When a loved one goes through chemotherapy it can be hard to know how to help. She may have unexpected side effects or reactions and she will probably need support. Here are some starting points that may help you to help her.
1) Reach Out to Her
Offer your support. It is possible that she may be feeling drained or may not want to impose on you. She may not ask for help even if she needs it. Making the first move lets her know that you are there for her and that she does not need to feel uncomfortable asking for your assistance.
2) Be Realistic
Offer practical support as well as emotional support. Running errands, bringing groceries, or offering to clean for her may be good places to start. She may have energy for some things and not others. She may have no energy at all. Ask her what she needs help with.
3) Ask Her What She is Experiencing
The possible side effects from chemo are many and many parts of the body can be affected. Researching the varied responses to chemo can help you to understand what she is going through. It may also help someone who has never been through the treatment to research which symptoms are possible. Keep in mind that the side effects may keep her from doing the basic tasks that she enjoys. Walking, reading, looking at a screen, and eating can be become problematic instead of enjoyable. Ask her what she is experiencing and if there is anything you can do to help her cope with the side effects. Sometimes even just having a someone to talk to can make her feel better.
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4) Help Her Caregiver
Do not forget that her caregiver may also need help during and after treatment. Helping a caregiver helps the patient too. Someone who is living with her or is helping out often may need a break or some support themselves. They may need to talk or need some specific help, so offer to be there for them as well.
The most important way you can help is to make yourself available to her. Letting her know that you are there may mean the world to her and may help her at a time when her energy is drained and some of her favorite things in life may be problematic.Whizzco