How to Be a Friend to Someone with Cancer
When chemotherapy is part of your treatment for lung cancer, palliative care can manage side effects such as nausea, vomiting, pain, fatigue, constipation and diarrhea, depression and insomnia. Radiation therapy for lung cancer sometimes makes it difficult to eat and causes pain and fatigue. Palliative care teams treat all of these symptoms. It may help to take some time and discuss the people in your life with your spokesperson and talk about ways to gently but firmly set the boundaries you need in order to surround yourself with those people who will help you enjoy your last days to the fullest.
When you're the family member or friend of someone who receives a terminal diagnosis, life as you know it can change overnight. We asked people who have been through it themselves—sometimes on multiple occasions—to share their advice for navigating these difficult times. Try to live as normally as possible If you have some time with your loved one, spend it wisely.
We continued family gatherings, went out to dinner, and did as much as we were able to. Even when Mike could no longer ride his horses, his friends would take him wheelchair and all to the stables so that how to treat cold sores on face could at least enjoy them.
Spread the word appropriately "Remember that this is their diagnosis and you need to respect their wishes," says Staci Torgeson, whose mom has Stage IV lung cancer. Brody Fleet says, "Regardless of your relationship to the patient, you must always ask permission before spreading the word, particularly on social media. They may be bombarded and overwhelmed with well-wishers—all with good intentions—but it can be a lot to absorb. Ask questions "Don't try how to create mobile apps in asp.net be a mind reader," says Liz O'Donnell, whose mother died of ovarian cancer and whose father is battling Alzheimer's.
Ask them, if they seem willing to discuss it, how they want to die. Ask them what they're worried about," she says. They may be worried about treatments or pain management. Don't impose your opinion. Everyone will how to set ntfs permissions server 2008 to their diagnosis differently, so it's essential to respect their wishes and not foist your own feelings upon them.
Laura Sobiech, who lost her son Zach to osteosarcoma, says, "Any question or statement that starts with 'have you tried,' 'you should try' or 'you should go,' was not helpful. Too often people wanted to make themselves feel better by giving us 'advice' on how to deal with Zach's illness.
Just acknowledge what they are saying to you. Really listen Emily Kaplowitz, who works for The Fixler Foundationan organization dedicated to supporting people faced with a life-threatening illness, stresses the importance of being an active listener. Remember that these are the last conversations you will have. Focus on the inflections of their speech and the funny stories they tell. This is what you'll want to remember.
Provide real support Kaplowitz, who has lost her mother and two friends, says the key to lending a hand is to be specific. These things are profoundly more effective than a pity party. Discuss logistical matters If a loved one only has a short time left to live, do what you can to help them get their affairs in order. But if the opposite is true, don't rush the conversation.
Harvey advises letting the patient dictate the amount of future planning—such as wills and estate matters—they are willing to discuss or able to tolerate: "Keep it all in a folder, with an agenda sheet in front, to allow the patient to review the documents at their comfort, if possible.
Don't encourage false hope Brody Fleet stresses the importance of not downplaying the situation or creating false hope.
I am glad we talked about it; it made my decisions that much easier to bear. Divide up the responsibilities "Every family member isn't cut out for every job," says Tracee Dunblazier, who has lost her mother, father, and stepfather.
She posts updates on a Facebook page she created, but says someone at your kids' school or your office can get the message out to their respective communities. Wendy Marantz Levine, who lost her sister to a degenerative neuromuscular disease, says, "When people expect calls back or constant updates, it can be overwhelming.
You need to focus on the person who is sick and their immediate family, not be taking care of everyone else," she says. Help them maintain their dignity Berlin says, "Cancer can change the body, but the person is still there.
Don't make a big deal about what bodily functions may change as the illness progresses. It's degrading to act as though their privacy and dignity no longer matter. Don't stay away "I wish people hadn't stayed away or avoided calling because they thought they were intruding," says Tronstein, who lost her father to lung cancer just six weeks after he was diagnosed.
Pauls Backman says, "Initially, the outpouring of support was wonderful, but as my mom's disease progressed and got very ugly, some people got uncomfortable. Fewer and fewer people visited or called.
I wish more had taken the time to write her, since she couldn't communicate verbally. But several months down the road is when the reality of the loss really settled in and I needed people the most. But friends and family, maybe thinking I was okay, went on with their lives and stopped their regular contact.
Allow yourself to grieve before you attempt to heal "The healing process is difficult and never ends," says Loven, "but don't ignore your feelings. Allow yourself how to help someone with terminal lung cancer grieve the loss, to cry and be angry and work through the emotions. If you don't, it will come back to bite you at some point. Be gentle with yourself and know that there is no 'best' way. Weight Loss.
