Cancer Caregiving Is So Many Things

If you are a friend, family member, partner, or spouse offering emotional and physical help to a cancer survivor, it makes you a crucial part of their cancer care group. And being a caregiver for a cancer survivor is quite complicated. Of course, it involves helping them get ready for the follow-up appointments, being by their side during recovery, and helping them go back to the average pace of life again. But it’s a lot more than all of that. 

The emotional and physical trauma remains long after the survivor comes out of that cancer hospital. Now, their issues change as they start adapting to the new life after the cancer battle, but you might still feel unsure about what to do and how. Moreover, you have your battles to fight during this time. So, here is some advice that will help you in cancer caregiving. 

Understanding Cancer Survival 

After your loved one is done with cancer treatment, they might still have several challenges. Side effects of the treatment tend to last for some time. Some might not show up until weeks or even months after the treatment. The survivor might have a job and financial worries. In short, going back to your everyday life is hard after cancer, and it might take longer than anticipated. 

It is essential to understand their worries regarding long-term side effects or their fear of cancer striking back. As a caregiver, be ready to share the survivorship experience. 

The After-Effects of Cancer Treatment 

The fact that the oncologistsaid the cancer is now gone does not mean that the person feels completely fine. Cancer treatments are pretty hard on the body, and the after-effects last for months and years. Their organs might be damaged or removed. Their body might not function as it used to before. The medication can lead to side effects even after your loved one stops taking them. 

It is natural for your friend or family member to struggle with: 

  • Tiredness 
  • Pain 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Lymph nodes swelling 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Mouth problems 
  • Weight loss or gain 
  • Changes in fertility and sexual health 
  • Cognitive alterations 
  • Anxiety or depression 

Connect with the healthcare team of your loved one to figure out the kind of after-effects of treatment to expect. You need to ask your healthcare team: 

  • What to do to prevent problems 
  • How to help ease out the symptoms 
  • What type of issues to keep an eye out for 
  • The right situation to call the cancer hospital

Ways To Help the Survivor Right Away 

As the survivor makes the adjustments and goes back to their daily routines, you can do the following things to offer support: 

  • Keep track of medicines and fill prescriptions 
  • Arranging and coming along to the medical appointments 
  • Staying in touch with the oncologistin case of any problem 
  • Filling and follow up on medical bills and health insurance claims 
  • Helping them make their healthcare choices 
  • Communicating with their workplace 

In terms of physical health, your loved one will need help with: 

  • Daily physical therapy or walking 
  • Keeping track of symptoms 
  • Note all new or worsening symptoms 
  • Contact the healthcare team when required 

A Caregiver’s Financial Concerns 

As a caregiver, you might have to take some unpaid break from work. It will be challenging to manage a job and the patient at home. But if one can do so, they should try to provide as much financial support they can. Although many hospitals have made cancer treatment reasonable in the past few years, it is still expensive for a lot of households.

Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health 

It is a stressful responsibility to help someone get well completely from cancer. Apart from your loved one’s health, you have your health and financial issues to think about. You might feel powerless in more ways than one, which further adds to the stress.  

To maintain your health in this situation: 

  • Eat healthily and exercise regularly 
  • Keep an active social life 
  • Limit alcohol and do not smoke 
  • Get adequate sleep 
  • Get regular health screening done 

Though you are a caregiver, you will need support as well. So, ensure that you: 

  • Get in touch with the healthcare team in case of additional stress 
  • Contact a therapist or counsellor 
  • Talk to your friends and family 
  • Look for local or online support groups 
  • Find hobbies or pursuits that bring your joy and relaxation 

The Endnote 

The responsibility you are handling is truly commendable and inspiring. But remember not to overexert yourself or be too hard on yourself. It is okay to feel overwhelmed at times and seek help when needed. 

By Adam

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