Hearing the news that someone you love has a blood cancer can be one of the most overwhelming and devastating times of your life. Whatever your relationship with that person, it’s natural to feel a range of emotions.
You may struggle to know what to do for them and you may feel helpless, scared or worried that the person you care about going through a difficult time in their lives.
If you’re a carer, it’s likely you’ll experience many of the same thoughts and feelings that the patient faces too; just at different times and for different reasons. Whilst it can be difficult to forget your own needs, it’s important you look after yourself too. These tips may help:
- Don’t overlook your own thoughts and feelings. If you’re struggling, talk to your GP
- Take some time out for yourself; do the things you enjoy and spend time with other people
- Try to eat and drink enough and get enough sleep
- Don’t be afraid to read information on the type of blood cancer your loved one has. The more you know, the more you can help and offer support
What can you do to help
If you’re not the main carer, there are many ways in which you can help. You’ll be surprised how the smallest of efforts can go a long way.
- Ask, ‘What can I do to help?’ or, ‘Let me know if I can help.’ It’s a subtle way to let them know you’re there and that you care, without bombarding them
- Listen without judgement or interruption. Sometimes, the patient does not want advice, but someone to listen to them try to make sense of everything. Sometimes a hug can be all that’s needed
- Let them know that you are there whenever they need you. Sometimes just dropping the patient a text message lets them know you are thinking of them. They’ll come back to you in their own time, even if it’s not straightaway
- You can help with the practical things like driving them to and from the hospital, cooking meals or doing their weekly shop
- Check the best time to visit. Sometimes, although you mean well, the patient may not feel like seeing any visitors or feel up to socialising