Guest Blogger: 8 Ways To Support A Loved One With Cancer

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“8 Ways to Support a Loved One with Cancer”

This article is written by Scott Sanders.  Scott is the creator of CancerWell.Org, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, three out of four families will include someone who receives a cancer diagnosis. If you’ve got a friend or family member who’s undergoing cancer treatment, here are some of the ways you can help.

Advocate for the best treatment.
Assist your loved one in researching doctors and options. Accompany them to doctor’s appointments; take notes, ask questions. Help research treatment options—and don’t rule out alternative therapies, like acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling, yoga, meditation, and guided imagery, that help patients deal with treatment side effects and the disease itself.

With the rise in opioid addiction, also be mindful of painkiller usage. Your loved one may express concern that he doesn’t want to rely on strong painkillers, but there are precautions that reduce the possibility of addiction.

Don’t worry so much about what to say.
Just be there. You won’t be able to fix everything—that’s impossible. But be present. Your presence gives emotional, spiritual, social, and even physical support, and that’s invaluable. So is the relief of your loved one knowing they can relax, be themselves, and express their emotions without worrying about how someone else may react.

Offer practical help.
Don’t wait for your loved one to ask—and don’t just ask what they need. Do you have kids the same age as your loved one? Collect them for a playdate. Are you heading to the grocery store? Grab her grocery list, too. If you’re a natural organizer, use one of the online apps to coordinate a meal train. Synch your calendars so you know their chemo and doctor’s appointments and can check in or send a little card or gift as a pick-me-up.

Channel flexibility.
Ask your loved one what he needs—and don’t stress if those needs suddenly (or frequently) change. Ask specific questions, like:

  • Should I visit today? If so, what time is best?
  • Do you want company during your treatment?
  • Would you like someone to sit with you one or two nights a week?
  • Can I take you to dinner/a yoga class/for a massage?
  • Do you want to go for a walk after dinner?
  • Can I bring you dinner? If so, what sounds good?

Put those logistics skills to good use.
Use social media or a web-based app to keep everyone in the loop and updated. Organize a list of helpers who can take your loved one to doctor’s and treatment appointments, help clean the house, bring meals, take care of kids, throw in a load of laundry, run errands, or anything else she might need.

Keep supporting your loved one.
Very often, when people are dealing with a new cancer diagnosis and its initial treatments, they’re surrounded by people offering to help. However, your loved one will need support throughout the entire continuum. That’s where logistics also play a huge part—keeping everyone updated and informed and spreading out help and support among many people so no one caregiver feels overwhelmed and stressed.

Gift thoughtfully.
Food sounds great, but treatments often result in nausea or vomiting that make eating very unappealing. Your loved one might appreciate books, music, magazines or puzzles, an Amazon gift card, or a gift certificate for a massage or float therapy. Consider asking several friends and family to chip in to hire a cleaning service for a few weeks or months.

Take care of yourself.
When you’re worried about and helping someone else who’s fighting cancer, it’s a challenge to remember to take time for yourself, especially if you’re one of your loved one’s main caregivers. However, it’s critical that you do so. You can’t predict the range of emotions you’ll experience: guilt, hope, hopelessness, sadness, worry, anxiety, depression, grief, anger, denial, loneliness. But your mind does need a break. Look for positives and allow yourself to laugh. Check out this resource from the National Cancer Institute for self-care ideas.

A cancer diagnosis—whether it’s breast, lung, prostate, liver or another cancer—changes everything. Everyone plunges into a new world of medical terms and treatment plans. The emotional (and other) support you provide to your loved one is as priceless and valuable as any treatment protocol.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

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10 Tips To Stomp Out Stress

10 Stress Tips

I am a guest blogger for the website Compassion that Compels.  Please read my post about 10 Tips to Stomp out Stress.  I enjoyed writing the post and I hope that it helps others faced with breast cancer.

“10 Tips to Stomp Out Stress”

BY JENNIFER WILSON

Battling cancer is a stressful time. If you’re not careful, the stress can become more overwhelming than the diagnosis. Managing your stress levels is an important priority throughout your cancer journey. You will have added stressors during this time that you did not have before. Here are some tips to help you stomp out that stress.

