A guardian or caregiver is a person who offers unpaid assistance or organizes for help to take care of someone with a disease or disability. Assistance presents in several types for caregivers. It can be spiritual, financial, or emotional. The best assistance is acquired from those who have ‘been there and can help you learn about choices for treatment, resources for guidance and support, and goals and outlooks for recovery.
It is convenient to forget to care for yourself, especially when you are taking care of someone else. It gets too difficult to concentrate on other responsibilities, such as work, family obligations, and other demands – and the pressure continues to rise. But there are other means to make time for yourself, as this is important for your own wellness. Despite the challenge and difficulty, always strive to find equilibrium between caring for your loved one and taking care of yourself. With this goal in mind, you will be less fatigued or miserable about caregiving. Don’t forget that making an effort to care for yourself is not at all selfish.
Individuals who are forced to play the role of a caregiver can potentially find that balance as they learn to deal with the responsibility given to them.
Caring For Yourself – Tips To Remember
- You can assist your sick loved one is thinking through his treatment choices, concerns, and goals during this tough time.
- The healthcare team can guide you through expectations and planning. Healing after treatment takes time, and it definitely helps if you are ready. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to the medical team.
- If someone gives help, say ‘yes’ if you want to. It is important and encouraged to accept help from those who want to give it to you.
- Get tips from individuals who are caregivers like yourself. Their past and current experiences are almost always very helpful.
- Make a schedule for your self-care day. You will be inefficient in helping others if you do not know how to take care of yourself efficiently.
- If you are sad when you think about your previous stress-free life, that’s normal. Just give yourself some space to grieve.
- Concentrate on what really matters most and find ways to love and appreciate the brief moments of happiness.
When Your Loved One Changes
Confusion, anxiety, anger, mood swings, and depression are typical symptoms for individuals diagnosed with a brain tumor. Personality changes result from the tumor, the treatment, or the patient running out of means to deal with the illness. Under all circumstances, these personality changes can be tough to deal with, whether or not they are minor or major.
Talk to your physician if you notice these kinds of changes. A lot of emotional swings can definitely be managed.
Managing Tough Moments
- Be empathetic with yourself. Allow yourself to separate your emotions from your actions.
- Do not let your negative emotions like resentment, guilt, or anger grow. Accept your feelings so that the problems can be addressed.
- Do not forget that you are not required to have all the answers or repair all that is broken.
- Find support groups that can help you learn coping strategies. You can start a family meeting and let the rest of the family know that you need help.
- Set boundaries. It is not a crime to say ‘no’ when you are unable to do something.
Making Crucial Choices
Frequently, a brain tumor makes it more challenging to think straight and process information. This might be because of the tumor pressing on and pressuring the brain, from simply feeling overwhelmed, or perhaps from the treatment. Whatever it may have caused, a family member or a loved one may need to become the patient’s care manager or advocate. If you need to become the decision-maker for your loved one’s treatment, keep in mind that you can ask questions, do some research, and seek support before making any major decisions.
A brain tumor is not similar to other bigger life events. It can be longstanding and frequently unpredictable. Try thinking through logical short and long-term expectations.
Simple Suggestions When Making Crucial Decisions
- Consult with the best doctors, counselors, and other medical professionals in your area for a second opinion.
- Learn more about brain tumors – their types, degree, location, treatments, and other goals for recovery, as well as side effects.
- Learn and understand the pros and cons of treatment options you find possible to do for your sick loved one.
- Make a list of your loved one’s needs and categorize the tasks that your loved one can do with and without your assistance.
- Identify and respect the wishes and abilities of your loved one.
- Set boundaries for yourself as well. Put a line between what you are capable of doing and what you cannot do for your loved one.
- Talk to a social worker or counselor. They can answer a lot of your personal questions.
It’s scary to think about a different future than what you had planned. It can also be hard to talk about sensitive subjects. Finding ways to have a conversation about what is actually happening does make people feel comforted and reassured. The talk usually leads to optimism and anticipation of the life that you have with your loved one. Often we want to spend quality time with family, as the rest of the members try to make peace with the situation.
If your family is having trouble doing this by themselves, talk to a therapist or counselor so that someone qualified and experienced can guide and walk you through the healing step by step.
With some guidance and support, most of us can learn to deal with our emotions and the changes caused by a brain tumor and its treatments. Brain operation is difficult for the body to take, but you can better handle the process. This is a fact for the patients as well as those who are caring for them.
