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Some of the biggest family problems result from loved ones trying to be supportive by trying to encourage their loved one with cancer. Encouragement can be very helpful. It has its place and time. Many people living with cancer however, share with us that everyone in their life is pushing them to do things.
It can be difficult for support people to see a loved one losing a lot of weight and not being able to eat much.
- When support people continually try to get their family member with cancer to eat more it often causes the person with cancer to put distance between her/him and the support people in order to get some peace.
It can be very helpful for you to tell family members when you want encouragement and when you don’t want them to be trying to get you to do things.
- You can figure out what is best for you at any given time and say things like “I am having a very difficult time eating right now. I know you are very concerned about my weight and so am I. I am doing the best I can. It would be very helpful for me if you did not mention anything about my food intake today. I would really appreciate that.”
- Another time you may want help and you can say something like, “You know this first day after chemo is particularly difficult in terms of my appetite. On a day like today I feel like I could really use a coach. Would you try to help me eat a little more by saying things about how food will help me right now even though it is hard to get down?”
The goal is for you to have control over the process. You may never want support people to push you or sometimes you may want a little pushing from them. When you help to create the best support for yourself you will be able to have much more control over your whole experience of going through cancer. Communication is a very important way of taking care of yourself. It can make your life and relationships much easier and more enjoyable.