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The Following is a guest post from Jayan :

I knew that cancer didn’t discriminate. I knew it didn’t care if the person was old or young or if the person already had enough problems. I knew all of this, but I didn’t know cancer had my sister’s address. Recently, my baby sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. My entire life, I’ve always tried to identify the hardest thing about living. Because my sister has been diagnosed with cancer, I now know what the hardest thing about living is. The hardest thing about living is watching someone you love die. Still, it would be selfish of me just to sit back and watch her die. If cannot save her, but I will help her by being there.

Being there is the best thing that any of us can do when a friend or family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Being there means more than just offering a shoulder to cry on; being there is more about helping those you love walk when they can’t walk themselves. Here is a list of ways in which I assist my sister.

My sister adores her four children so even when she is feeling her worst, she still wants them around. Her friends and I take turns shopping and preparing meals and snacks for her and her family. The only thing my oldest nephew has to do is heat the food, and the family has quick, homemade meals.

When my sister and her husband visit the doctor or when they want time alone, they know that my home is never locked to their children. My nieces and nephews receive more hugs and kisses than they actually want, but part of what I do to help my sister is to let her kids know that they are never alone. Quite often, my sister tells me that my love for her children is one of the things that helps sustain her.

Sometimes, I sit with my sister when she undergoes her chemo. We always said we would sit together in our old age, and we often laugh about this during her treatments. Sometimes we play games from our childhood, and other times, I simply hold her hand. When I’m out shopping, I’m constantly on the look out for books and movies that will make her laugh.

Surprisingly, most of the things that I do for my sister are things I’ve always done. I’ve always bought her gifts and helped her with her children. Even after having four kids, she still doesn’t hesitate to call me when she has strep throat or an illness she has caught from one of my nieces and nephews. I’ve always been there for my sister, and that’s the one thing that we can all do when our loved ones become seriously ill – we can continue to be there for them. Don’t give up, and don’t give in and run away. Be there.

Jayan writes about yoga, nutrition and weight loss. If you liked this article, please visit Indoor Chaise Lounges and Chaise Lounge Sofa.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jayan_B

Being there for someone who is dying is a wonderful gift, especially keeping things as normal as you can. If you are finding it difficult to be with someone who is at the end of their life, it might help you to read the book Gentle Dying by Felicity Warner – you can find a review on our website.

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Recently I wrote about how being married improves outcomes for those with cancer. Spouses make a difference! (See the post)

What I also knew was that the improvement for people with cancer comes at a cost to the spouse. The additional stress, extra workload and role of caring all have the potential to adversely affect the health of those around the person with cancer. It would seem likely that the greatest effect would be on those closest – the spouses – though this depends on many factors.

Research has recently been carried out in this area, and it shows that there is an increase in healthcare needs and psychiatric diagnoses (mental health issues) amongst those who have a spouse with cancer. According to the researchers, this effect is greatest in male spouses. Perhaps this would indicate that the support structure of friends and family, which is more common amongst women, can alleviate the issues to some extent.

The study was limited in scope to those issues for which medical help was sought, and I would suspect that there would be a larger underlying issue of health issues experienced by spouses for which medical help has not been accessed. The researchers also recognise that there is a need for further study to ascertain ‘how to support the partner in the most effective way’. Families Facing Cancer will welcome such research, and the implementation of its findings.

Ref: ‘Influence on the Health of the Partner Affected by Tumor Disease in the Wife or Husband Based on a Population-Based Register Study of Cancer in Sweden’ – Katarina Sjövall, Bo Attner, Thor Lithman, Dennis Noreen, Barbro Gunnars, Bibbi Thorné and Håkan Olsson.

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Who in your family has been most affected by the diagnosis of cancer? The first answer is of course, the person who has cancer. But how about the rest of the family, friends and so on?
In my workshop, ‘Life in the Cancer Fallout Zone : How Cancer Affects Family and Friends’, I ask the course participants to create a list of people who might be affected by someone else’s cancer. It’s a long list, and usually starts with a partner or spouse. Other family members include parents and children (and the experience differs depending on the age of the child in both these situations). Then there are brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and other wider family members. After that come friends – close friends, acquaintances and people who just know one of the other family members. Then there are colleagues, employers and even employees. And even, with today’s celebrity culture, people who have never met the person with cancer can be affected by hearing about them on the news. Any of these people can be affected by someone else’s cancer if it changes their life in some way, or provokes strong feelings for them.
The next question we think about is who is most affected, and the answer is always that the people at the beginning of the list are more affected than those at the end. It seems obvious. A partner is more affected than a cousin, for instance; an aunt than an employer. But the truth is that it is not so obvious. A partner may cope well, whilst the cousin feels they are falling to pieces. Or the employer may struggle to cope where the aunt is able to keep serene. Why is this? The truth is that although there may be more changes to the life of someone with a closer relationship, how well they manage those changes has little to do with the relationship. It depends more on the person themselves. What other traumatic events have they had to deal with in their lives? Are they a person who manages stress well? Do they have a support structure of friends around them who they can lean on? Are they independent, or used to depending on others? It can be difficult if the person they rely on is the one with cancer.
Sometimes time also changes who is coping and who is not. Someone who needs a lot of support at the beginning may get used to the challenges, and improve. Then those who have been supporting them may find they have their own issues and emotions to deal with now they have more time to think. Changes in the progress of the illness can also trigger new worries.
So how does this knowledge help? It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong. A person is affected in the way they are. They have their own viewpoint, their own worries, their own journey. If one person is having a harder time, be there for them, but also make sure you deal with your own feelings. That way you are less likely to be the person struggling next week.

With best wishes,
Anne x

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