- It’s not uncommon to feel insecure, puzzled, mad, and scared about getting a brain tumor diagnosis – and it is possible to cope with these emotions.
- You can be empowered and try to get a sense of control over the illness.
- Be patient with your loved one and with yourself, too, particularly with the gradual movement of the entire treatment process.
- There is no wrong question, so don’t be afraid to ask.
- Be open to your family and your healthcare team to help you keep the treatment plan on schedule.
- Strive to love the things that make life worth living.
Dealing With Personality Changes
Anger, confusion, mood changes, and depression are usual symptoms for individuals with brain tumors. Personality changes are a result of the tumor, the treatments, or simply feeling hopeless. Under all circumstances, these personality swings can be tough to deal with, regardless if they are minor or major. Talk to your physician if you observe these kinds of changes. Several emotional changes can be managed with medication, and you can find help through these tough times.
Dealing With Behavioral And Cognitive Changes
The treatment for a brain tumor – and the brain tumor itself – can result in many alterations in your cognition and behavior. You could have difficulty with focus, mood, memory, and communication. These difficulties can definitely impact your day-to-day living, and they don’t often disappear. All of these can stress out all of those who are involved.
Medicine therapy and counseling could also be recommended to help deal with the changes mentioned above. Additionally, cognitive rehabilitation strategies can certainly help as well.
Cognitive rehabilitation assists you in reclaiming as much of your physical, emotional, and mental capacities as possible.
- Compensation methods develop other abilities to make up for skills lost from the illness. For instance, exercises to build speech, movement, and vision. When complete recovery is not achievable, compensation can include knowing how to survive memory loss through reminder systems, organizers, and calendars. Family members and other caregivers can also take advantage of these compensation tools.
- Anger management could include counseling, medication, and training to help patients who find themselves frustrated, temperamental, or impulsive.
Caregivers can benefit from compensation strategies or anger management techniques to keep the high level of perseverance necessary.
Coping With Depression And Anxiety
Feeling worried about the tumor or the treatment plan is not uncommon, but it still causes every circumstance to be more severe. Frequently, depression comes with anxiety. A treatment plan can include antidepressants or antianxiety medications, counseling, and relaxation exercises. Communicating your emotions with a qualified professional to relieve yourself of your concerns can certainly help.
- Symptoms of depression are hopelessness, irritability, feeling moody and withdrawnness, and inability to concentrate. Some individuals resort to hurting themselves, which implies severe depression. Depression can and must be treated.
- Symptoms of anxiety are restlessness, sweaty palms, a fast heartbeat, and constant fear. If you are worried, then you must talk to someone about it. This is the initial step to reclaiming control over your life.
Dealing With Seizures
Seizures occur when an atypical surge of electrical brain activity leads to an attack. It causes staring, loss of consciousness, or abnormal muscle contractions. Some individuals with brain tumors get to experience several seizures, while others only have one. Seizures are more seen in low-grade gliomas, but they can also happen in most forms of tumors.
Patients who suffer from seizures that involve consciousness commonly are unable to drive for a certain timeframe. Their duration differs from the guidelines of specific states.
On the other hand, those who have several seizures can create a journal to do their own monitoring. List down when they usually occur, what expires during the seizures, and how long they occur. The physician can identify a pattern and offer the best medication to help.
Dealing With Headaches
Headaches are almost always a result of edema, which is a swelling in the brain caused by the brain tumor or the treatment. Steroids may be recommended to decrease the edema, but these can subsequently lead to a range of other problems like seating, agitation, leg fatigue, trouble sleeping, and over-eating. Avastin, a medication used to manage glioblastoma, is also very beneficial in decreasing edema.
Some headaches are linked to nausea, vomiting, or dizziness, which may all be connected to the location of the brain tumor. The surgical removal of the tumor often alleviates these headaches. Post-op headaches, on the other hand, often disappear after a brief period.
Each of us struggles with gloomy and sad days. You may also fight to keep yourself from feeling hopeless, lost, and all those negative emotions. This is usually the case for cancer patients who are in their last days of hospice care. But anyone, really, can have these feelings. And depending on how long you have been feeling this way, it is either you have a major depressive disorder or another form of depression known as dysthymia.
Dysthymia Vs. Depression
Dysthymia is a relatively milder yet permanent type of depression. It is often referred to as persistent depressive disorder. Individuals who are diagnosed with this condition have episodes of major depression frequently.
