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When Someone You Love Is Diagnosed With Cancer

It's a shock when someone close to you tells you they have cancer. You experience a lot of emotions - fear, anxiety, disbelief, helplessness, confusion. You may feel at a loss as to how to help. You want to do something, but are afraid of somehow making things worse.

Keep It Positive

Often when people hear about someone having cancer they feel compelled to tell that person how sick chemo and radiation will make them, or how they knew so-and-so who died of cancer just like theirs. Do not do this. It only increases their fear and strain.

Your loved one is well aware of how difficult a path they have ahead of them. Their medical providers make that very clear when explaining to them what to expect. They have been researching and have come across the scary stories. A story that is something like, "Yeah, my Mom had cancer. Treatments were uncomfortable, but she's been in remission for 5 years. That stuff can really work. She's on a cruise to the Bahamas right now." is probably fine, but keep stories of misery and doom away.

Give them Normal

A lot of times when a person has cancer, their family, friends, and coworkers act weird around them. They avoid talking about cancer - or talk about nothing but cancer. People avoid talking about future plans, shut up when they enter a room, and stop asking the person with cancer to do anything.

Talk to them they way you always did. Let them know about plans and give them the option of coming; if they can't that's fine, but don't make them feel abandoned. Binge watch Netflix. Complain about work. Text silly internet memes. They are still the same person, and they need some normalcy in their lives.

Proactively Find Ways to Help

Don't just say, "Call me if you need anything." Chances are they won't do that. They may not want to be a bother. They may already feel helpless; having to ask for help just emphasizes that. See what needs doing, then offer to do it. Give them something specific to say yes or no about. Be sure to let them have a choice.

This can include things like:

    • - Help with chores - Treatments can make them feel physically weak and sick, and living in the midst of undone tasks can make that more uncomfortable. Run the vacuum. Mow the lawn. Clean the bathroom. Do the laundry or dishes. Change the sheets.
    • - Do the shopping - Some days (or weeks), they won't be up to shopping. Depending on where in their treatment they are, they aren't allowed to go to any public areas because their immune system is gone. Offer to run their errands when you run your own.
    • - Bring food - Sometimes they won't feel up to cooking. Bring by a stack of prepared meals for the freezer. Drop off casseroles for their family to heat up for dinner. Cook while you visit.
    • - Pick up the kids from school on chemo days.
    • - Argue with the cable provider - or whatever long, stressful phone call they need to do but don't have the energy for.
    • - Bring humor - Send funny YouTube videos. Tell about the stupid customer at work today.
    • - Put a bright spot into their day.

 

  • - Bring Them Treats
    • They often feel uncomfortable and ill; their own body is rebelling against them. Bring them things that give comfort and show care. Make it meaningful for them; avoid generic "ribbons for a cause". Avoid flowers; they can carry in infection. Avoid scented candles or perfumes; chemo messes with the sense of smell and it will not smell right.
  • - Treatments destroy taste buds and make everything taste wrong. If there is a food that tastes good to them, be sure they have it around all the time.
  • - Bring a game; stay to play it with them. Or a movie, and watch it together.
  • - Bring them bubble baths and bath oils. If they don't have a bathtub, invite them to use yours. Soaking can help a lot with stress and pain. Choose the oils carefully; the scents and additives in most products can hurt skin that is having painful or itchy reactions to their treatments. Take time to find something designed to work with the effects chemo and radiation have on skin.
  • - They will have dry, itchy skin and rashes on their face. Their hands and feet will dry out and be sore. They may have radiation burns. Help them feel comfortable in their own skin by giving them high-quality specialty lotions, balms, and face serums to ease this discomfort. LindiSkin is specifically designed for chemo and radiation-related skin issues. Finding something that will work to relieve their specific skin issues without triggering a painful reaction shows them that you cared enough to put effort into finding it. This helps them feel cared for and important as a person, not just a medical experiment. And being able to choose when and how to use this gift helps them feel less helpless and more in control.
  • - Bring a favorite magazine or a book. Make sure it is not a sad or upsetting book; keep it uplifting or light hearted.
  • - Bring posters or new pictures to hang up and brighten up their room.
  • - Bring a soft, warm blanket or warm socks. Chemo and radiation can mess up the body's ability to stay warm. It also makes skin very sensitive so some of their existing warm things cause pain. Avoid any fuzziness or even the slightest scratchiness.
  • - Send cards. Especially when you know it's a chemo day, a surgery day, or a radiation day.
  • - Let them know that someone is thinking of them. Make it a thinking of you or I love you card, not a generic get well card.
  • - Listen and Let them be Vulnerable

Modern culture gives cancer patients a lot of pressure to be a hero, be brave, be positive, keep fighting. That's incredibly stressful. They often feel like they can really tell anyone what is going on because it will let down the other people. Relieve the pressure; let be down if they need to around you.

Your loved one is going through a lot. Sit with them and listen empathically. Don't problem solve. Don't tell them not to think like that. Don't force them to fake positivity all the time. If they open up a vulnerability, don't shut them down. Let them spill out their fears and concerns. Give them a hug (if they like hugs). Cry along with them. Let them be mad, sad, scared without pressure.

Most of all, be there with them and show that you care by your actions.

 

About Lindi Skin

We believe in providing the absolute best for our customers. Our products are carefully researched and clinically tested to ensure that only the safest ingredients are present. These formulas are designed to deliver a gentle and luxuriously therapeutic experience, improving the quality of life for patients. Lindi Skin also believes in giving. By aligning ourselves with various partners that understand the needs of patients, we aid in offering supportive care to those affected by cancer. Since 2005, we have donated over 900,000 products to various hospitals throughout the United States, caregivers and non-profit cancer organizations.

Lindy Snyder, Founder & CEO of Lindi Skin, has worked extensively with oncologists, dermatologists, skin care formulators, nurses, and patients to help develop the best possible products for the most sensitive skin. As a fellow cancer survivor, she understands firsthand how to transform the experience of skin care during treatment into a luxurious one, with the goal in mind of helping you look and feel your best.

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