5 Ways to Cope When Your Parent Has Cancer
You're not alone.
If your parent is sick, it fucking sucks. Be it, cancer, Alzheimer's, or loss of bodily functions, seeing someone you love deteriorate is never easy, and often times, something you can't prepare for. It can do many things; force you to reevaluate your life and priorities, or send you down a dark hole to depression, anxiety, or sadness. You might feel alone in this process or isolate yourself from loved ones. There are many articles about coping with such things but it's important to diversify your literature, because learning something new, or re-reading something you already know, can help immensely in the coping process.
1. Really, Really Accept What's Happening
Denial will get you nowhere and will hinder your coping progress. The news might not sink in immediately but you will need to fully wrap your mind (body and soul) around the news. It's your new normal and the more you understand that, the better you'll be for your family, friends, and yourself.
2. Plan It Out
If you're an Aries this will seem like a no-brainer but plan things out. If you need to take time off work, move back home, or assist in something, create a fool-proof plan that you can follow. It might change in a week, or a year, but having structure through a chaotic time will allow you to control the situation, as much as possible.
3. Do Your Research
How many times have you thought you had a life threatening disease when really your throat was just dry? The internet is a wonderful yet dangerous place. Simply googling a condition or diagnosis could have you spinning down a road you shouldn't be on. Doing your research through appropriate websites, books, and people will help get you answers you need, or at least prepare you for typical outcomes.
4. Make Your Own Support Group
Be it your family or friends, make a support group as quickly as possible. Having someone check in on you to see how you're doing will help immensely. There are plenty of organizations that can help if you don't want to discuss personal issues with people you know, but it will help if you do. And support doesn't have to be a conversation, find a running buddy or someone that can motivate you to be active, it's time to welcome endorphins.
5. Think About Others
Will your parent need live-in care? Will they have to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time? Out of sight, out of mind doesn't work here. Has your mom been by your dad's side since April? Is your father not cooking for himself? You are not the only one experiencing pain, sadness, or loss. Either be helpful, or ask for help. Set up meal plans, drivers, or allocate visits between you and your siblings to travel to see your parents. The stress a spouse can cause health problems as well.