Depression, on the other hand, is a kind of mood disorder associated with one’s body, thoughts, moods, and feelings towards himself. It is not synonymous with feeling unhappy or very sad. It is also not an indication of weakness or a thing that you can quickly get rid of. Those who are depressed can’t merely snap out of it and quickly improve. Treating it is essential to recovery.
Dysthymia is more common in women than in men. Additionally, some may be depressed, and others may be bipolar.
There is no precise cause for this form of depression. Mental health providers believe it is a consequence of specific chemical imbalances in the brain. A lot of other factors are also thought to add to depression. These include psychological, genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Chronic trauma and stress have also been associated with this condition. Additionally, dysthymia seems to be hereditary, although no genes have been associated with it yet.
Symptoms of Dysthymia
As mentioned above, dysthymia is a milder form of depression. Yet, it is more long compared to major depression seen in people with terminal illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. Each person may feel his symptoms in various ways. These symptoms include:
• Lack of energy
• Longstanding anxiety, sad, and empty moods
• Less capable of focusing, thinking, or making sound decisions
• Appetite and weight changes
• Sleep pattern changes, like early morning wakefulness, inability to sleep, or oversleeping
• Low self-confidence
To diagnose dysthymia, the individual should be experiencing depressive moods for the past two years (one year in adolescents and kids), accompanied by at least two of the symptoms listed above. The symptoms of this condition may mimic that of other mental health disorders. It is wise to talk to a mental health professional for an appropriate diagnosis.
• Therapy. This is usually interpersonal or cognitive behavioral therapy. The treatment concentrates on modifying inaccurate perceptions of yourself and your surroundings. This also works to enhance your communication skills and recognize and deal with your stressors efficiently.
• Medications. Various medicines are accessible in the market for treating different forms of depression, including dysthymia. It typically takes four to six weeks for antidepressant medicines to have a complete effect. It is vital to continue taking the medication even if you feel like it’s not working initially. It is also important that you talk to your doctor or therapist before you decide to stop taking. Some people need to change medicines or add medicines to experience better outcomes.
Because this form of depression typically persists for more than five years, a long-term treatment plan may be necessary.
There are actually things you can do to help deal with your depression symptoms. Depression is definitely something that can take a lot of your energy and make you feel worthless, hopeless, and exhausted. These negative ideations and emotions may also make you want to feel like yielding and giving up everything that you’ve built in your life. It is crucial to realize that negativity is part of the condition and may not always reflect reality. Negative thoughts disappear as your treatment starts to take full effect.
Below are frequently asked questions and answers about depression and its other forms.
What is the meaning of chronic depression?
Sometimes known as mild chronic depression, dysthymia is less extreme and has lesser symptoms than major depression. When you have dysthymia, your depression symptoms can persist for a longer duration, perhaps two years or more.
Is depression a chronic mental illness?
A chronic condition persists for prolonged periods of time and typically can’t be treated entirely. However, some types of depression and other diseases can be treated through exercise, medications, and diet.
What are the 4 types of depression?
The four major types of depression are as follows:
• 1 – Situational depression
• 2 – biological depression
• 3 – psychological depression
• 4 – existential depression
What causes long-term depression?
Neurophysiologically, LTD or long-term depression is an activity-dependent decrease in the effectiveness of the brain’s neuronal connections that last for hours or even longer after a lengthy structured stimulus. LTD happens in several central nervous system regions with different mechanisms that depend on the brain region affected and the developmental progress.
Is long-term depression curable?
Depression can be managed, and its symptoms can be improved, but depression is not completely curable. Instead, the goal must be remission. No one definition is acknowledged for remission, as it differs for each individual. People might have persisting symptoms or abnormal functioning accompanying their remission.
Does depression count as a disability?
Recently, the law considers the impact of impairment on a person. For instance, he is experiencing mild depression with minimal effects might not be included in the coverage. But a person with severe depression and with substantial effects on their everyday activities is most likely to be considered disabled.
Can you get long-term disability for depression and anxiety?
Guidelines differ significantly, but in general, most nervous and mental causes enforce a one or two-year restriction. For instance, if you are experiencing extreme depression to the point that you cannot work, you may be qualified for benefits on your long-term disability policy.
Is depression a progressive disease?
