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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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The following is a guest post by Judy Brutz :

My husband has glioblastoma multiforme, an incurable form of brain cancer. Ted Kennedy died from it. The early challenges I am experiencing as a caregiver are disbelief, feeling overwhelmed, trying to define my role as caregiver, maneuvering a change in my marital relationship, recognizing the need for financial and legal planning, and caring for myself.

Disbelief. It is difficult for me to stay focused. It is hard to grasp what is going on. There are a few facts that I hold onto. My husbands’ symptoms developed rapidly during a four week interval. From being able to speak normally, he started searching for words, and then progressing to not remembering the names of objects, substituting words and phrases which didn’t make sense, to not being able to spell. He had an emergency MRI, which showed a large mass over his left temporal lobe. A rushed appointment for brain surgery was made in the next state. I was told that he would not be expected to live more than one or two years even with the tumor removed and aggressive treatment undertaken.

Overwhelmed. Initially I felt completely overwhelmed, like I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Ten days after surgery, I am going in and out of feeling overwhelmed. I realize that I’m not attentive to my surroundings, as though I’m zoned out somewhere. My center of my chest hurts. I know this to be a major sign of stress. Also my breathing is shallow. I must tell myself to breathe.

Caregiver Role. I’m abruptly being thrust into the role of caregiver, and I’m trying to figure out what this means practically. My husband’s expressive language limitations cause major problems in communication and in joint decision making. I need help in defining my role. Hopefully, when we go to the Cancer Center, the social worker will help educate me.

Marital Relationship. I’m having to take over decision making and financial management. My husband needs reminders and direction. We are both distressed. Both of us become frustrated and irritable with each other. He says things to push my buttons, and I react. I’m on a sharp learning curve. I need a support group and will go to a meeting this coming week. I also need personal counseling, and my appointment is made.

Financial and Legal Planning. I need to make sure that our affairs are in order. My husband had this role before his surgery. I’m discovering that our papers are in disorder. He may have allowed his life insurance, naming me as beneficiary, to lapse. I will go to a lawyer even though my husband does not want me to, nor does he want me to spend our money on legal fees. I feel conflicted in going ahead without our discussing and agreeing to a plan, but this is the new reality of our relationship and my role as caregiver.

Self Care. It is critical that I take exceptionally good care of myself. I have my own health issues and must not get run down or stressed. Otherwise, I will rapidly decline and then both of us would need caregivers.

Judy Brutz is author, spiritual director, retreat leader and speaker. She lives in Idaho with her family, and enjoys nature, knitting for peace, and volunteering. http://judybrutz.net

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

We wish Judy all the best on the difficult road ahead. Do you share any of these issues? Are there any coping strategies which have helped you?

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