Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - North Mississippi - 25
"I felt like I needed
to run my house, but
there were times when
I didn't have enough
energy for that.
There were times
when I couldn't even
change a diaper."
TREES ILLUSTRATION BY JAMIE FARRANT/GETTY IMAGES
Accept a Helping Hand
One common problem for people with
cancer and their families? Not knowing
what help might be needed. Stonebridge
suggests making a list-maybe you need
your laundry done, or your kids need a
ride to soccer, or your caregiving partner needs a night off. And if someone
offers help and you don't know what you
need off hand, ask them to text you once
a week to ask, or to stop by with coffee
or breakfast on a specific day.
The effects of chemotherapy were a
big unknown for Perrier. "I knew I was
going to get sick, but would it be in five
minutes or would it take a day?" Welltimed offers of help could dovetail with
the days when she didn't feel well.
Perrier appreciated offers of playdates
for her young son. "After a lot of treatments, I either couldn't leave the house,
or I could drive but not go into someone
else's house. There were a handful of
people who reached out and offered to
pick James up for a playdate. That made
me feel like he was being taken care of,"
When seeking help, think beyond concrete needs and include emotional support, too. "You can ask someone, 'Take
care of my husband. He's suffering,'"
That's a technique that helped Perrier.
"Bill was afraid to talk to me because he
thought it would make me more upset.
So when his family said, 'What can we
do for you?' I said, 'Take care of Bill.'
I needed his family to talk to him and
make sure he was OK."
Caregivers, in particular, need to feel
comfortable asking for help. "Recognize
that this has a great impact on you.
You're not getting treatment, but you're
living and breathing all aspects of the
experience," Binda says. "You can be
just as afraid and just as overwhelmed
as the person with cancer."
And while it may be hard, understand
that you and your family can't control
the way other people react to the cancer
diagnosis. Some people may be overbearing with offers of help, while others
run the other way.
WINTE R 2016