Caring for someone with lung cancer is both rewarding and difficult, to say the least. It comes with a level of responsibility you might never have seen yourself taking on. And many times, it’s a job you’re not trained to do. But the fact is, your loved one needs someone in their corner to support them and help make sure they’re on the right path. Here are some things you can do.
- Advocate for Health: Part of caring for someone living with lung cancer is serving as their eyes and ears. Attend as many doctor appointments and meetings as you can. Take notes. Create a calendar that both you and your loved one have access to, so you don’t miss appointments or treatments. Don’t be afraid to question doctors or speak up about things you don’t understand. Your loved one probably doesn’t understand either and might be too scared, shy or exhausted to ask
- Rally the Troops: If there are other friends and family members who are offering to help, let them. Assign someone to coordinate visits, calls, house tidying and meal drop-offs to help make your loved one living with lung cancer feel loved and supported
- Express and Accept Emotions: Some days will be good, other days may be more challenging. One day your loved one might feel great and be able to go for a walk, the next day they won’t. That’s the reality of lung cancer. Take time to sit down and talk with your loved one. Ask how they're feeling. Really feeling. Let them laugh or cry when they need to, and try not to feel the need to know why. Take advantage of the many support programs that exist to help you and your loved one get through this time
When you’ve taken on the responsibility of caring for someone else, caring for yourself can easily fall to the wayside. It’s normal, natural, but it’s something you should try really hard to avoid. Finding ways to take care of yourself is so important. You’ll be of no use to your friend or family member if you become unhealthy or exhausted yourself. Here’s what you can do.
- Eat Well and Exercise: Seems like the solution to everything, doesn’t it? Well, it kind of is. Maintaining your personal health and wellness routine is key to being able to handle the curveballs life will inevitably throw at you. Block off some time to cook a nice healthy meal, prep snacks and get some physical activity. Your brain will thank you. And so will your loved one
- Seek Help When Needed: Caring for someone with lung cancer can be a 24/7 job. It’s exhausting on its own but becomes even more stressful as you watch someone you love fighting a battle. Seek help when you need it. Talk to your own doctor about counseling services, support groups, or therapists that specialize in helping people with lung cancer and their loved ones. Or just talk with someone you trust
- Find People in Your Same Boat: It’s easy to feel like you’re the only person in the world experiencing what you’re experiencing and going through what you’re going through. But that’s not true. Seek out other people who are or have cared for loved ones with lung cancer. They might have insider tips and tricks to help you handle this. And even if they don’t, it may be nice to talk with people who get it
- Know Your Limits: Yes, what you’re doing is important and necessary, but you can’t solve and fix everything. Be honest with yourself and your loved one about how much energy you can devote