Gather Information

It is easy to feel pressured as you and your loved one begin to make decisions about which treatment(s) to pursue. In almost all cases, however, you do have time to slow down, think about your loved one’s goals and priorities, and talk with others. You will both quickly gain a sense of control about the next steps as you ask questions and partner with the medical team to develop a treatment plan. 

Many caregivers have shared that as their knowledge about cancer increases, they begin to feel more confident about managing all of the tasks before them. Some things to keep in mind as you gather information at the time of diagnosis: 

  • Think about helping the person who has cancer start a notebook or keep a folder where he/she can collect vital information about test results, treatment options, insurance issues, contact information, and valuable community resources. 
  • Know that you will not have all the answers to your (or your loved one’s) questions right away. 
  • Remember that caring for someone you love with cancer is about the relationship you share together and about learning to manage the new stress that cancer has brought into your lives.

Aim to Keep Lines of Communication Open

From the moment a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you will face many challenges. Do your best to share your feelings and concerns. You may each have deep fears that are hard to 
discuss. If you can cry, laugh, debate, and worry with each other, you will feel a greater sense of connection and understanding. If you are not able to share all of your feelings with your loved one now, find someone else with whom you can talk. It is also important to remember that sometimes the best thing you can do for each other is to just sit quietly together — be present, in the moment, sharing time.

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