Caregiving can be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. It is important to not only care for the patient, but also to care for yourself. You cannot provide your best quality of care to the cancer patient if you are not taking care of yourself first. No person is alone on their bladder cancer journey, including caregivers. There are many resources and support groups available to help you through this time.
One of the most important things you can do as a caregiver for a bladder cancer patient is listen to them. If they want to find every possible piece of research and information they can get their hands on, support them in their search and talk to them about anything you may find. If they want to adopt a more passive attitude, and not talk about their cancer, that is a choice they are allowed to make, and you should take the cue from them. They may sometimes just need someone to listen to them talk, and you can be there for them in that situation.
A caregiver can be important at any appointments with doctors or other health professionals. You can take notes and remind the patient of things they may not have remembered or heard. Creating a folder to hold paperwork and appointment reminders can also be very helpful. You can also help by ensuring the patient is taking the appropriate medications at the proper times, and offer to help the patient if they need help completing everyday tasks.
A cancer diagnosis is an intense process for a patient to deal with, but just because they have cancer does not mean they ever have the right to be abusive. It is important to know your limits, and let the patient know if they are out of line in their treatment of you.
Every patient will be different, and thus will require something different from their caregiver. But above all, it is important to take time for yourself, even if it’s just to go for a walk around the block or get coffee with a friend.
Find more information and resources for caregivers at Bladder Cancer Canada.
Most information taken from American Bladder Cancer Society.