Experts’ observations back the concept of depression as an advanced illness that some individuals may experience bouts of depression over several years. Still, others may have persistent depressive bouts for decades, with symptoms that worsen and increase to the point where it is difficult to perform your usual day-to-day activities.
How can you help someone who is mentally ill?
Below are some techniques that you can use to help a mentally ill person:
• Avoid complicated confrontations.
• Listen without judging and focus on the other person’s needs at the moment.
• Ask them what they need so that you can help them.
• Provide them with resources and other information about their condition.
• Ask them if there is someone that they want you to reach out to or call.
What should you not say to a mentally ill person?
Here are some things that you must not say to a person who is mentally ill:
• “Hey, snap out of this!”
• Well, things could have been worse!”
• “All of us go through OCD or a mood swing at some point in our lives – this is normal.”
• “This is certainly all in your head.”
• “Don’t worry. This, too, will pass.”
• “Perhaps this is all part of God’s mighty plan.”
What happens if the mental illness goes untreated?
Untreated mental disorder can cause poor physical health, including ignoring one’s symptoms, neglecting doctor appointments, and making unwise decisions. When a mental illness is left unmanaged, many people attempt to self-medicate to manage or ignore their symptoms.
Do mental health issues get worse with age?
Mental disorders are not a natural part of the aging process. In fact, mental disorders impact younger adults more than older adults, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Does depression age your brain?
Studies found that a person’s brain physically grows old quicker when he is depressed. They also showed that depression could alter a person’s brain physically, accelerating the aging effect that may leave him more vulnerable to diseases related to old age.
Generally, almost everyone with any form of depression has continuing unhappiness and may feel irritable, sad, hopeless, and helpless. Without any treatment, depression symptoms can persist for several years.
I had always been a positive thinker and an all-around jolly person. I was the type of friend who could laugh at others’ snarky remarks about myself without getting angry. I did not mind making a fool of myself sometimes either to see my loved ones laugh. And no matter what curveball tried to flatten or knock me over, I continued to stand tall, smiling.
My optimism slightly decreased when I noticed that I was getting more bruises all over my body. I was used to seeing one or two on my legs or arms back then, especially before my menstruation, so I did not worry about it. However, when more spots appeared on my other body parts, my friends saw them and grilled me for hours because the bruises make me looked like a battered girlfriend. After assuring them that my boyfriend was almost saint-like, they urged me to go to a doctor to find out what’s happening to my body.
One (Un)Fortunate Diagnosis
Another week passed since I met with my friends, and I thought they had already forgotten about my bruises. So, I was surprised when they barged in my house at the weekend, demanding to know what the doctor said. Grinning sheepishly, I uttered, “Uhm, I haven’t gotten around to finding a physician, guys. But that’s okay; I feel fine.”
Suspicious, my friends inspected my body for bruises. I just lifted my arms as if they measured my sizes, confident that they would be greenish at that point – a sign of healing. When they raised the shirt from the back, though, I heard a collective gasp. I looked around and saw them staring on the lower-left portion of my back. “Why are you dramatic?” I asked.
“Well,” my best friend said carefully, “There is new bruising on your back, perhaps almost the size of a saucer. Are you sure you’re okay?”
Huh. I did not have a full mirror in the house, so my back was a blind spot for me. For the first time in my life, I forgot how to smile. I sat down and voiced out, “What do I do?”
My friends, as supportive as ever, started making calls. Though none of us knew the problem, we knew that my case was not meant for a general practitioner. One of them eventually managed to book an appointment for me on that day. I did not want to go since I felt scared, but they said that it’s better to know the truth now than to live in a lie, so I allowed them to accompany me to the doctor’s office.
When we arrived, the specialist ordered the nurse to take my blood samples immediately. While waiting for the results, the doctor chatted with me about how I had been feeling in the last few weeks. I told him honestly that I did not feel much difference in my body, except for the bruising and sometimes shortness of breath. The nurse then returned with the test result, which showed that I had an abnormally high number of white blood cells compared to red blood cells.
The doctor said, “Hmm, having plenty of white blood cells typically indicates that a person has anemia, and that’s quite easy to remedy with iron supplements and more sleep. However, because of the bruising, you may have leukemia. I’m sorry.”
My insides collapsed as soon as I heard the L word. I thought I was healthy all my life, but it turned out that I had blood cancer. The doctor added that I was lucky to get diagnosed in the first stage of the disease, but I felt anything but a winner at the time.
