How To Support a Loved One With Cancer During National Pain Week
5 simple ways you can help someone who is dealing with chronic pain, especially if they are going through cancer treatment.
It’s National Pain Week this week; which is an annual awareness event with a mission to advocate for Australians living with chronic pain. A reminder for all of us, that there is most likely, always a loved one dealing with serious medical issues, resulting in constant chronic pain.
Whether you can relate or not, the most serious issue today, is not recognising how many people are dealing with chronic pain. With a lot of that pain stemming from cancer related issues.
Speaking from experience, not having suffered from cancer, but from losing two very special people very near and dear to me who passed away from cancer, I can tell you, watching a loved one deal with chronic pain, everyday, is no easy feat. Though the struggle is suffered mostly by the one going the ordeal, as a supporter you empathetically feel their pain and fear and often at times, feel helpless to do anything.
In November 2011, I lost my mother to cancer. After a long year battle, she departed this earth to start her new journey beyond. And in 2020, I lost my mother in law, who embarked on her journey to the next life. Both suffered greatly from not just the cancer, but from the treatment, constant doctor appointments, and of course, the constant emotional stress.
Though, we don’t want to dwell too much on the words of suffering, pain, cancer and other associated issues related, it is too often these words are ignored as we endeavour to try and stay positive and happy, not just for our own mental stability, but to help those in need also.
But there are some ways we can support a loved on who is dealing with cancer and chronic pain.
Chronic pain is a complex, isolating condition that is widely misunderstood. It can have a devastating impact on not only people’s physical function, livelihoods and relationships, but also their mental health.
Over 3.24 million Australians currently live with chronic pain, with about 1.45 million (45%) additionally struggling with depression and anxiety.
40% of cancer survivors live with moderate to severe pain. It can be difficult to see a loved one suffer so much, especially when you are unsure of how to help them. So, here are 5 simple ways you can support a loved one with chronic pain.
Here are five ways you can help support someone with chronic pain:
1. Educate yourself
One of the best ways you can support a loved one is by learning about their condition, which will help develop greater empathy and understanding of their experience.
2. Listen with compassion
Sometimes your loved one just wants to be listened to with an open heart and mind. Listening to them speak about their painful emotions may be uncomfortable, but by sitting in the discomfort together, you can allow them to share in a safe space. Remember: only give advice when asked.
3. Stay connected
Because chronic pain can lead to social isolation and mental health struggles, it is so important to show your loved one that they are not alone. This can involve checking in on them by asking how they are, sending them a loving message, or continuing to invite them to events so they feel included.
4. Acts of service
Showing up for a loved one can look like asking them how you can help, bringing them lunch and staying for a chat if they feel well enough, assisting with admin, groceries or household chores, or going to appointments with them.
5. Share the love
If you want to show your support for someone with chronic pain, you can donate a Comfort Pack to a cancer patient undergoing treatment to remind them that they are not alone. This can be arranged to be sent to someone you know, or someone you don’t know.
Created by Cure Cancer in partnership with Ramsay Health Care, the Comfort Pack is a sweet care package filled with thoughtfully curated items that was created to remind cancer patients that they are not alone by bringing them physical and emotional comfort.
For $49, you can donate a Comfort Pack (worth $70 RRP) to a Ramsay Health Care patient; all profits are invested back into life-saving cancer research, which can reduce the severity of chronic pain for cancer patients at all stages of their cancer journey.
Although this week is dedicated to National Pain Week – we should all remember that people are dealing with chronic pain, associated with caner every day of the week, all year around. With hardly any respite.
Bringing awareness to this issue should hopefully help shed some light, so we can share love and remind ourselves and others the important of helping someone dealing with chronic pain every day of the year.
(This post is NOT sponsored)