. There are a number of tools, forums, and communities available for those dealing with a loved one, family member or friend with cancer. For example:
There are a number of support options for family members and caregivers. These include:
- Take care of yourself, maintain a good diet, get enough rest and maintain your own mental health
- Educate yourself on how best to assist the patient. Knowing what to expect can help you deal with and offer support for symptoms and side effects
- Consider joining support group or seeking out support from a therapist or other support resources
- Online communities and forums are also a great way to speak to like-minded people about dealing with the challenges