Changing My Mindset About Cancer Diagnosis
When my friends gave me a ride home, none of us spoke. But they told me before I got off that I should call them any time of the day if I needed something. I naturally nodded and waved bye with a forced smile on my face. After that, I turned off my phone and did not come out of the house for two weeks straight, depressed over the cancer diagnosis.
Nevertheless, my deceased mother visited me in my dream one night. It seemed so real when she hugged me and asked, “What’s wrong, baby girl?”
I repeated what the doctor told me, sobbing. Mom said, “Hush, sweetheart. Having cancer does not always mean that you’ll die soon, especially when it is only at stage one. Instead, you should be glad that you found out before it’s already irreversible.”
I woke up feeling light the next day. With my optimism restored, I called my friends and informed them that I wanted to undergo treatment ASAP to beat leukemia’s butt. They cheered me on and took turns accompanying me to my treatment sessions.
Now, not only am I cancer-free, but my mental health is also more formidable than ever.
Just as anybody with cancer is aware, a diagnosis of cancer also impacts family members and significant others. At times, the complicated emotions and lifestyle modifications caused by the illness, along with its treatment, can be overwhelming for loved ones as they are also for you. Knowing the possible changes in how you relate to particular members of the family and close friends may be able to help you take the necessary steps to build stable and equally compassionate relationships during these challenging times.
Couples and Partners
Cancer has a tremendous impact on marriages and long-term relationships. When the diagnosis is made, both individuals may feel sad, angry, anxious, hopeless, or depressed. The side effects of cancer differ from couple to couple. For some, confronting the trials brought about by cancer further intensifies their bond. But for others, the anxiety and stress of the illness create new challenges that could magnify existing problems.
Some of the changes that frequently present in relationships include:
Cancer modifies roles. Someone who has been used to being in charged or functioned as the main caregiver might have difficulty acknowledging a more reliant role. Or someone who has not played those roles may have trouble taking charge or providing sufficient care. A spouse might try to take control by being an expert in a particular aspect of cancer. He might attempt to make changes to the treatment schedules or communicate with the medical team. If you have both agreed to this, it might even help you deal with the disease. However, it is vital that you listen to each other’s needs and wants and try to remain open-minded.
- Physical needs. These needs that might arise as a result of cancer may alter throughout the course of the illness. It is crucial that spouses talk about what they need. Reaching out and helping each other with the usual activities of daily living, like dressing up or brushing your teeth might become difficult eventually. But your spouse may not be aware that you need help, so it is important that you talk freely and clearly communicate your needs. This helps prevent frustration and bitterness that could lead to misinterpretation of your partner’s behavior.
- Emotional needs. Each individual’s emotional needs may vary or change all the time and partners might need more reassurance that the love is still there. Couples must be sensitive to the altering emotional requirements that come with the disease. They might also want to think about discussing their concerns with a mental health counselor, together or on their own.
Partners who care for their significant other with cancer may probably find it hard to fully express all their feelings because they are afraid of hurting their partner. On the other hand, the loved one with cancer must also be able to talk about how she feels to someone who can manage the intensity of her emotions without being dazed or burdened.
Cancer often alters a couple’s future plans. Travel or retirement plans may change and this causes feelings of depression, bitterness, or anger perhaps. Working together in managing your priorities helps to gradually create fresh goals, like finishing the cancer treatment or having a baby for new couples. Things that used to be a priority prior to the cancer diagnosis might become less important. It would be wise to put the other plans on hold instead of instantly changing them, as it would inspire you to look forward to the future.
Family Members and Friends
The impact of cancer on your bonds with family and friends differ greatly, depending on how close you are to them. Some families have various communication and handling techniques. Think about how family members will respond in times of crises and they have managed other problems in your family life. This will definitely help you create your own strategies for breaking the news to them and seeking their support.
Below are some recommendations that would help you to make proper adjustments to relationship changes with family members and friends.
Anticipate your bonds to change in one way or another. A lot of people have very little experience with life-threatening diseases like cancer so they may have no idea how to react or what to say. Some may be scared after learning about your cancer. Others how may have loved ones who died of cancer may recall the hurtful memories. Because of this, some of your family members and friends might not be capable of providing the support and care that you expect from them.
