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RELATIONSHIPS /// CHAPTER 63
Moving back to the nest
Even before your diagnosis, your relationship with your parents
had probably been going through some changes recently as
you move into the adult world.
You have probably started to take on much more responsibility
and have more control over your own life. You might have
moved out of the family home, have your own money and
started spending way more time with your friends than your
parents. You might be starting to feel pretty much capable of
looking after yourself and enjoying the freedom.
Then, wham! A cancer diagnosis hits, and everything changes.
Depending on what treatment you are having and where
you are being treated, you will most likely need (and want)
the support of your parents. You know you have to accept
the help, but it might not be easy to have your mom or dad
involved so much in your day-to-day life again.
You probably haven't spent this much time with your parents
for ages. Suddenly you will need them not only for emotional
support, but also for practical things like driving you to
appointments and cooking you food. You may have to move
home and accept help even to get dressed, take a shower,
or go to the bathroom. It can be really frustrating if you can't
do even basic things like that by yourself anymore (not to
mention embarrassing!).
On top of this, cancer treatment can be expensive, and you
might need your parents to help out with the financial costs.
You might really miss the independence that came with having
your own money, particularly when your friends and siblings
can still go out and buy their own things. It is likely your
parents are very worried about you and want to do everything
they can to make things easier for you. But sometimes it might
feel like they are fussing and nagging too much and starting
to treat you like a child again. You may think that they are
being over-protective and intrusive and start to feel irritated,
impatient or even resentful.
Taking the reins
While you can play a large part in making your own
medical decisions, parents sometimes feel like they
have more experience in making big decisions or that
they know what's best for you. They might want to step
in on your behalf and this can cause some friction. It is
important for you to maintain some independence and
be included in the decision-making process.
Accessing clear and accurate information and
understanding exactly what is happening to you can help
you to feel more confident to make choices and regain
some control over your life and body.
Helping parents to let go
Although you barely have the energy to think about
yourself, you really need to take control and let your
parents know how you want them to help - and when
you just want to be left alone.
Try to tell them clearly and calmly what you'd like
from them. Maybe you want to go to appointments by
yourself or manage your medications on your own. You
might want to let them know that the best help they can
offer is to be just a phone call away to help whenever
you need it, but you don't need their attention 24/7.
Some young people with cancer don't want to tell their
parents how scared, depressed or stressed they are
because they are worried about upsetting them (even
more!).
But keeping your emotions hidden is probably only going
to make you feel more stressed and alone.
RESOURCES
* Ulman Foundation
* Cancer.Net
" The word cancer was just as common in our house
as the word ice cream. By being open and honest,
our 3-year-old son helped me heal mentally and
emotionally while the chemo healed me physically. "
- Candice Stinnett
https://www.ulmanfoundation.org/caregivers/ http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/young-adults-and-teenagers/cancer-and-relationships/how-cancer-can-affect-your-family https://fwaya.org/ https://www.fwaya.org/

What Do I Do Now?

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What Do I Do Now? - 1
What Do I Do Now? - Contents
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