Skin Cancer Survivors – Cancer Caregivers – Providing Meaningful Support
For skin cancer survivors and those surviving any type of cancer or chronic disease, good meaningful support brings relief.
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with skin cancer you know how much support can mean to you.
Through the toughest times you need lots of support. Your cancer caregivers (those who support you) like your spouses or family members may also be in need of support during these times.
When the toughest times are past, then you all have an opportunity to give to others.
I’d like to tell you some personal experiences I’ve had with receiving support.
I underwent chemotherapy, a double radical neck dissection (12 hours) and then started 30 days of radiation. I had little physical strength left, but amazingly I remained among the skin cancer survivors.
My strongest support came from my wife and family members. My wife went way beyond what I could expect and so did some others.
I’ll highlight some outstanding support.
Since I first noticed a lump on the side of my neck, my wife urged me to go see a doctor, which I would not have. It wasn’t recognized as skin cancer on that first visit.
After a month it started to grow both inward and outward. It was diagnosed as squamous cell skin cancer. My wife and I read about this disease and what we ourselves could do alternatively. She helped me find stories about skin cancer survivors or any types of cancer survivors to encourage me.
When hospitalized she spent many entire nights with me. Arriving home she helped me make a change to a healthy diet and lifestyle. She cooked and even made the change herself.
She herself, at times, needed support. Her closest girlfriend provided that. Sometimes her friend came by the hospital every day with lunch or take her to lunch for a break. Seeing my wife supported, I was pleased.
My brother, a busy man, took time off almost every day and spent time with me. Even if it was short, his presence and a hug meant so much to me. He cancelled an entire week birthday vacation to be with me and I didn’t even know it. I even forgot it was his birthday. What great support from a great brother.
It was always uplifting to see my daughter, son, sister and some family members that I didn’t expect. One day my daughter brought a card that students in her class made and each student wrote something on it. It was funny. I showed everyone and it would make me smile and laugh all over again.
I remember that before my operation, people came by that I would never have expected. One was a person that I had a falling out with many years ago. It meant a lot just seeing her there.
Everyone helped me to keep my mind off of the operation.
Following all the treatments, I wasn’t able to work for a while and numerous people helped out monetarily. I was unable to support my family so this relieved stress.
Even my landlord lowered my rent for one month.
Radiation treatments were during the Christmas season. One family had been collecting food items and donations for the whole month. They showed up before Christmas with a pickup load of food and an envelope full of money. A surprise I’ll never forget.
During one hospital stay, someone heard my daughter telling me her brakes needed to be replaced. He offered to take care of it for me. What a relief.
After returning to work a few hours daily, one of my bosses gave me $40 out of his pocket every week. Another coworker came to me one payday and gave me $100.
My brother who owned the company donated some of his time every week to do some of my work and pay me for it.
All skin cancer survivors and all survivors have needs and when, as a supporter, you can be sensitive enough to see that need and fulfill it, you give heartfelt support. You WILL be rewarded.
All patients have needs and often want to talk about things that are important to them. Let them talk, LISTEN, don’t overpower them with what you think. It means so much to them. Be sensitive to what they say. Then offer what you can.
Remember that sometimes a patient loses hope. I myself have always tried to keep a very positive outlook and not even think about what could actually go wrong. I remember one time when I didn’t feel much fight left in me. People understood and didn’t just say, “Don’t worry, everything’s going to be all right”.
They listened, held my hand, and I found strength in their friendship and their love.
If you’re a cancer caregiver or skin cancer support giver then it’s important for you to know the disease, the treatment options, both conventional and alternative. Be willing to provide advice, but be sensitive about it.
Find out what they want to know about.
Don’t push something on them they don’t want. But if you must, BE SINCERE, and gentle. Assure them you care for them.
All skin cancer survivors have a story to tell and yours can be of great support to those facing what you already and still may experience.
Besides what you personally can do, there are skin cancer support groups and support groups for cancer of all types. An online search should find one in your area.