Indeed, this is painful. But just remember that these responses may be the result of their past encounters and losses and certainly not how they feel about you. Some of your close friends may keep some distance from you, but others will amaze you with their physical and emotional support throughout the course of your illness. So keep the spirit going and encourage yourself to find the good in your loved ones. Let them help and love you. Finally, always remember to be grateful for family and friends. They are treasures for life.
Imagine an ordinary individual getting all anxious and scared of the Coronavirus infection. There’s too much stress manifestation that can happen. But how much more pressure do you think there is if a person is currently a cancer patient or a survivor? What do you think he feels that this pandemic is causing so much commotion in the health sector? Here are a couple of things you need to know about cancer and COVID-19.
The Risk Of COVID-19 While Getting An Active Cancer Treatment
For a cancer patient that undergoes an active treatment, they are genuinely at higher risk of developing infections such as COVID-19. Because of this, the individual needs to self-quarantine at home. Fortunately, they can still be around family members. There is no need to self-isolate in certain parts of the house or a particular room. However, it is essential to note that family members that have contact outside should practice social distancing and sanitation as much as possible. That way, they won’t become the carrier of the virus and protect the cancer patient at home.
Necessary COVID-19 Test For A Cancer Patient
If an individual has cancer or has had previously suffered from one, he does not necessarily need to get a COVID-19 test. That is if he does not experience any signs and symptoms of the infection, such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath. But if the patient does have these symptoms, it is highly suggested to call a medical professional and let these experts know about the situation. That way, the health professionals can guide the patient where to go from there. It is important to note that the patient must be honest about his experience as much as possible to avoid further confusion and additional health damage.
Cancer Treatments Offered By The Community
Despite the people’s struggle of the pandemic, the community continues to provide radiation, chemotherapy infusions, as well as necessary surgeries on selected hospital care. Health care professionals are passionate about maintaining standard assistance to the patient with or without COVID-19 infection. Community health professionals consider taking extra precautions to avoid getting and spreading the virus. However, some services get pushed off to minimize patients’ exposure to Coronavirus when they need medical facilitation. Some of these are undergoing surveillance, office visits, follow check-ups, CAT scans, and MRIs.
Availability Of Cancer Team During COVID-19 Pandemic
The cancer team is still available during this pandemic situation. In fact, the team becomes more accessible than before. There are nurse navigators, psychologists, psychiatrists, physical experts, nurses, doctors, and social workers. That is because most health professionals use technology to connect with their patients. They utilize technological communication to allow them to have more time to make phone calls and always be there with their patient. Thus, there is nothing to worry about, and patients can still reach out anytime they need assistance.
Bringing A Friend Or Family Member On Patient Appointments
Unfortunately, there are more restrictions in this time of pandemic that a cancer patient should follow. Thus, with regards to bringing another person to accompany a cancer patient to his doctor’s appointment is highly unadvisable. It is mandatory for health care industries not to allow visitors. However, considering the patient’s comfortability and emotional stability, health professionals allow video conferencing or calls and putting it on speakerphones. That way, the patient can get a hold of family members despite not being able to come in chemotherapy sessions, office visits, or any medical appointments.
It is okay that cancer patients feel scared and stressed during this pandemic. But they have to remember to stay positive because health care professionals are still more than willing to serves their needs no matter what.
Based on the available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who are older (over the age of 65) are at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19. However, the data also shows that those patients with underlying medical conditions, regardless of their age, are prone to the virus infection as well. Some of these conditions to look out for are lung disease, diabetes, and cancer. With that information, it becomes challenging for those people who have a weaker immune system to avoid getting sick. The situation adds pressure because the struggle during this pandemic outbreak is too complicated for them.
The Risk Of Getting COVID-19 Infection
Patients with a weakened immune system are potentially at risk of the Coronavirus infection. Since their defense system is vulnerable already due to their current condition, the possibility of getting infected triples their chances. Some medical conditions include lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and other blood-related cancer that directly affects cells of the body. Unfortunately, all individuals experiencing these health-related conditions, even if it is a mild one is at risk. Also, including those patients who are undergoing chemotherapy therapy are not exempted. With all this information, there is too much burden to bear. Most notably, for those patients who struggle to recover and survive.
