I have had the privilege of speaking to a few 3d real mink blink eyelashes over the past few weeks who have loved ones with cancer. One question that unites them all is, ‘How do I treat them? What do I say to them?’
I smnta have been on both sides of the line having been diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and then a year later my mum was also diagnosed with cancer.
Just to give you an insight into my state of mind when I was diagnosed, I was really scared. I was scared for myself and my daughter Laila and for my unborn child. Would I live to see them grow up? Would I be able to continue my pregnancy and hold my second child in my arms? And I was angry. I was angry that I had this disease. Why did it choose me? How could I let this happen? Then came the guilt. As the treatment started and I became less able to do all the things I used to do, the guilt set in. How could I put my family through this? I could see the pain in their eyes. How could I poison my 3d real mink blink eyelashes child with the chemotherapy drugs? How could I burden my friends and family with this illness?
It felt to me like I had this ordeal to get through, but it was my ordeal that I had to deal with on my own. No one could do it for me. I felt sad enough for myself without anyone feeling sadness for me. When I was treated with sadness it would completely overwhelm me and I would try my best to avoid such situations. I still do.
These emotions are a snapshot of what may be going on for your loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer. But ultimately I was still a mum and a wife and a daughter and a friend, irrespective of my situation and I was determined to keep being those things for a very long time. It was important to me to maintain as much normality in my life as possible and this had a direct effect on how I wanted to be treated.
For me, 2007 the year I went through my treatment, was a relatively normal year. I did the nursery school run every morning and evening. I cooked food, cleaned the house, nurtured and delivered a baby, did the three hourly feeds through the night, changed nappies, saw friends, worked in the garden and did all of the things that a woman on maternity leave would have been doing with or without cancer.
Of course there were days that I wasn’t able to do much at all and on those days I had friends and family there to support me. My partner Laith would do the nursery runs, he would pick me up from the hospital after chemotherapy, make food, change nappies, work from home, whatever was needed to accommodate me. My friends rallied round when I needed help with the children and also when I needed a shoulder to cry on or a good laugh. And my mum left her husband at home for 3 months to come and live with us and take care of me. But it was great just being treated as a friend or mum or daughter or partner, nothing more and nothing less.
My two and a half year old daughter, Laila, didn’t really notice that I was ill and that was intentional on my part. It kept the effects of the illness away from her (why should she suffer because of my illness) but it also had a powerful effect on my attitude to the illness and my will to survive. Secondly, there was no time to feel sorry for myself and this was a huge blessing. Its so easy to slip into a negative mindset.
I firmly believe a cancer diagnosis is harder on the friends and family than on the person diagnosed. Of course, it’s devastating for the person with cancer but dealing with the day to day effects like hospital appointments and doctors etc is relatively easy. Dealing with the helplessness of watching someone go through the treatments (which can be brutal) is a very hard task.
Cancer is a family disease and as the supportive family member or friend it is important to take care of your self. Take time out to revive your spirits. Then spend quality time with your loved one. Plan on outings around their schedule when they are feeling strong. Appreciate them. Hold their hand and give them hugs.
In a research study on heart disease conducted in Ohio in 1970, where rabbits were fed high cholesterol diets, consistent results were occurring in all the rabbit groups except for one where 60% fewer symptoms were displayed. In trying to understand the outcome, they discovered that the student who fed them was lovingly picking them up and stroking them. These results have been duplicated in numerous other studies and demonstrates the power of touch.
The things I remember about my year of treatment are the surprise night out with a friend, the birth of my daughter, the very well attended surprise birthday party, the sneaky road trip to France, The love and support from friends and family and never being made to feel uncomfortable by people’s actions or about the way I looked (without eyebrows and 3d real mink blink eyelashes or with my wig on) and for that I am extremely grateful.
Your loved one is still the same person he/she was before cancer. Be supportive and kind. Stay upbeat. They need normality in their lives. They need people to be strong around them because they will feed off that strength and it will enable them and empower them to make it through another day or another week, or another month.
For those who don’t know me, I really just wanted to introduce 3d real mink blink eyelashes to you. In brief; I am a mother of two absolutely amazing little girls and a former cancer patient.