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"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," she says. When seeking help, think beyond concrete needs and include emotional support, too. "You can ask someone, 'Take care of my husband. He's suffering,'" Stonebridge says. 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 25

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center - Cover3
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