There is a lot that you learn about yourself and others when bad news arrives, something that happened to my family just 2 short years ago. My Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, news which shattered our family and left my Mum in a very difficult position. We were told that the cancer had been found early and that we shouldn’t worry too much, easier said than done. My Mum ended up having a lumpectomy and ever since has been in remission. We were fortunate that a friend of the family was one of the best breast cancer surgeons Los Angeles had to offer, and the way in which he supported our family was pivotal to us getting through it. I wanted to share the way in which he helped us so that you can help someone else out in the future should this terrible disease befall their family.
Open and Honest
One of the most important things to do with your family during this tough time is to be open and honest with how you are feeling. Many of us will go into our own shells or bury our heads in the sand when something bad happens but this can leave a lot of emotions unresolved, and they can manifest themselves in negative ways in the future. Make sure that, whenever possible, you are speaking in a frank way with your family about how you feel.
There are thousands upon thousands of cancer survivors each and every year and whilst there are always negative and tragic stories which you could read about this disease, there are just as many positive stories. It is therefore, important that you focus only on the positives and that you try as best as you can to have a positive outlook on the diagnosis.
One thing that really helped my family, and this was inspired by our surgeon friend, is our ability to look at the lighter side of things, this is of course not to say that we laughed at the situation, but there are some areas where you can find comedy. They say that laughter is the best medicine and this certainly helped us to deal with what was going on.
Just because the disease is being looked after by professionals, that is not to say that the family and the patient themselves does not have a responsibility towards what is happening to them. You must take ownership of the cancer in order to help your loved one to be as healthy and strong as possible. A doctor may prescribe a course of treatment but they do not look after the diet which your family member eats, or their level of exercise, nor the administration of the tablets. As a family it is important that you have an understanding of how to approach this disease and informing yourselves is the best way to do it.