Support Through Bladder Cancer: From Diagnosis and Beyond
Whether you are the one receiving the support or the one giving it - don't ever underestimate the "responsibility" that supporting or being supported can be throughout bladder cancer.
Like it or lump it, at some time in our lives we are more than likely going to be one of the aforementioned.
The power of support through bladder cancer
Giving support sounds easy, doesn't it?
There are lots of phrases out there. "Just tell me what you need." "Anything I can do, just ask." These are the phrases that I've heard most often, and to be honest, that I have also been guilty of saying to others.
"Guilty" you may say, but surely offering to do "whatever" is the right thing to say... Right?
That was until I was on the receiving end of needing support, of needing help. For most of us, owning up and saying out loud that we do need help isn't an easy pill to swallow. But receiving a cancer diagnosis is without a shadow of a doubt gonna change all that.
Before "jumping in" and offering to do everything. You need to first think about, realistically, what you can do or offer. Thinking first about your own work and family commitments.
So many cancer patients I have spoken to have often felt "let down" by family and friends. If you are offering support, be specific, think about your own commitments, what your availability looks like. Ask direct questions, for example:
- Have you got all your medication?
- Have you noted down when all your appointments are?
- Do you need transport to get to the appointments?
- Have you enough groceries?
- Do you want some company?
From this type of questioning, you will probably be able to make an informed decision as to what the individual needs, what you can realistically offer, and when.
Try not to over-commit because this can complicate things and feelings. It may be that you are not actually able to do the physical things due to your own circumstances. Instead, think about putting together a list of all appointments and sending it out to friends and family to "fill in the blanks". From my own experiences, I would have found this helpful, as treatment and the cancer itself can make you very tired and forgetful.
Support through bladder cancer
For me, this was most definitely the hardest thing. Asking for help was just not in my DNA. I had always been the one to keep the family running. Groceries and laundry, household bills, ensuring that the dog had her annual vaccinations/checkups, and then the quarterly grooming appointments. I also pretty much had sole responsibility for my aging parents.
When I thought about it, the list of my responsibilities was pretty daunting, even for the able-bodied. Throw a cancer diagnosis into the mix and it can all get a bit too much.
Whether you are giving or receiving the support you need to be clearly organized. Hence why I am a great believer in lists, spreadsheets, or group chat. Whatever is your favored form of communication. Ensure you have everyone's up-to-date contact details. I would really recommend doing this at the start of your diagnosis.
I didn't and before I knew it I was inundated with letters, appointments, tests, and treatments. Add to this fatigue and forgetfulness and well... You get the picture. So please learn from my mistakes and hopefully, this will help you stay in control of your journey with cancer.