My husband was diagnosed with cancer in February 2012. Since then he has undergone 18 chemo sessions, a stem cell transplant and radiation.
I’ve read that 1 in 2 people will be affected by cancer in their lifetime so odds are someone close to you is receiving treatment.
It is easy to feel helpless in times like these so here are 10 things my husband and I found most helpful during his treatments.
#1 Offer to co-ordinate
A simple way to help a caregiver is to offer to co-ordinate things like meals, lifts and health updates.
#2 Be specific
When I’m stressed and someone asks me “Can I help with anything?” I tend to just say no rather than have to think of something. Rather be specific and say something like, “I’m going to the shops can I buy you bread and milk?”
#3 Drop off a meal
Next time you whip up your secret recipe chicken casserole make a little extra and drop it off. Don’t forget to include a card with baking times, temperatures and whether it can go in the freezer.
#4 Treat them
Small things like a gift card, cash to cover medical bills, tickets to a movie or a slab of chocolate make a difference. Due to lack of energy treats that allow the patient to stay at home are usually best.
#5 Take the steering wheel
If you have the time then offering to help with lifts to the doctor, hospital or just to run to the chemist can be a great way to assist.
Friends of mine set up an online prayer group using “WatsApp” which really helped. I could send a quick prayer SOS and they could message me encouraging verses.
If there are children in the picture then take the time to get to know them so that their parents will be comfortable with letting you take them for an hour or two. Or if you have your own children that you’re looking after during the day offer to take theirs on a more regular basis.
#8 Air their dirty laundry
Offer to pick up the laundry once a week and deliver it back to them clean and folded.
#9 Give them space
Don’t take offence if they don’t answer the phone, reply to a text or email or get back to you as quickly as they would usually. Being supportive sometimes means stepping back and allowing them space.
#10 Share your books and DVD’s
Low immune systems and energy can mean a lot of time on the couch reading or watching TV so now is the time to lend out those box sets of your favourite TV shows or drop by with a selection of books you think they’d like.