Symptoms Of COVID-19 In Cancer Patients
Symptoms of the COVID-19 infection are all the same in cancer patients’ general population. For the most part, all of them experience coughing, sneezing, headache, fever, and respiratory problems. However, one exemption to the possibility of shared symptoms is when patients get treated with steroids or other medications that treat lymphoma and leukemia. That is because the substances of these medications can suppress the development of fever and can only show signs of minor coughing without sneezing. Therefore, there is a tendency that even if patients are positive with the virus, they may end up asymptomatic due to the effect of the medication the patients currently intake. However, in general rule, cancer patients must not ignore even a single symptom of the Coronavirus. Considering their weak condition, coughing, fever, and shortness of breath may appear normal, but it is not. Therefore, if these warning signs persist, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. If you feel you might overthink things, seek a consultation from professionals at BetterHelp.
Test Positive For COVID-19 While Undergoing Cancer Treatment
It is essential to understand that cancer patients are the ones vulnerable to get infected at this rate. So if they test positive while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, considerations have to be made. The patients and health doctors should discuss the things they need to do to secure recovery. They need to understand that the decision on whether cancer patients need to stop or continue with any treatment process depends on a variety of factors. Some of these factors are the stage of the chemotherapy treatment, the physical condition of the individual undergoing treatment, and the severity of the Coronavirus infection to the cancer patients. It is essential that both parties understand the consequences of the situation.
What The Cancer Patients Can Do
In a critical moment like this, cancer patients should understand that protecting their health at all costs is their priority. Whether that maybe their physical, emotional, and mental. Therefore they must recognize the practice of frequent hand hygiene. It is vital to ensure washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. If water is not available, utilizing hand sanitizers can be an option as well. But it should contain at least 60% alcohol in it. Cancer patients and health providers should also avoid anyone that is sick. If possible, they should minimize exposure to people in large crowds as well. Thus, they should practice physical distancing and limit any forms of physical engagements
Whether cancer comes before or after marriage diversifies a patient’s reaction to the diagnosis. If it occurs when you are still single, for instance, the chances of taking it with a confident heart and mind are high. Once you receive the news when you are about to build a family, then various kinds of worry may become mainstays in your head.
For one, there is the nagging fear that your husband or wife will file for divorce after learning of your incurable disease. In case you are a guy, you might be anxious about not being able to provide the needs of your family during the recovery process. For women, it is possible to worry that the treatments are harsh enough to decrease your ability to bring a child to full term. Witht that, “In the lives of those experiencing anxiety, anxiety has almost always served a purpose as a survival function at some point. ” says Karin Draper, LMFT.
Despite that, making the cancer diagnosis known to you and your partner is a must. You cannot guarantee it immediately, but it may even strengthen or save your marriage in more ways than one.
Research Says It All
If we speak of facts, a study reveals that single men have a 27% higher chance of dying from any cancer than a married man within the first three years of having the illness. The number is 19% when it comes to women, yet the scenario remains the same – bachelorettes have a low probability of surviving from the disease compared to married patients.
The reason, according to Scarlett Lin Gomez of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, is not just because of the better insurance plan that a spouse may extend to the ill husband or wife. It is also not solely due to having a more considerable amount of money to pool together when seeking a suitable treatment. Instead, the research suggests that cancer-laden individuals live longer than many since they get a stable support system through their significant other.
Being Married Is Better Than Staying Single In The Face Of Cancer
You can imagine how accurate that claim is right now. When you are dealing with the condition for months, it is effortless to feel depressed if you are alone. Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC explains that “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. ” You have no one to voice out your fears to or assure you that everything will go back to normal. Considering you hate burdening your friends and relatives regarding your meals or doctor’s appointments, you might push yourself to cook or drive to the clinic on your own, respectively.
In case you are with your better half, though, there is no need for you to request if he or she can do the latter. That is already a given, especially if your relationship has always been healthy even before the cancer news came. The constant trips to the hospital or check-ins with your partner’s emotions may, in fact, boost the bond that ties you to each other.
Likewise, not needing to oversee different aspects of life besides the medication relieves the stress of a patient as well. It allows healing to take place fast, which is quite an impossible feat when you cannot rely on anybody.
Cancer itself is incapable of breaking a marriage. If the connection between the husband and wife is powerful, they will not split regardless of whatever disease one or both of them acquire over time. If anything, watching the ill spouse go through this condition may bring the couple together faster than any counseling method out there. Dana Baduna, PhD, LMFT believes that “Participating together as a couple gives the partners the opportunity to pay closer attention to one another and listen more intimately to their needs, wants, and dissatisfactions, thus establishing a closer bond and a more intimate connection.” And that is something.