Guest post by Marni Mandell
Learn How to Say What You Need to Say
Communicating your needs as a cancer patient with your friends and family can be a daunting task. Sometimes we really need help and sometimes all we need is a sounding board. As a caregiver, I’ve worked with a great deal of cancer patients over the years. When facing challenges, good communication is as important as ever. Here I’ve compiled seven tips that I’ve seen have really helped.
Blogging can be a fulfilling experience for cancer patients. Having an online space to express what you’re experiencing is a great way to get your voice heard. It’s also nice that it’s not towards one person, but rather your entire audience of family and friends. As you can imagine, this can be a huge time saver. Writing a single blog post weekly or even monthly is much easier than personally updating all of your loved ones. It also allows others to understand what you’re going through and how they may be able to help you.
When one of my good friends had breast cancer, I would find and read blogs out there from other women who had breast cancer. It would help me understand what my friend’s experience was like and helped me think of ways to help her. If she had written a blog herself, it would have made it that much easier to know what she needed. Sometimes my friends did, and it gave me confidence to help in specific ways that I now knew were needed. It also prevented me from asking too many questions that my friends otherwise would’ve had to answer over and over.
Expressing your needs as a patient can be hard to begin with, why make it harder by trying to express them out loud? Often times, writing can be more comfortable for patients. Next time you need something, try sending your friend a text message as opposed to calling them - and don’t be shy about being specific. Your friends will likely welcome the opportunity to help in specific ways that they know are needed
I’ll never forget the time I broke my foot. I had to wear a cast, and unfortunately not everything fits over casts. A few weeks into wearing it, I had an important business meeting. I had prepared for weeks, but I discovered late the night before that I had nothing to wear. Nothing could fit over that cast. Despite the time, I texted one of my best friends. No joke, within twenty minutes she was at my house with five dresses to choose from. I felt so good, and she appreciated the opportunity to help in a way she could.
For some, treatment is a personal decision; for others, the family is involved. Think about which decision-making format is best for you and stick to that.
This person or group should be in close contact with the doctor to best understand the demands of caregiving, your needs, and to be more confident about providing care.
Marni Mandell is the Founder and CEO of CareHood, a platform for patients and their caregivers to get the support they need from their friends, family, and community. The idea for CareHood was developed out of the challenges Marni encountered offering care and support for friends who were too far away for her to help when they were in treatment with serious illnesses and other physical challenges. Marni’s professional experience spans 15 years in executive-level management in the high tech startup world of Israel and the not-for-profit sector in the United States
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