Conventional ways to help a friend diagnosed with cancer may not work for everyone. While you may have the best intentions during this sensitive time, it can take a unique approach to support an individual in need in ways that can truly benefit them and lessen their burden. Sometimes an out-of-the-box idea is just what the doctor ordered. Here are 10 suggestions cultivated by talking with therapists, family members of survivors and the patients who have been through it themselves:
Let them cry
There are tremendous benefits to crying and many people say they feel better after a “good cry.” Crying can help someone with sorrow and be an effective stress relief. Depending on your relationship, it could be easy for the person to have this release of emotion in front of you. Don’t stop it. Let them release it and give them a hug when they are finished.
Does your friend enjoy doing crafts or puzzles? They might appreciate being read to. Distracting the patient with something they enjoy can do wonders for morale and help time pass. It’s important to remember that no matter what you bring over to their house, leave without a trace of you being there. Cluttering their space is not an option. If a simple dinner (brought over by you) and watching a movie together is what they want, then try to make that happen. Bring over all the supplies to help them with a home-improvement project and involve your friend in any capacity they wish. Ask what is needed of you. It might just be that a simple distraction with something they enjoy doing is exactly what they need.
Sometimes it’s best to just be quiet and let someone talk. Most people want to be heard. Although learning to listen and putting the other person ahead of you can be a tough challenge for most people. Good listening benefits both parties. It’s one of the most admirable forms of respect and a gentle avenue for gaining clarity. It can also help you know when they want to be alone and when they don’t. Pick up on cues, hints and just listen to what they have to say.
10 Ways You Can Help A Friend With Cancer
By Malini Bartels
Let me start by introducing myself, I am Dr. Ralph R. Reynolds, DMD, MD. I am a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS) with offices in Loveland and Greeley. You can follow this link to my website for more detailed information about my practice Reynolds Oral & Facial Surgery. I have removed wisdom teeth from thousands of patience as well as two of my five children.
But, why do we have wisdom teeth?
A Personal Note From
Dr. Ralph R. Reynolds, DMD, MD
Share your pet
It’s a proven fact that having something cute and furry to touch and talk to helps a person feel better. If the patient doesn’t have a pet of their own and is not allergic or opposed to house pets, offer to bring yours over for the day. Ask if they would like to walk the dog with you. Of course you should only offer if your pet is fully housetrained and mellow. Nobody wants the extra nuisance of cleaning up after a pet, even when they are not sick. A trip to the local Humane Society is also an option for a day of fun and furry cuteness.
Follow their blog
In this day and age, patients are tracking their feelings and daily events on websites, Facebook pages and blogs. Liking their page and following their blog may be your only way to find out what is really on their minds. Read about their ups and downs written directly from the words of the patients themselves.
Remember their kids
If children are in the family, it’s safe to say they are going through their own personal pain and grief. Ask them if they want to go out to a show or concert with you. Take them out for dinner and a movie if the parents approve. They might need to get out of the house, go shopping, take a walk or shoot some hoops. Ask and offer. It could be fun!
If you say you are going to do something, then do it. Don’t cancel on them unless it’s a real emergency. Don’t even say that you will pray for them if you won’t. If you make promises that you can’t keep, it will be remembered even when they are healthy.
It’s true. Laughter is the best medicine. Share a funny story or memory. Make sure you don’t offend the person or instill guilt by “bragging about your escapades.” Remember, a cancer patient isn’t able to get out as much as might have in the past. Put a smile on their face and yours by being friendly and jovial.
Don’t forget them when it’s over
This might be the most important thing to remember. They are still the same person when they are in remission. Continue to check-in and support in any way you can. It might be more detrimental to their mental health if you are only there for them when they are down. Your friend may not need help in the same way as before, but they need to know that they are more than just the cancer.
Help find a cure
It’s not impossible. Scientists get closer and closer each year. If you aren’t a medical researcher yourself, the best way you can help is to fund those who are. It’s not worth it to make comparisons about your relative who died from cancer because there was no cure. Everyone’s path is different. The world in constantly changing and new medical advancements are being made on a daily basis. You don’t even have to run a 5k to help with cancer research. Organizations such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Susan G. Koman Foundation, accept donations year-round. Find out how you can get involved in your community to help find a cure for cancer and save a life.
Malini Bartels is a freelance writer, chef, mother, radio host and actress living the good life in Fort Collins.
Our pets are living longer and better than ever before. Old age is not a disease, but along with aging come changes to the body that are important for us to acknowledge and recognize. Body parts eventually suffer wear and tear that can lead to pain and to decreased mobility. Decreased mobility can interfere with a pet’s activities of daily living, and this can undermine a pet’s happiness and interactions with the family.
Do-it-yourself Easy Adaptations for Your Elderly Pets
By Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM
Let me start by introducing myself, I am Dr. Ralph R. Reynolds, DMD, MD. I am an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS) here in Loveland. My office is currently located at 2992 Ginnala Dr. As a father of three girls, I know the time will be coming when I need to remove their wisdom teeth. But, why do we have wisdom teeth? Click to read more...
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