WHEN THE DOCTOR DROPS THE “C*” WORD

*cancer

Cancer is always the one word nobody wants to hear at a doctor’s office. It is a word that in itself carries so much weight that often it does not require a complex sentence.

That’s because the word “cancer” defines our present and future, while slowly eroding our past to the point of total annihilation. Now, can you fathom what cancer, the disease, can do in our life, and by “our life” I mean the patient’s and their loved ones’ ?

As the caregiver, family member or loved one, we hold a crucial role in the battle against cancer, because the patient will always look to us for answers to the question they do not dare to ask, “Am I gonna die?”

The answer to that question must always be a resounding, “NO, you will not die!” We must breathe that answer, carry it in our body language and facial expression, so much so that when the patient has doubts, they only need to look at us to feel relieved and safe.

For that reason, we must be in control of our emotions during that determining moment, because how we, the caregiver or loved ones, react to the diagnosis will determine how the patient will handle the disease.

How do you achieve that goal? By following the R.O.B.E.D steps below:

R: Release of emotion

O: Optimism

B: Blame the patient

E: Encouragement/Empowerment

D: Determination

RELEASE OF EMOTIONS

Crying with the patient is good, because it is a sign of emotion release, and thus it is always welcome. However, crying for and in front of the patient is ill-advised as it may magnify the sense of terror that the patient is likely experiencing. It could hamper his/her ability to regulate their negative emotions towards the diagnosis, which could lead to those feelings lingering and being carried over with other negative feelings. This predicament could possibly create a situation where the patient will have to fight not just the cancer but himself/herself as well.

OPTIMISM


Positive and hopeful words are absolutely primordial, along with an optimism of steel. At the very moment of utterance of its name, cancer will try to break your spirit and drain your energy, and thus it is important that you protect your optimism with all your might. Stay hopeful at all times.

BLAME THE PATIENT


Avoid engaging in a game of “blaming the patient” by asking them why they did not take better care of themselves or why they let it go so far. They will most likely spend the entire time being angry at themselves and hating themselves for the cancer, and therefore your role will be to help mitigate those feelings of hatred with compassion, kindness and empowerment

ENCOURAGEMENT/EMPOWERMENT


The fight against cancer is an ongoing and formidable endeavor that requires immense strength and perseverance. It is a journey that extends over a significant period, marked by countless challenges and obstacles. These hurdles often take the form of disappointments, setbacks, and unexpected complications that can test one’s resolve and spirit.

To navigate this arduous path, it is crucial to cultivate a supportive environment at all times. Support can take various forms, including empathetic conversations, active listening, and encouragement. By extending unwavering support, you can empower your loved one to face the challenges brought on by cancer with renewed determination and resilience.

DETERMINATION


Cancer speaks one language and one only – threat, and boy is it loquacious. It never stays quiet, relentlessly “threatening” the patient’s life.

Sometimes it gives a false positive and others a false negative, including the ultimate threat dangling to your face everyday, which is that of impending death. Therefore, you have to be prepared and well equipped to handle this disease and the best weapon you have at your disposal is determination.

Determination to fight until there is one winner and one loser. Determination to overcome your own doubts. Determination for the patient, because they are gonna need an extra dose of it. In brief, determination to ensure that life wins in the end.


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