At a recent Friday evening ‘client support party’ we had some interesting input. Two men were in the group who were there to support their wives, both of whom were dealing with advanced cancer.
As usual, everyone in the room shared their ‘story,’ unless they chose not to. They shared their experiences, how they had dealt with specific situations, what they had found helpful, sources of supplies, where to get the best services, the best brands of equipment, the best prices, and more. There is a huge amount to learn and share when your life changes as a result of cancer, and you are doing all you can to reverse a non-helpful lifestyle and develop a lifestyle that supports you and your wellbeing.
As the two men shared their story, I realised that many of those present had not thought of this aspect of their situation.
In any close relationship, one person plays a role in helping and supporting another. Husbands are used to being the support of their wives. Wives and mothers are used to supporting and helping their husband or children. Parents are used to helping their children and later in life their parents, and more.
When someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer, several things change.
You are deeply distressed for them. You may be afraid. You almost certainly want to help but don’t know the best way to do that. This can leave you feeling powerless, apprehensive and distressed, both at the possibility of losing them and over how you can cope. Many ’supporters’ have said they feel dreadful and often are in need of some support themselves. Often times, this causes feelings of conflict as they think it is selfish to need support when the person with cancer has the much greater worry and problem.
One of the husbands said he really wanted to ask his family for some support for himself, for some understanding and encouragement, but that he didn’t do this as it would seem selfish when his wife was the one that was so ill.
The other gentleman said he felt incredibly lonely, and also upset that the focus of the rest of the family was entirely on his wife when he too would have loved some support. At the same time, he was ashamed of himself for the selfishness of these emotions.
Happily, the two husbands exchanged phone numbers and arranged to talk together in the weeks ahead.
As a psychotherapist, as well as a naturopathic nutritionist, I am in a position to offer help. I often say to the ‘support partner’ that I do understand that they may need help and that they are welcome to book in for a consultation for themselves. I explain that taking care of themselves may better equip them to care for and support the person with cancer.
*These free client support evenings are held twice per month and are open to all of Dr Xandria Williams clients ‘. The next one will be held on 2nd November at 6:30pm. Booking is essential – please call 020 7824 8153 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you are coming!