Few things in life are as emotionally traumatic and challenging as the knowledge that a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. In fact, family members report experiences parallel to those of the cancer patient. Family members say that they are overwhelmed with fear, anxiety and worry. They worry about being strong enough to handle their own emotions and help their loved one. They inform us that they feel like life is out of control and wonder if it will ever get back to normal. Adding to these issues, they inform us, is the fact that they feel selfish about having these thoughts and feelings.
For many family members, the cancer patient has been their emotional support system. Since the cancer diagnosis, family members instead have to be the “rock” of the family. This can often times present a mixture of emotional and physical stresses that they are completely unprepared to face and handle. The Center is the place to get the support and education of how to manage this these relationship changes.
Either in individual sessions, couple sessions or family sessions, family and friends learn that it is safe to talk about the feelings and emotions that have entered their lives along with the cancer.
Here are some of the typical responses from family members who have gone through the Center for help:
“Wow, I never would have thought to help in those ways”
“I was afraid to ask those questions, not wanting to make my loved one feel worse”
“I wasn’t sure what to do or how to answer people’s questions, but after visiting the Center, now I feel empowered and it is much easier to express my needs and concerns”