10 Tips to Stomp Out Stress

  1. Write things down. Your schedule will suddenly be overtaken with numerous doctor’s appointments, and it is important to know when they are. Put them into your phone calendar or write them in a planner. I created a shared calendar with my caregiver, so that he would know when my doctor’s appointments were scheduled. I also scheduled reminders for each appointment. In addition, I added work and social obligations to my calendar, so that I would know if there were scheduling conflicts.
  2. Pamper yourself. Self-care is very important during your cancer journey. Your body is going through a lot of changes, and it is important to take care of yourself. When I was going through chemotherapy and my body was aching, I would take a bubble bath with Epsom salt and a bath bomb. The Epsom salt eased my aching body and the bubbles helped me relax. Make time for a bath and go all out by lighting a candle and listening to peaceful music.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Chemotherapy can make your mouth very dry or even leave a strange metallic taste in your mouth.  Stay well-hydrated throughout chemotherapy by drinking water daily (add lemon for a little flavor!) I drank water with lemon out of my Compassion that Compels cupthroughout treatment. 
  4. Eat well. Maintaining a healthy diet is important although you may not feel like eating if treatment leaves you nauseous. Still, it is important to keep your energy up and fuel your body with good foods. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs.
  5. Get plenty of rest. Fighting cancer in addition to the demands of regular life can leave little room for rest, but it’s very important that you make the time. When I was receiving chemotherapy and working, I worked all day and rested in the evening, then went to bed early.
  6. Exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon, just do something light. Even a little exercise can help strengthen your body and restore your energy. I am sure if I had exercised during my treatment it would have helped me to not feel as tired.
  7. Accept help when it is offered.  Many people will offer to help you throughout your treatment, and you should take them up on their offers. My mother-in-law offered to go grocery shopping for me post-surgery, which was a big help. Someone may offer to babysit your children or bring you meals. Take advantage of these offers; it will give you some time to rest and heal.
  8. Talk to your boss about your treatment plan and what it entails. If you will need to miss work for doctor’s appointments, it is best to be open and upfront with your boss.  You and your boss may be able to work out a schedule that creates less stress for you. 
  9. Enjoy your life. Do something fun every day…call a friend, stop for your favorite treat, read your favorite book again, write in your journal, go for a walk. Your days are full of doctor’s appointments, treatment schedules, and taking care of your body. Don’t forget to do something that brings you joy in the midst of it all.
  10. Pray.  Be strong and courageous during your cancer journey and do not let stress get the best of you. Write out your prayers, or keep track of your prayer requests (and answers!) in your Compassion That Compels Prayer Journal. Remember, God is with you every day and He will help you manage your stress levels when you turn to Him through prayer. 

The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 37

7/12/18

Dear Friends and Family,

My mom and I went to Nashville for a Mother/Daughter vacation before my surgery.  We had a great time and were really, really busy.  We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Ryman, saw singes performance at the Grand Ole Opry.  We also went to a food festival and winery.  Also, we checked out Tootsies and the bars that Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, and Rich from Big and Rich opened.  I guess that is the new thing for  country singers to do, open their own bars.  We also ate at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.  We returned to Texas a day before my surgery.

Nashville
Continue reading “The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 37”

The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 36

 

insta
June 12, 2018

Dear Friends and Family,

I thought that I would “check-in” since I haven’t written in awhile.  I am on summer vacation, but have been busy with doctor, dentist appointments and professional development for work.  I met with the plastic surgeon and the anesthesia department last week to prepare for my upcoming surgery on Tuesday, June 19th.  I know that it sounds weird, but I am looking forward to having surgery because I feel that is one more “piece” of the puzzle to moving on to my “new” normal.  The surgery will be a day surgery, which is nice.  The recovery time is two to four weeks.  I will play it by ear as to how I feel recovery-wise.  This surgery will not be as involved as my surgery in March.  
Continue reading “The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 36”

Chemotherapy Recommended Item: Take a Bath and RELAX

 

TUB

I received Nuelasta after my AC chemotherapy sessions.  Nuelasta can often time cause muscle soreness.  I took bubble baths with Epsom Salt SELRES_5ac2892d-cef8-4717-ba15-d8faa98b3c12SELRES_6e1ae65c-cbd0-44a5-bd5c-4cfc5fc6d9dbSELRES_69b533f1-e0d3-4264-ae99-db6405a930eeSELRES_69b533f1-e0d3-4264-ae99-db6405a930eeSELRES_6e1ae65c-cbd0-44a5-bd5c-4cfc5fc6d9dbSELRES_5ac2892d-cef8-4717-ba15-d8faa98b3to help alleviate my muscle soreness.

Continue reading “Chemotherapy Recommended Item: Take a Bath and RELAX”

Tip #8 “It’s Ok To Not Be Ok”

 

its ok to not be ok

Throughout my blog, I focus on hope and positivity.  Everyone has faced a challenge at some point their lifetime.  Challenges can be big or small, approaching the challenge and learning from it is what is important.  As a cancer survivor, I have good days and bad days, just like anybody else.  Some days are harder than others.  Tip#8, “It’s Ok To Not Be Ok” is something I tend to forget.  I appreciate each day that I am given, but sometimes I am very hard on myself and expect things to be the way they were BEFORE caner.  

Continue reading “Tip #8 “It’s Ok To Not Be Ok””

The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 35

 

 

me

4/6/18

Dear Friends and Family,

My New Year’s Resolution for 2018 is to exercise.  I have been busy exercising through the LIVESTRONG program at the YMCA.  The program lasted 12 weeks and classes were held twice a week.  The program introduced me to TRX and water aerobics where we learned proper weightlifting and stretching techniques.  Also, we focused on cardio.  The LIVESTRONG coaches were amazing and very encouraging.  It was also nice to be with a group of women that had walked a similar path as me and were wanting to have a more healthy lifestyle.  We were the 13th graduating class and received a certificate and  yellow rubber ducky with a graduation cap on it.  I definitely will miss my workout friends and the coaches.  The program held me to be accountable and committed to my fitness.  We were assessed in the beginning of the program and at the end of the program and I made progress in all areas. 

Continue reading “The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 35”