15 Things We Want Our Loved Ones to Know about Having Cancer

by Brittany McNabb-WhatNext

Family, friends, and loved ones are an important part of a cancer team. They can provide love, support, meals, hugs, words of advice, visits, cards, and a shoulder to cry on. Many WhatNexters say that they could not have done it without their loved ones but sometimes the patient and loved one relationship is hard because family and friends do not know exactly what they as the patient are going through.

Support

 Here we share some things, from a patient perspective, that WhatNexters with cancer want their loved ones to know.

1. Cancer can make us sensitive and more emotional.

“Cancer makes a person emotionally vulnerable and it is important to be sensitive to their feelings.” - lynn1950

15 Things1

via dailyrecord.co.uk

2. Every person’s journey with cancer is different and should be treated as unique.
“Each person with cancer is different and their journey is unique. Just because something worked for another loved one with cancer does not mean it will work for me.” - hummingbird

Blog2 Phillie Lake

via whatnext.com/pinboard (shared by PhillieG)

3. We may not be able to stay positive all the time but we are still trying.
“I will not be positive all the time. Sometimes people just need to vent or be realistic and then be positive the next day. Extreme optimism may bother some people (that are going through cancer).” - HHWIJN

Lady In Chemo Chair

via seattletimes.com

4. Visiting and spending time with someone with cancer is one of the best ways to help.
“It is important to visit the person with cancer. Money, phone calls, text messages and emails are very considerate, but can never replace the human touch felt during a human visit.” - Donnaakins

Visiting Cancer Patient At Home

via ibtimes.com

5. We are not our cancer.
“(I want people to know that) I am not my diagnosis.” - akristine

Kelly Gleason Kayak

via whatnext.com/pinboard (shared by kelley_gleason)

6. We might forget things from chemo brain or the general stress of having cancer and appreciate more patience from our loved ones.
“I may forget things due to chemo brain, treatment, or fatigue and may not be as reliable as I was when I didn’t have cancer.” - nancyjac

Two Old Ladies, Bad Memory

via emooutofchemo.blogspot.com

7. We need your support.
“Just stick around. A lot of friends ran when they found out I had cancer, but those that stuck around meant the most.” - Effiemae

Husband Comforts Wife In Hospital

via izifunny.com

8. We might want you to talk about it instead of avoiding the obvious topic.
“You shouldn’t shy away from talking about cancer. Sometimes we just need a friend to listen.” - hegerock

Woman With Husband Having Chemo

via the jc.com

9. It helps to hear survivor stories.
“(From a survivor’s perspective, if you have a loved one diagnosed with cancer) Nurture a positive attitude in them when needed and give them lots of hope with survival stories - they are the key!” - JennyMiller

Pink Hair Wig Ladies Hugging

via chron.com

10. We might want to talk to someone else with cancer who might understand better than you, but we are not trying to leave you out.
“People with cancer often need someone who is a friend who is also a survivor to talk to if family does not fully understand what it is like to have cancer.” - javert2

Ladies Holding Hands In Chemo Chairs

via columbian.com

11. Doctors are the experts and we will probably rely on their advice even if it means going against yours.
“(I want my loved ones to realize) that they are not the experts and I rely on my doctors for advice.” - ruthieq

Nancebeth With Oncologist

via breastcancerbattlescars.net

12. We might be tired than before we were diagnosed.
“I get more tired more easily and therefore will need more help with simple tasks than I used to.” - barbershopgirl

Girl Sleeping In Chemo Chair

via dailymail.co.uk

13. We still want to be treated like normal and do the same things we used to do.
“(I want my loved ones to know) that the best way to treat me is like normal.” - Brooklynchele

Gladis And Friends Being Silly

via whatnext.com/pinboard (shared by Lirasgirl33)

14. Sometimes just a few words of encouragement is enough.
“That sometimes all you need to say is ‘I’m sorry you are going through this.’” - pat7-21-2010

Black Man Hugging White Man Encouragement

via abcnews.go.com

15. You can and will make a difference to us even if you feel helpless.
“My family felt a helplessness in not being able to make me feel better all the time; I didn’t like seeing them go through that. Yes this year with cancer has been full of trips to the hospital, dealing with treatments, etc. but those are not the memories I hold onto and I hope they know that. I only remember and cherish the good times. Our camping trip, the many birthday celebrations, the outings with friends and family...those memories are important to me and made a big difference.” - Lirasgirl33

Hugging Bald Girl Family Support

via bingleymusiclive.com

We hope this encourages patients and loved ones alike to hang in there and have each other’s backs even when it gets tough. Banding together against cancer will only make you stronger. If you have any pictures of you and your loved ones throughout your cancer journey please post them to our WhatNext Pinboard and tag “inspiration” and “support” so we can all share in the love and encouragement you have experienced.

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