There are steps you can take to ease your family's journey through cancer.
Here are a few:
- Educate yourself, your family and -- as much as is appropriate -- your child about cancer and its treatments. The more all of you know, the more empowered all of you will be when it comes to making treatment and care decisions.
- Preserve a sense of normalcy in your child's and family's routines by maintaining, as much as possible, the usual bed times, meal times and chores.
- Try to do one enjoyable activity every day, whether going to the park, watching a movie, having a friend over, listening to music or eating a special meal.
- Help your child and family stay in contact with friends and family, even when everyone is tired and the schedule seems overwhelming. If possible, use email and the telephone to your advantage to efficiently stay in touch with friends and family. Reach out to others and try to accept support when it's offered.
- Help your child find outlets for his or her emotions, which can be wide-ranging and sometimes unpredictable. Encourage your child to express feelings through journals, drawing pictures, talking with friends or a close relative, support groups or other means.
- Engage your child in physical exercise and play when energy allows. Your child will feel better if he or she can continue to move through walking, yoga, stretching, swimming or your activity of choice. If your doctor says it's okay to exercise, take advantage to the benefit of your physical and mental health.
- Maintain positive attitudes as much as possible even though it can be a major challenge in times when your child or family members are feeling sick, sad, angry, stressed or depressed. You obviously can't ignore those feelings, but a positive attitude -- even striving for a little humor when appropriate -- can improve your child's recovery.
Contributing sources: American Cancer Society, Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center.