Some tips to help family and friends of someone diagnosed with lung cancer.
Listen. Please be there to listen with an open heart. Let them talk freely and express concerns, hopes, and fears. Don’t offer advice, unless asked. Don’t offer your ideas on how they developed cancer or question them about potential smoking history or being exposed to second hand smoke. This can make lead to feelings of depression and guilt. Listen without feeling you have to fix things.
Support them. Attend appointments and support group meetings. Be their second set of ears at appointments, because they may miss hearing information because so many things are happening at once. Plan on bringing a notepad and take important notes to help recall key things that were discussed. Call them on the phone and show you care. This lets them know that you are thinking of them and showing your concerns. Help them heal and provide emotional support. Be positive and share success stories, but also let them express fears. Hold their hand while they cry.
Make them laugh. Be silly and tell funny stories and jokes. Watch a funny movie.
Be patient with them. Going through cancer treatments can take a toll. They may be feeling a variety of emotions and symptoms: sadness, fear, anxiety, pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Don’t give up on them. They can be very fragile at any given moment, so be compassionate and let them know that you will be there for them.
Help them. Please don't suggest that they call you if they need anything – instead, be proactive. Prepare a meal in a disposable container. Offer to grocery shop or drive to an appointment. Help clean the house for an hour or mow the lawn. Offering to help can save their energy expenditures for healing. Treatments can make them very physically and emotionally tired. Any help will be greatly appreciated.