Coping with Chemotherapy
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I was in my second year of studying Homoeopathic Medicine when my husband Jonathon was diagnosed with a lymphatic tumor the size of a football. What was presumed by his doctor to be a kidney stone, turned out to be the worst news a young couple with three preschoolers could hear. In our case, the time span between diagnosis and biopsy was the worst part of our nightmare. Feelings of uncertainty, helplessness and pure physical pain dominated Jonathon’s every waking moment, stretching our emotional resources to the limit. Only after a plan of action was settled upon, did the nightmare begin to lift. Jonathon was out of the physical pain from the tumor literally minutes into his first chemo treatment. That was a sign that things were going to turn up (and there was no where to go but up from where we were!). Not only did the chemo treatment look promising, it also gave us a point of reference and enabled us to once again establish a routine in our lives. It provided us with a mission to focus on and this gave us back some sense of control. Our job was to keep Jonathon healthy and positive during and between treatments in order for the chemo to fight his cancer most effectively. It soon became obvious that recovering quickly after each treatment would be the key to success. The side effects from the chemo drugs became the biggest hurdle to be overcome.
The isolation, fear and host of inexplicable emotions a person goes through after learning that they have cancer far eclipses any psychological crisis experienced by his or her immediate family members. One quickly learns the first rule of cancer support: unless you have had cancer yourself, you have no way of understanding what the person who has been diagnosed is going through. Any attempts to pretend to understand or identify with them will be counter-productive for everyone. Emotional support in the form of love, encouragement and acceptance of what is happening is the best thing one can offer a loved-one faced with a battle against cancer. What most families are not aware of, however, is that there is a way for you to play a more therapeutic role in healing the person you love. The purpose of this guide is to show you how.