Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Long Distance Cancer Love: How to Support a Cancer Friend when You Live at a Distance

Many people do not know what to say or how to support their Cancer friends when they live close by but it is much harder when you long distance and really want to reach out or help or connect with someone you know who is going through a cancer battle.

Here are some tips I found from "When Your Life is Touched by Cancer" by Bob Riter

  • Send notes of support. Let them know you are sending positive thoughts
  • People with Cancer often get lots of cards in the beginning but after things go on, those cards of support trail off. Be there for them by constantly sending cards and letters of support throughout their WHOLE battle. Not just at the beginning. The cards and notes they receive weeks and months after are especially treasured
  • Don't be discouraged if you don't get a response or they don't answer their phones. People in treatment often need to conserve their energy.  Know that your contact and attempt at connection really does mean a lot.
  • Educate yourself about their cancer. (Mine is Colon Cancer) Colon cancer is much different than lung or breast cancer. Knowing things on your end makes it easier for them so they don't have to keep explaining which can and does gets very exhausting.
  • Call, even if it feels awkward at first. Though they may not always remember what you said, they will remember that you called and cared.
  • Small gifts, unrelated to illness, are always welcome
  • Reach out to the primary caregiver as well. They are facing a rough road as well having to be the strength and support for their loved one.
  • Take part in cancer walks and donations to help out. It means a lot.
  • If you cant call or write, let them know via social media or text "Thinking of you" or things of that nature to help keep them boosted and supported.
More than anything the person dealing with cancer will appreciate the support in whatever forms you can give.

Distant friends and family can help people with cancer maintain the sense of who they really are and were before cancer.

Don't make their cancer or diagnosis or treatment about you. This isn't a time to be concerned with you, or your feelings, or how their cancer life affects you. This is a time for them. To be there for them. To love them. To care for them. I know I have had a few people say to me how much it hurts them that I have cancer and they can't be around me. It hurts when I hear that because I really want to say to them "You know this isn't about you right now, right?" But I don't. However, I will and am saying so right now so you understand how hard that is for a cancer patient to deal with because it isn't fair for me to have to console YOU about MY cancer.

If you feel cancer is changing your friendship, hopefully it is for the better. Be there for them. They really need you right now. they need your love, care and concern.

If you live close, then by all means, help out when and where you can. But don't bring sickness, illness or sick children around them as that could hurt them more than you know. their systems are weakened by the chemo and illness is deadly to a cancer patient. As much as you want to help, being sick doesn't help in the slightest.

Overall, just being there matters.

Show you love and kindness for them in the best way you can, just show it, do it and be there, one way or the other.

It will mean more than you know, even if you never get a thank you. A cancer patient is overwhelmed and going through a lot more than they proably share or talk about it. Be respectful and help them through it by not making it harder.

Send your love and light and let them know how much you care.

Until next time,

Trisha Trixie 

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