When someone is diagnosed with a vicious disease such as cancer, most people go into shock mode or become emotional and some enter depression. Being a cancer specialist who deals with cancer diagnosis on a daily, I too still feel a bit emotional when hearing the news of a loved one or patient whom I have no personal ties with. The question still remains; how does one move on during and after a cancer diagnosis?
As a professional I could say based on the stats of that particular cancer type and its’ stage, they may or may not be “OK” and prepare them for what’s ahead. Or on the other hand from a personal stand point, having dealt with multiple cancer diagnosis in my family; it’s a much tougher pill to swallow. You really have to take everything one day at a time, despite what the statistics report.
After a person falls ill we tend to think “awe poor fella, hope they feel better” and or rush to their aid, but there’s another thing we must remember and that is the well being of their caretaker. I’m aware of the major issues a cancer patient maybe dealing with many wouldn’t understand, so is the caregiver physically and emotionally. Depending on the situation a caretaker could be anyone from a spouse to significant other, child, cousin, sibling, friend or professional caretaker.
I remember some years back; one of my uncles was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer that affects blood plasma cells in the bone. I went to visit him and my aunt for the weekend. He wasn’t able to walk a lot on his own so, he used a walker to help him get around. I brought a few board games just to take his mind off the pain temporarily. We even played a few rounds of Bid Whist, my aunt taught me how to play while I was there. As the time passed, I sat my aunt down and ask how she was doing being that she’s my uncle primary caregiver. She paused for a moment and replied “You’re the first person to ever ask me that and I appreciate that you’re concerned with my feelings & well being.”
I mentioned that story because often times we forget that caretakers are having a rough time as well. From traveling back and forth with their loved ones to appointments, to getting them dressed, preparing meals, helping them to the bathroom, missing work, paying the bills, making sure they have proper insurance coverage. I mean, who wants to see their loved one suffering with the lost of their hair, lost feeling in their fingers/toes and constant weakness?
The list of concerns that a caregiver deals with on a daily goes on and on. I will discuss more of them in detail at a later date.
I don’t feel that its intentional behavior, but we sometimes over look them for various reasons. A cancer diagnosis doesn’t affect just that person, but everyone in their circle.
It only takes a few seconds out of your day to pick up the phone or send a text message with a cute emoji attached or even mail a “thinking of you’” card. I’m not asking or suggesting that we put our lives on hold, but to show them they are important as well. I promise you that small jester will go a long way in that individual’s mind body and soul.
We must remind them that they are not in this battle alone. WE too are here, care and ready to fight!