Thursday 18 February 2021
Tuesday 06 February 2024
â€˜You can do anything, but not everything' (David Allen)
Most of us can identify with the moment we hear someone close to us has cancer. If itâ€™s a family member, our partner, or a close friend then our lives can tip upside down too.
You may find youâ€™re overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety â€“ this is someone who is very important to you â€“ and the cancer can be a life changing event.
Some people deal with it by being immediately practical â€“ thinking of the treatment process, finding out facts, assuring the person that everything will be fine.
Indeed, in many cases it will beâ€¦eventually, but there are hurdles to cross along the way.
For others, thoughts of an uncertain future, and the possibility that their loved one may not recover from the cancer, can loom large and yet remain unspoken. It can shake your foundations.
This is an emotional time â€“ youâ€™ll have good and bad days.
You may find you have a short fuse, difficulty concentrating, feel on 'alert' waiting for the next crisis.
It's possible to feel overloaded with trying to keep on top of normal daily life hassles â€“ as well as the caring factors themselves.
If youâ€™re a parent of young or teenage children, there may be other pressures on your time, and trying to keep it all together can feel very difficult sometimes.
Meanwhile, if itâ€™s one of your parentsâ€¦you may be feeling torn between wanting to look after and protect them, whilst also upset at seeing them unwell, and frail.
If the cancer has come back, or is now not curative, then along with the physical and practical caring issues, are the worries about how you might manage.
You may wonder how youâ€™ll handle the changing situation, more involved care needs, more financial stresses, and managing the grieving you may feel for the future lost.
These are natural emotions and feelings.
There will be times when you find you may grow closer â€“ that there are moments youâ€™ll treasure, new memories made.
If itâ€™s helping someone through their cancer treatment and beyond, there can be relief that the treatment is over too.
Like the person with cancer, though, you may find youâ€™re watching and waiting for new symptoms, or struggling with how cancer has sometimes changed the relationshipâ€¦so looking after yourself is important.
What does seem apparent, is that coping strategies are needed to help get through this difficult time for both the person with the cancer â€“ and you.
How to cope
When someone you care about has cancer, you may find you put all your energy, and love, into supporting them.
It may feel selfish sometimes, to long for life to be as it was before. It can be hard balancing home life, work, caring for the children, or looking after an elderly relative. 'Me' time becomes a rare commodity.
If you're looking after someone with cancer, then remember to look after yourself too.
You may need help and support, so that you keep well, physically and emotionally.
How to get support at ¾ÞÈéÎÞÂë
¾ÞÈéÎÞÂë is here for family and friends, as well as the person living with cancer.
Our cancer support specialists, benefits advisors and psychologists are here to listen to your concerns and find the help you need.
Find your nearest ¾ÞÈéÎÞÂë centre â€“ you don't need an appointment, just come in.
Original blog written by Sue Long, Cancer Support Specialist, March 2018. Updated in February 2024.
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