“Thank you for your support, General. Happy beeps.” – Poe Dameron, Star Wars: Episode 9 – The Last Jedi
As a cancer patient, it’s important to seek support when you need it. There are many reasons you might need support: emotionally, physically, monetarily… It could be something as simple as asking someone to listen to how you are feeling or if they can pick up dinner or drive you to an appointment. Most close family and friends will be happy to do anything you need. There is no shame in getting help. Cancer is a beast to deal with and anyway where you can relieve some of the stress and anxiety, can be a great deal of help!
But something to remember: do what you can for yourself if you are able. As tired and sick and weak as you may feel, if you don’t attempt to care for yourself, it will be that much easier to sink into a dark place. If you can work, work. If you can clean, clean. If you can cook, cook!
And on top of that, get moving as much as you can. I have to say, that was the most difficult part for me while going through chemo and radiation. I was VERY tired, but I continued to work full-time. That was really good for me because it kept my mind off of things and kept my body active. It was after work where I had a difficult time moving. I wish I would have made myself get up and walk the treadmill, even if at a slow pace. Eating lots of protein also helps you keep up your energy and I feel like I was also lacking in that.
Here’s the really tough thing about support from others: people may not even acknowledge what you are going through. It’s hard to imagine, but some people won’t care so much. And I don’t think it’s because they are terrible people, but they may be too afraid or uncomfortable to say something. They may have so much going on in their lives that it’s difficult to worry about someone they are not really close with. You may also find that you have people that will pop in from time to time and check in on you, but then disappear for awhile. Don’t focus your time on those people that aren’t or can’t be there for you. Focus on yourself and the people that are stepping up to help.
For those supporting a cancer patient, do what you can and what you are comfortable with. Offer words of encouragement; those can be very helpful to keep their spirits up!! But don’t be offended if you offer to do something or give them something and they don’t take you up on that. It may be because they don’t need it or can’t eat something or they just don’t have the energy to do something.
Lastly, for those supporting someone with cancer, the one thing I urge you NOT to say is, “Oh, I knew someone who had cancer and they died…” Just don’t do it! You may have good intentions, but saying that you “relate” to a cancer patient because you knew someone that had cancer who happened to have passed away does NOT help and can feel very discouraging. But, by all means, refer them to a blog (like mine!) or a website that has a positive and helpful outlook.
Up next: Episode 12