My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last winter. It is a diagnosis that caught us off guard, as she lives a very healthy lifestyle and has no family history of the disease. I am working with my father and siblings to provide her with the care she needs as she undergoes chemotherapy.
While the doctors believe the odds are good that this treatment regime will be successful, it is also making her very ill. I know there are days when she has real doubt about continuing her treatments.
We are looking for ideas to help her manage the difficult emotions cancer patients go through each day. We also need to find ways to help my dad keep his spirits up. Support for the spouse of a cancer patient seems to be overlooked by all of my mom’s physicians.
Do you have any advice you can offer?
Words of Encouragement for Cancer Patients
What a thoughtful letter and request! It sounds like you and your family are focused on making certain both of your parents have the care and support they need. Keeping a positive outlook is important when you are a cancer patient going through a difficult treatment regime.
Here are a few suggestions I often offer to caregivers of cancer patients:
- Connect with peers: Support groups offer people a nonjudgmental environment for sharing their fears, anxiety, and anger. Your father might benefit from connecting with one for spouses who are caring for a partner, while your mother might benefit from one dedicated to cancer patients. If they are reluctant to join an in-person group, connecting with an online support group is another option to consider.
- Find daily inspiration: Start each day with daily inspirational quotes for cancer patients. You can purchase a calendar with an uplifting quote of the day and visit sites like American Cancer Society’s “Survivors: Words of Inspiration.” Beginning the day with a positive message can help you stay focused on the end goal: completing the treatment and beating the disease.
- Make use of resources from cancer centers and associations: Resources are available for specific kinds of cancer from centers and associations that specialize in them. For example, The Mesothelioma Center provides resources for caregivers of mesothelioma patients.
- Try alternative therapies: Cancer centers often offer alternative therapies that help patients cope with the physical and emotional challenges the diagnosis creates. Ask the cancer team responsible for treating your father what types of programs they offer. You’ll likely find options for your family to participate in art classes, music programs, massage therapy, and more.
- Maintain normalcy: Another way to help a cancer patient cope is by trying to stick with their normal routine as much as possible. While your mom might not feel up to some tasks, she may be able to perform others. Allowing her to do so can help her feel that she still has control over some areas of her life.
I hope this information helps you as you are caring for your mother and supporting your father. My very best wishes for a full recovery for your mom!