When someone you care about is diagnosed with cancer, it can be a challenge to know what to do to help. We often face a dilemma of whether to get them gifts, stay with them or even wonder how to act normal about the whole thing. Typical get-well gestures like buying chocolate, flowers and balloons doesn’t quite meet the ever-expanding needs of cancer patients. Most of them receive quite a lot of gifts, encouragement and random quotes after their first diagnosis pushing them to be strong, be a fighter and have faith.
No matter who it is, people tend to become tongue-tied when it comes to chronic diseases. They want to say the right things but are scared that it might sound wrong.
However, it is not then that support is needed. It is when their treatments have finished. The important thing to remember about cancer is that it is a chronic condition - one that requires countless treatments over a rather long period of time, and one that results in an array of long term side effects both physically and mentally. As a matter of fact, patients not only need support, but need it consistently. They need uplifting encouragements throughout the entire process - from diagnosis to treatment to recovery and into thrivership.
Most of the time - if not always, people diagnosed with cancer are bombarded with warrior imagery, they’re called fighters and warriors and they’re told to “win the battle”. This imagery may help some people feel more in control of their experience and destiny, but it might push them to not show vulnerability -because if they do, they will seem weak or might lose their battle. And most importantly, don’t tell them stories about other people you know that have the same condition or same type of cancer; it will make them unnecessarily anxious and less compliant with medicine, and I’m sure that it’s the last thing you'd want to be responsible for.
Instead, admire their grace and ability to handle the whole thing. Act normal and don’t try to over-do it by emphasizing their weakness or physical changes. Stay positive around them, keep doing what you usually do with them and most importantly don’t make them feel less of a human.