I currently work in the Oncology field full-time and I see first hand the devastating effects Cancer does to not only the patient but the family as well. I want to be honest with you when I say my job is both challenging and rewarding. When someone you love has Cancer witnessing what the Chemotherapy does to their body and spirit is heartbreaking.
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I’m very Blessed and Thankful to play a small role in treating the individual, and the disease. To be honest, when I first started working in Oncology I was second-guessing that decision. I had no clue whatsoever what I signed up for or how to support them. However, I learned quickly.
When Someone You Love Has Cancer: 8 Ways to Support Them
Over the years I have learned the best ways to offer support when someone you love has cancer and is treated by an Oncologist and Undergoing Chemotherapy. I personally make my lab space bright, inviting, homey, and peaceful. However, the most important thing to remember when someone you love has Cancer is displaying the love of Christ to them in genuine love. I’m extremely privileged my office allows me to surround my area in encouraging scriptures, faith, and the gospel. Let’s dive in, shall we?
1: Be Present when someone you love has Cancer
Let your loved one know they aren’t going through the treatment process alone and you’ll be there for them. Countless patients come to their appointments by themselves where I work simply because they have no one or don’t want to be a burden.
In other words, they go through this experience by themselves. Here they are can barely hold their heads up yet whatever the case may be no one is with them and it should NOT be that way. That being said they will display numerous emotions and it’s not a one size fits all case.
I’ve listed some emotional issues I personally encounter from them below.
Please, make it a priority to be there for the individual. Make some kind of arrangement so they don’t go through it alone.
2: Cheer Up someone who has Cancer
Knowing how to encourage someone with cancer and keeping a positive attitude around them helps them stay motivated. Showing compassion and understanding will go a long way when cheering up any individual, especially in Oncology.
What better example could we possibly demonstrate to loved ones than the never-ending love that Jesus Christ has shown to you and I? God showed his compassion towards us while we were yet Sinners far from him when he sent his one and only Son on our behalf.
I can not stress enough how much Oncology individuals, in general, need us to follow Christ’s example of compassion. They’re going through a life-altering experience so Please take their feelings into consideration and do your best to cheer them up.
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3: Expect side effects when someone you love has Cancer
When your loved one is receiving Chemotherapy the side effects and physical changes are brutal to their bodies and immune system. It’s so crucial to remind them daily…You are NOT less than and are beautiful to me!
I’ve listed a few side effects below for you
- Weight Loss
- Hair Loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Changes with their bodies, such as a Mastectomy or Colostomy.
- Dry Mouth and Sores
- Chemo Brain (Memory Loss) I’m not being Cruel by stating it this way it’s seriously what it’s called.
Out of ALL these examples, the most common a patient fears the most is losing their hair. Believe it or not but that’s the truth. I tell them all the time hair or no hair you are still beautiful. They truly need to hear that.
Losing their breasts is a close second. It’s sad to witness them feeling backward and ashamed in this area. One side note that you need to be aware of is you can NOT use the arm of the breast that was removed due to a chance of Lymphedema.
4: When someone you love has Cancer states they’re cold all the time that’s expected. What do you need to do?
Two Words! Believe Them! They’re not saying the words just to be saying them. I have done venipuncture’s when the individual is trembling so badly that you must anchor their arm down tightly and ask someone to assist.
Staying cold is common for Cancer patients. It’s one of the numerous side effects. At my office, we keep warm blankets for them to use for that very reason. By the way, cold fingers do not bleed well.
5: Immunotherapy may be offered when someone you love has Cancer
Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight off diseases such as Cancer and more. It stimulates their immune system’s proteins to boost their blood counts up which is very important when receiving Chemotherapy.
6: Benefits of a support group or community is helpful when someone you love has cancer.
I realize how difficult this step can be not just for the individual but for the family members as well.
That being said, when you’re surrounded with other people who “get it” and can “relate” on a similar level in the area you’re dealing with, can make a HUGE difference.
7: FREE Resources for your loved one with Cancer.
Sadly the struggles of finances when it comes to treatment in Oncology is astronomical. It’s so heartbreaking when the patient explains how they’re forced to choose between their basic needs and/or Chemotherapy Regimens.
I’d give anything if I were financially able to help ALL of them but that isn’t being realistic…it’s impossible! In our office alone, we see roughly 200 per day and Yes I’m being deadly serious with that estimation. I had no clue there were so many people who have this awful disease until I got into this field.
However, that being said there are numerous organizations available that can help and I suggest you searching your local areas to find the ones near you.
8: Thoughtful Gifts for Someone with Cancer
- The simple ways to show someone you care doesn’t have to be pricy. As a matter of fact, they can be FREE. Such as…
- Drive them to their appointments and take notes for them. Chemo brain is real and they forget rather easily.
- Cook a meal and take it to them.
- Do Housecleaning chores because the individual stays tired.
- Give family members and caregivers a break for a short while because it can be emotionally draining for them too.
- Stay positive, keep them motivated, and laughter is the key.
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My Personal thought when someone you love has Cancer is to consistently find a way to point them where they can hope, strength, inspiration, comfort, and rest for their peace of mind and soul…God!
In my opinion, the best verse is below when your loved one gets down and discouraged.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
When Someone You Love has Cancer I often question Why Does God Allow Pain? I must admit I don’t always understand what God’s purpose and plans are for allowing certain circumstances in our lives, but I know I can trust God has a reason for all things. I have a post In Loving Memory of one very special patient I’d love for you to check out titled Treasured Memories. Cherish every moment Friends.
Working In Oncology Changes Your Outlook on life. These amazing people keep my life on the “eternal perspective” not the “here and now” outlook with my own health journey. I’m forever grateful for that!
Be sure to also read:
Pray for Those Struggling With Cancer
I’m grateful to God that he opened this opportunity for me to work with these AMAZING people. It has shown me even though I have several autoimmune disorders myself…I could have it much worse than I do. I see this on a daily basis and I’m forever thankful for that. With this in mind, I can say God’s got this and it’s going to be ok!
One final thought…take your Prayer before the Throne of God on bended knee on your loved one’s behalf. You can NEVER Pray too much for someone.