Loved Ones—Family Members, Friends, or Caregivers of Someone With Cancer
Are you struggling as you help a loved deal with cancer?
Maybe you feel like you shouldn’t get support for yourself because you aren’t the one with the diagnosis.
Perhaps you can relate to one or more of the following:
- You feel like it’s “our cancer” even though you weren’t the one who was diagnosed.
- You feel as though you’re embarking on unknown territory with your loved one—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- You sometimes feel helpless and you don’t know what to say or do to help the person with cancer.
- You’re overwhelmed with your role as a caregiver and all the responsibilities that come with it.
- Cancer has affected every aspect of your life too, but you don’t talk about your feelings, because you’re afraid people wouldn’t understand.
- You feel like all of your time and energy is focused on others and you have none left for yourself.
- You sometimes feel resentful that you have to do so much, and then feel guilty when you’re angry, sad, frustrated, or resentful.
When a loved one has cancer, it can feel like the whole family has cancer. Cancer affects everyone in the person’s circle. But many times, people outside the circle don’t recognize that you are struggling too, so you may feel alone in your experience. People don’t understand that your life has been turned upside down just as much as the person who was diagnosed.
And while the challenges of having a loved one with cancer can be great….
The Good News Is, Your Experience of Being a Loved One of Someone with Cancer Can Be Much Easier.
A study done by the American Cancer Society found severe psychological stress in 67% of those caring for cancer patients. You are not alone. You deserve to have support for yourself too, to have someone focus solely on your needs and feelings, without judgment. And you can do this with no guilt. Think of the safety videos when you’re on a plane. They teach us that when we need to use the oxygen masks, we have to put one on ourselves first before we put one on the other person. We can not help the other person unless we can breathe. It’s the same thing with being a family member or friend of someone with cancer. We have to be well supported and take care of ourselves before we can effectively take care of anyone else. As the American Society of Clinical Oncology states: “Taking care of your own emotional health makes you a more effective caregiver.” You have the right to have time set aside to focus solely on you and to sort through your own feelings about your loved one’s cancer.
What would it be like to feel like you’re living your life again—despite your loved one’s cancer—instead of “just surviving?” Imagine how it would be to feel more balanced while you support your family member or friend through cancer. You can learn to feel good about taking care of yourself and be able to better support the cancer survivor you love.
It is possible to:
- Navigate the cancer journey with your loved one in a way that works for both of you.
- Feel good about taking better care of yourself and finding more balance in your life, which will ultimately benefit everyone in your family.
- Recognize and attend to your own needs and feelings so that you have more energy.
- Learn ways to support your loved one more effectively so that you feel better about “being there” for him or her.
- Feel more connected with others and build a support system that works for you.
- Discover ways to focus on the things that make your life meaningful every day.
- Find the personal strengths you didn’t know you had, the courage and hope inside you that keep you going when times are tough.
As a Cancer Counselor, Therapist and Coach Who Has Experienced Cancer Personally, I Can Support and Guide You Throughout Your Journey with Your Loved One and Cancer.
Hi, my name is Dawn Pelletier Stratton. I know what it’s like to have cancer. I was diagnosed with cancer over 12 years ago. I saw my loved ones suffer with me, and always believed it was just as hard an experience on them as it was on me. I recognize that my family members and close friends are cancer survivors too.
I saw a counselor over the course of my illness and beyond, and found it extremely helpful, especially in managing the rollercoaster of emotions that is a natural reaction to a cancer diagnosis. The strategies I learned were so valuable and effective that I still use them to this day when I encounter hard times.
With my training as a licensed counselor and therapist, and my experience supporting people affected by cancer over the past decade, I’ve been fortunate to be able to “pay it forward” and do for others what my counselor did for me. As a counselor and therapist specializing in working with cancer survivors and their loved ones, I’ve helped people through every aspect of the journey, through a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and problems that sometimes occur in the months and years afterward. Whether you want support for yourself or you want to learn how to support your loved one the best you can, I can help. As your cancer survivorship counselor, I can help you to feel empowered to make the quality of your life the best it can be, in spite of your loved one’s cancer.
Are you ready to feel good about taking care of yourself and to better support the cancer survivor you love?
Here are your next steps:
1. Click here to download a free report written specifically for loved ones of people with cancer.
3. Get started with my counseling or coaching services.
If you like what you see, call or email to make an appointment for an initial 15 minute phone consultation at no charge.
Can’t get to Portland, Maine for counseling sessions? You can still work with me!
I see clients at my office located in Portland, Maine. If you live in another area or can’t travel for any reason, I offer phone and video counseling (through Skype) as well as in-person. Please Contact Me to find out more.
To schedule a session or set up an initial 15 minute phone consultation at no charge, call me at 207-773-1143 or email me at dawn[at]awakeningcounseling.com.