We all know that cancer has a fear factor attached to its name. People find it hard to deal with or say anything related to this C-word. If you have a friend who might have been diagnosed with cancer and you are unsure how to help him or her out. Or, if you don’t know what you should say to make them feel at home, then it is quite understandable. But the good thing is the more you strive and feel, the more things will become clearer.
We all need friends and family to support us not just during our cancer journey but through all the ups and downs of our life. Cancer patients need the utmost care and support to help them cope emotionally. The uncertainty is very debilitating and grinding for anyone. The person undergoing the treatment has to maintain her or his mental well-being which is not so easy. But the support and care can work wonders. Love and support can heal them both emotionally and make them ready for the treatment plan.
Emotional and psychosocial effects of cancers
It’s pretty apparent to be flooded with all types of feelings after being recognized with most cancers. One may be shocked, sad, lonely, angry, guilty, and desperate.
Cancer is a loss for maximum people. One can lose their fitness. Even body or face looks may also change. Family relationships also can change. One may even get financial or personal setbacks. All these can have a negative impact on the mental health of any individual.
What can you do to help your friend?
Your friend might be in a cesspool of emotions and stress about how to deal with the ongoing situation. So, you shouldn’t do anything without thinking about it. There are many ways to make your friend less burdened and optimistic about their situation. Let’s talk about a few of them here.
Paying a visit
The first thing that comes to mind is to meet them in person and see how they are doing. But you should ask your friend first rather than throwing them a surprise. If you get a no then you shouldn’t mind. You can wait for them to be ready to for your visit. Even if you visit them, don’t burden them by staying for too long and making them entertain you. Be wise and just let them know that you are there for them.
Help them with their daily tasks
It is very hard for anyone to ask for help for small errands and daily tasks. They might struggle to turn to you for these. But if you can help them with daily chores then it will help them a lot. You can assist them by bringing the grocery, dropping their kids to school, or kitchen chores, doing laundry, etc.
This is a great way to support them.
Listen to them
You can ask your friend to express themselves freely. Start by expressing that you are sorry. If you feel awkward or don’t know what to say, then say that too. It’s okay to be like this. But be sure to say things sincerely and help your friend to let out their thoughts and emotions. Help your friend to focus on the positive things rather than the negative things. You should be watchful and sensitive to your friend’s feelings. If your friend is uncomfortable about any topic then you should stop discussing it.
Gifts and foods
We like to express our care and support with food and gifts. You might consider doing the same. Although these seem like a perfect way to cheer your friend, you should always reconsider before giving any gifts. Your friend might not be in a condition to take all kinds of foods. So, you prepare the meals according to her or his diet. If you are unsure then don’t give them food.
Same goes for the gifts too. Make sure that the gift you are giving them doesn’t add to their worries. Like flowers might cause an allergic reaction in cancer patients owing to their weakened immune system after certain cancer treatments. Plus, you should think about how the person might feel after receiving your gift. Does your gift make them happy or it may hurt them?
Come up with a gift after giving careful thoughts like what would cheer up your friend. Consider things that will be meaningful and may inspire your friend in the long run. Or, you do the fun things that your friend likes to do.
Don’t compare their illness
Everyone’s cancer journey is different and every cancer patient is battling a different kind of cancer. So, never compare your friend’s illness with someone else’s. You should not say things like that XYZ had the same kind of illness and recovered very fast. Saying such kinds of things might not be helpful.
Don’t forget the caregivers
Caregivers of your friend just like your friend are under a lot of stress. They also require care and support. You should understand that they are someone who ride two boats at a time. They have to care for the sick while performing their responsibility, jobs, and daily tasks. These all can be exhausting. You might try to lessen their burden by offering them help. You can help them with the daily tasks like shopping, babysitting, etc. Share their hospital time so that they can relax a bit.
Continue helping out
Your friend will need your care and support all throughout the treatment and even during recovery. Don’t think that they need your support just for a few days after the diagnosis. We often flood our support at the beginning which might not remain like that. Just try to help them all along their cancer journey. Continuing with your support will have a long-lasting effect and your friendship will surely deepen the bond between you and your friend.