Cancer, You Can't Ruin My Family
By: Jada Hudson, M.S., LCPC, CADC
Cancer. For some it's just others' distant tragedy, but for some it's the enemy that ruined the family. A cancer diagnoses can surface unexpectedly, raising feelings of desperation, uncertainty, anger, and resentment, mixed with feelings of determination, hope, and courage. And, the family surrounding the cancer patient is often blindsided by their own feelings and responsibilities as they support their loved one.
Sadly, the strains cancer puts on a marriage relationship are often suffocating. Relationships begin to break down because of poor communication, grief over the loss of what was, guilt, inability to cope with stress, fear of the unknown, fear of death, uncertainty, shame, feelings of powerlessness, and anger for being put in this position. When children are involved, their primary source of emotional pain will come from lack of communication about the disease or avoidance of the topic of death.
While cancer wreaks havoc physically, it can also be wreaking havoc emotionally beneath the surface. So, how can families and patients overcome cancer's unique emotional wellness challenges?
1) Encourage open communication and discuss emotions often.
2) Seek family therapy at regular intervals during recuperation and remission.
3) Understand the possibility of the patient or members of the family developing situational depression.
4) Gain a better understanding of changing physical needs, and establish a "new normal."
Cancer can be scary, but it cannot take what you refuse to let it take. So, fight for your family and let diagnosis, treatment, and remission, bring you together, not apart.