Caring for a person with cancer may mean light tasks like preparing meals and driving him to and from the hospital for treatments, or more demanding ones such as giving baths, helping him deal with the medication’s side effects, or delegating some work-related duties at the spouse’s office when he can no longer carry out the tasks himself. One common source of stress is when providing care for the beloved consumes a lot of time and energy on the part of the primary caregiver – often the husband or wife, or the closest relative in the absence of a spouse, says palliative care specialist Liza Manalo, M.D. of the Cancer Center at The Medical City.
Closely related to the matter of caregiver burnout is the tendency of some family members to stop engaging in hobbies and other regular activities to devote all their time to their sick beloved. This can take a toll on the person’s health, according to Dr. Manalo, and even put a strain on relationships. If you may be in such a situation, the physician points out that rest and recreation are fine even when a loved one is serious ill. She encounters quite a few who experience such feelings of guilt and recalls a counseling session she had with a patient’s wife.
As mentioned earlier, receiving a diagnosis of cancer does not mean a dead end. What it has actually been to many is an eye opener – one that has led them to re-evaluate their life, sort out and determine their priorities, and prepare well for whatever will come. The possibility that the time one spends in this life will be shortened has a way of jolting anyone into taking another perspective on life. Fortunately, such a shift in perspective – with the guidance of those around him – can help the cancer patient achieve proper closure by the time he breathes his last. And what family does not want this for their beloved? Knowing that he was able to settle personal, professional and family matters, and is prepared for whatever will come after he dies, expectedly gives the family peace of mind, too.
Faith and optimism
First Quarter 2014