Community Views: Support From Family and Friends During Bladder Cancer
Last updated: April 2023
Bladder cancer can be an overwhelming journey. Having support during bladder cancer treatment eases the burden. Sometimes, loved ones may not know the best ways to offer support. They are walking this road for the first time, too.
Members of the BladderCancer.net Facebook community recently answered the question: "How have you been best supported by loved ones while you've been going through treatment?"
Care partners can gain insight from the responses.
Many respondents shared the importance of a loved one's presence. At times there are no concrete actions or tasks others can do. Being present makes a difference. Care partners who sit through surgery, treatment, and recovery bring compassion. There is comfort in not being alone.
Respondents also expressed gratitude for friends supporting their partners. Bladder cancer takes a toll. Knowing a partner has support feels reassuring.
"For me, it was my husband. He sat by my side in the hospital every day. I am eternally grateful that he got me through my massively invasive surgery."
"My wife. I could not have gotten through this without her."
"My husband, family, and friends! Not only support for me but for my husband also!"
A bladder cancer diagnosis is news to the entire family. There is much for everyone to learn.
The person with cancer feels supported when care partners learn alongside them. Partners can show interest in what bladder cancer means. Then your loved one knows that their partner shares the burden.1,2
"My husband has gotten to know every part of me on a level I'm sure he never envisioned. I'm grateful for how graciously he has handled it all!"
"My hubby was diagnosed and went through surgery during COVID. I was just happy and relieved they let me attend his appointments and be with him before and after surgery so I could support him and learn how to help care for him when he came home."
Some actions are helpful to those going through bladder cancer. Driving to appointments and bringing meals both reduce stress. Encouraging and actively participating in post-surgery exercise aids the healing process.
"My middle daughter took off 1 month from her work as a police detective to be with me when I went in for RC [radical cystectomy, surgery to remove the bladder]. When I came out of post-op, she stayed overnight at the hospital the first night and walked with me daily, so I healed quicker. She ensured I ate even when my appetite was nonexistent for a while and took me to follow-up appointments."
"My sister stayed with me the first night after a TURBT [transurethral resection of a bladder tumor, a procedure to look for and sometimes treat cancer cells]. The second night I felt so good I sent her home. A few friends brought over lunch and meals. Although I didn't need it, I loved the company. Friends called to check in."
Other helpful tasks
Following surgery, those with bladder cancer may need help dressing or bathing. Brain fog can also linger after surgery. Care partners can help by keeping the schedule of medicines. This ensures the person recovering gets their medicine as needed.1,2
Taking on extra chores and running errands shows love and concern. For example, friends can:
- Pick up groceries
- Go to the pharmacy
- Run the vacuum cleaner
Pets as companions
Several shared the comfort of pets during bladder cancer. Pets have an intuitive sense when something is wrong. Pets stayed close while respondents were healing. They offered unconditional love.
Pets also helped community members maintain some level of activity since most need walks or a clean litter box!
"I had 3 little rescue dogs that were as good as gold and never left my side."
"My 3 cats are excellent nurses."
"My 2 poodles are great nurses."
We at BladderCancer.net appreciate all our community members' thoughtful responses to our questions. Everyone benefits from these ideas for supporting a loved one with bladder cancer.
Has cancer impacted your mood during the holidays?