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Some ways caregivers can provide comfort to a person with these worries are listed below: Keep the person company. Talk, watch movies, read, or just be with him or her. Allow the person to express fears and concerns about dying, such as leaving family and friends behind. Be prepared to Be willing. Suggested ideas: Get a list of tasks. Organize friends, neighbors, and co-workers to help complete the tasks on a regular, weekly basis. Make lunch for your friend and their caregiver one day a week. If your friend is getting chemo, ask what they feel like Clean your friend’s home for an hour. Here are some suggestions to get you started: Shop for groceries and pick up prescriptions. Help with chores around the house. Cook dinner and drop it off. Ask about dietary restrictions beforehand. Schedule a night of takeout food and movies together. Baby-sit children, take them to and from school.
During this time they often need help, support, and encouragement. Many studies have found that cancer survivors with strong emotional support tend to better adjust to the changes cancer brings to their lives, have a more positive outlook, and often report a better quality of life. Research has shown that people with cancer need support from friends.
You can make a big difference in the life of someone with cancer. As you spend time with your friend and learn more about how cancer is affecting their everyday life, keep your eyes open for other things you can offer. See how your friend responds to different activities, and know that the situation may change as treatment goes on. Tailoring your help to what they need and enjoy most is the best way to be a friend.
Here we will give you some ideas about where to start. Show that you still care for your friend despite changes in what they can do or how they look. Cancer can be very isolating. Try to spend time with your friend — you may be a welcome distraction and help them feel like they did before cancer became a major focus of their life.
Try to hear and understand how your friend feels. Many people want to help friends facing a difficult time. Keep in mind that wanting to help and offering to be there for your friend is what matters most. Some people find it hard to accept support — even when they need it.
Look for small, practical things your friend may need or just enjoy. Think about what their average day is like and what might make it a little better. Everyone, no matter how strong, can benefit from having a friend. Your friend with cancer needs you and your support. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy. Download this topic [PDF]. Send brief, frequent notes or texts, or make short, regular calls. Ask questions. Call at times that work best for your friend or set times for them to call you.
Return their messages right away. Check in with the person who helps with their daily care caregiver to see what else they might need. What you can do: Visits Cancer can be very isolating. Always call before you visit. Schedule a visit that allows you to give physical and emotional support for the caregiver, too. Maybe you can arrange to stay with your friend while the caregiver gets out of the house for a couple of hours. Make short, regular visits rather than long, infrequent ones.
Understand that your friend might not want to talk, but they may not like being alone either. Begin and end the visit with a touch, a hug, or a handshake. Be understanding if the family asks you to leave. Always refer to your next visit so your friend can look forward to it. Try to visit at times other than weekends or holidays, when others may visit. Time can seem the same to a house-bound patient.
A Tuesday morning can be just as lonely as a Saturday night. Take your own needlework, crossword puzzle, or book, and keep your friend company while they doze or watch TV. Share music they enjoy, watch their favorite TV show, or watch a movie with your friend. Read sections of a book or newspaper, or find topics of interest online and summarize them for your friend.
Offer to take a short walk with your friend if they are up to it. Help your friend focus on whatever brings out good feelings, such as sports, religion, travel, or pets.
Suggest new ways to be more comfortable, such as using more pillows or moving the furniture. Allow them to be negative, withdrawn, or silent. Resist the urge to change the subject. Be sure to include your friend when talking to others in the room.
Assume that your friend can hear you even if they seem to be asleep or dazed. Some people feel guilty over those things.
Ask your friend questions. Ask for their advice and opinions. What you can do: Errands and projects Many people want to help friends facing a difficult time. Take care of any urgent errands your friend or the caregiver needs right away.
Your friend may appreciate it more if you take care of frequent, scheduled errands, rather than fewer ones that take a lot of time. Look for ways to help on a regular basis. Plan projects in advance and start them only after talking with the caregiver.
Suggested ideas: Get a list of tasks. Organize friends, neighbors, and co-workers to help complete the tasks on a regular, weekly basis. There are special websites that can help with this.
Make lunch for your friend and their caregiver one day a week. If your friend is getting chemo, ask what they feel like eating. Commit to taking their child to soccer practice or music lessons twice a week. Return or pick up library books, movies, or books on CD.
Buy groceries. Go to the post office. Pick up prescriptions. Help make to-do lists. Drive family or friends to and from the airport or hotel. What you can do: How to offer support Some people find it hard to accept support — even when they need it. Provide emotional support through your presence and your touch. Help the caregiver. Many people are afraid of being a burden to their loved ones. Offer practical ideas on what you can do to help, and then follow through.
Assume your help is needed, even if family, friends, or hired help is also helping out. What you can do: Gifts Look for small, practical things your friend may need or just enjoy. Make sure gifts are useful right away. Small gifts given frequently are usually better than large, one-time gifts. Insist that a thank-you note is not needed. Written by. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
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