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Supporting Your Loved One FAQ

Caring Tips For Supporting Your Loved One.

How should I act?

Try to remain upbeat and remember that positive thinking can have a big effect on the body. Being strong and upbeat gives the patient a reliable person to lean on. However, be honest. Do not tell your loved one everything will be fine when it might not be true. Instead, try to find moments of laughter and joy together. Focus on positive thoughts and all the good you can find in your situation. Keep doing fun activities together and share as many upbeat moments as you can.

When things get difficult, remain calm. There may be times when the patient’s condition worsens and you have to make a quick trip to the emergency room. It’s important to remain calm and deal with the matter without panicking. Preparing yourself ahead of time, both emotionally and by having things laid out for an emergency trip, will help immensely. In addition, you will have your own set of difficult emotions and fears. Try to face these fears first, so that you are truly able to be there for your loved one.

What kind of help can I give?

You know your loved one best. You know their personalities and probably have a good sense of their fears. Depending on what your loved one is like, they may need time to grieve the diagnosis, or they may want to get immediately to work finding out everything they can. If you're in doubt about how to help, ask your loved one gently how you can help.

How can I alleviate my loved one’s fear?

It’s natural to want to take away your loved one’s fear and bear the burden yourself. You won’t be able to take away their fear or anguish completely, but your support is vital. Be there for them, listen to their worries, tell them you love them, hold them, be a shoulder to cry on, be non-judgmental. Being present and attentive is vitally important. Initially, just listen as they speak of their greatest concerns. Then you can eventually help them by providing positive feedback – about their chances, about anything. As they progress, motivate them to take charge of their cancer care, help them find positive literature, or even find other cancer patients to connect with. Our Patient Services manager has a wealth of resources to help.

Are there specific things I should be doing?

Love them. Be vigilant of your loved one’s needs and encourage them with positive messages. Handle logistics at home and at the doctor’s office. Attend appointments. Be their voice – making sure their needs are met. Be their spokesperson when they cannot deal with friends and family.

Are there other cancer patients or survivors I can connect with my loved one?

Cancer patients share a deep understanding and compassion about what your loved one is going through. Therefore, it’s very important to reach out to other cancer sufferers. It helps your loved one realize that they are not in this alone. At the SCCA Proton Therapy, we always try to connect you with others going through the same thing. Please ask our Patient Services manager how you can connect with other patients or survivors by calling 1-855-528-7248.

My loved one is pushing me away. Why?

Cancer is very personal, and sometimes a patient needs space to cope with their feelings. It’s best to know when to give them that space. At these times, you can make them comfortable and safe and give them some private time to deal with their thoughts and emotions. Let them know you’ll be there for them any time they need you.

I feel drained and unable to cope. Is that okay?

Cancer is exhausting for both the patient and the caregiver. There is much uncertaintly, emotional highs and lows, hope, dispair and numbness. As a caregiver, you put a lot of energy into being upbeat and positive, even though you are devestated inside. You need a caregiver yourself. It is important to reach out to friends who can listen to your concerns, and who can help alleviate your burden, both emotionally and by taking over some of your chores. We advise doing something to reenergize yourself. You might consider counseling, time to yourself, or doing things you enjoy such as exercising, cooking or gardening. It’s important to not carry this burden alone, and to let others help. A good place to start is by contacting our Concierge Team. They can refer you to counselors at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance or Seattle Children’s.