Cancer is a scary word. A very scary word in fact. The word, cancer, didn’t enter my personal life until I was in my mid 20’s. My Pop was diagnosed with leukemia when he was around 84 years old. It was a hard battle for him, especially at his age so he decided to forgo chemo and live out his days with my Grandmother and close neighbors and friends nearby.
I remember back in 2011 that I had just gotten back from an incredible month trip with my sister. We had visited 9 different countries in Europe but if that wasn’t enough, I had given myself 48 hours to pack, unpack and then repack to be apart of my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding in Negril, Jamaica for a week. Oh, I know! It was a lot but also such an exciting time in my life.
Zach, his parents, and I had just touched down in Jamaica and had been there for a few hours getting settled into our hotel room when Zach got down on one knee and proposed! We both could not have been more excited and I remember calling my Mom soon after! She told the news to my Dad who was down in South Carolina at the time because of Pop not feeling great. My Dad shared the good news with him in the hospital and because he couldn’t speak at the time, he clapped his hands 3 times to say “I’m so excited for you both.”
Two days later he passed away.
I’m forever grateful he was able to learn about Zach and I getting engaged and I know would have loved to be around to watch myself get married, start a family of my own and become the person I am today. Cancer takes that opportunity away from us and it can be a challenging thing to cope with. If you have a loved one who’s been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, then you know the stress it takes on you, your family, and everything around you. How can you cope with everything?
Tips To Help Cope:
- Talk To Someone Both Professional and Non – I think this goes without saying that when it comes to learning all we can with this type of cancer, there is much to educate ourselves on. It would be wise to talk to professionals on the next step of the protocol, create a game plan, and then move forward. For my Pop, he didn’t want to go through chemo because of his age but for others, this might be a great option. As far as dealing with the emotional side, reach out to anyone that has gone through this to get advice, discuss your feeling with a trusted relative or neighbor and allow yourself to just be in those emotions.
- Be Honest With Yourself – Remember that it is not just navigating sudden role change that is making things difficult for you, but also the life-threatening illness of yourself or a loved one. Most people do, over time, develop a level of comfort, acceptance, and in some cases a sense of pride about their new role(s). This takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. It is important to believe that you can be the person that you need to be.
- Find Support Groups – There are several support groups that you can reach out including nationwide ones and ones in your local area. Be sure to check-in and offer your advice on what’s going on with the progress of your loved one as I’m sure everyone is going to want to know.
- Going Forward– If you’ve had someone you love go through this now wondering what if- that’s ok! Whether having inpatient or outpatient treatment, your health care team will continue to support you through the duration of your treatment and recovery.
How Can You Help?
With so much unknown still about this cancer, one of the biggest things we can do is help fundraise for it to keep the research going to help find a cure. Your donation will help them become one step closer to reaching that as well as help fund treatments and therapies that are saving lives as we speak! Even noncancerous diseases such as lupus and other autoimmune diseases have benefited from these advancements!
Every dollar helps. Truly. Consider donating HERE and learning about one of my sweet girlfriend’s Amber’s fight to help this disease! She shares her own personal story and how she’s fighting for change for this incredible community of fighters.