Diseases change people; they make you stronger in ways you would not have anticipated. But, when something bad happens to your friend or family members, you often find yourself at a loss. You don’t know how to comfort them or communicate with them like you used to. Suddenly, some jokes become off-limit. You feel like you need to watch what you are saying. And in reality, you must be sensitive so that you don’t hurt the person who is already going through a terrible time. Sadly, there is no sensitivity training program for the family and friends. Worry no more! Continue reading this article to learn practical tips for communicating with a cancer patient.
Admit The Truth: The first thing you need to do is admit the truth to yourself. At times, the family, and friends are in denial because they cannot come to terms with it. You must acknowledge that something terrible has happened to the person you love. When you accept the truth, you are more in-tuned with reality. You will be less likely to say something insensitive once you have accepted the truth.
- Don’t make a big deal out of your accepting the fact. This is not your moment; you are not going through something terrible. It is the cancer survivor who is suffering each and every moment. Therefore, do it privately, even if you need time to process the news.
- Talk to the people you are close to about how you feel about the whole incident. But, be careful not to out the cancer survivor to people whom the patient has not told the news yet. If the patient decides to fight the battle without telling others, you should respect his/her privacy.
Take Cues From The Patient: At times, the patient might be afraid of the future. They might want to talk about death. Have that vulnerable conversation with your friend and let them know that you are there for them. However, if the patient wants to have fun and forget about cancer momentarily, you, too, must join the fun and not be morbid. It is best to let the patient set the mood of the conversation.
- Practice active listening. Your friend does not need advice from you; all they want is someone who would listen to them and nod in agreement.
- Be sensitive while you ask questions. The questions can be about their relationships or their health. You may have good intentions, but before you speak, make sure you are not being insensitive to their current situation.
Do Social Work: When someone close to you is a victim to a disease, you understand how unfair life is. Hundreds of people die each day for the lack of blood that cannot be produced at any factory. Donate blood to the blood banks and help people survive another day. At times, the blood is all a patient needs to survive and see another day. The plasma from the donated blood is used for other treatments of diseases. You may visit vitalant.org/platelets to learn more about the procedure before you donate your precious blood. One drop of blood can save someone’s life.