After your initial shock and sadness, remember it’s not about you

Have you just received the news that a loved one has cancer? I’ve been there. The words that come to mind are devastation, fear and loss.

If, like most people, you associate cancer with suffering that leads to death, it’s no wonder that you might feel a cocktail of hard-to-manage emotions when someone close to you receives a cancer diagnosis.

This emotional cocktail can prevent you from truly being there for your loved one. Yet there are things that you can do to shift your mindset so that you can be there for the person that you love.

Imagine that, instead of being distracted by your emotional reaction, you are present with them, focussed on helping them through their healing journey – savouring every moment together!

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Here are seven coping tips for how to deal with your loved one’s cancer diagnosis:

  1. After your initial shock and sadness, remember it’s not about you. It’s about how you can be there for your loved one.
  2. Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s diagnosis. Each person and diagnosis is unique. But don’t become the expert who knows best. Allow your loved one to make their own decisions and choices and support what they decide – at the end of the day, it’s their (and their medical team’s) decision. Support that.
  3. Make time when possible to go with them to their treatments or appointments to show your support. It’s scary for them, so be the strong one. You might be pleasantly surprised to experience how their courage and strength carry you.
  4. Know what your loved one needs and wants. Make healthy, homemade meals that they can grab out the freezer when you are at work. Find out what they can eat and drink and offer to make or buy some of it for the times they have no energy to get to a shop or prepare a meal.
  5. Let them know that you are thinking of them. Know when their next treatment is – and show your interest. Follow up after the treatment and check in on how they are doing. Send short text messages that they can read when they have time.
  6. If you have young children, offer to help with the kids. Kids have the right to know what’s wrong with their mom or dad, so clarify any uncertainty and help them to understand what is wrong in a gentle way.
  7. Keep faith and hope, and don’t forget to shower your partner with love! After all, love itself is a powerful medicine.

Article courtesy of Ilze Alberts. For more from Ilze, click here.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.