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 Cancer

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Advocacy - A Weapon in the Fight Against Prostate Cancer

by Liza Berger

(Page 3 of 3)

Caring for someone with a life-threatening disease can take a toll emotionally and physically. That is why taking care of yourself is paramount, Price said. Feeling your emotions—whether it is fear, anger or guilt—is part of the process, Price said.
Depression can be common among caregivers, and they should seek professional help immediately if they are experiencing signs of depression, according to CancerConsultants.com.

Reducing stress may be the most important part of self-care. It’s first necessary to identify sources of stress, such as having too much to do, feelings of inadequacy, and the inability to say no, CancerConsultants.com says. Then you have to identify what you can and cannot change, and accept it. Finally, take action. Carve out personal time for yourself to do what you like. This could be exercising, meditation or talking to a good friend.

Setting goals over the next three to six months helps you to decide what you need for yourself, the Web site says. Objectives could be feeling healthier or taking a break from caregiving. Action steps could be walking three days a week or making an appointment to see the doctor for a check-up.

Accepting help from others, whether it is a family member, friend or professional is a good way to help ease a caregiver’s stress. Asking for help is a sign of personal strength. But don’t wait until you are too overwhelmed or exhausted to ask them.
When making a request, use “I” statements to make specific requests. One example is, “I would like to go to lunch with a friend on Saturday. Would you stay with Dad from 12 to 2?”

Doctor-caregiver Relationship

It also helps to be a team with your healthcare provider, as Manarite did, to find the best treatments for the cancer. The relationship should also help the caregiver with his/her health needs. It is important to be assertive and use good communication skills. Here are a few tips from Caregiver.com:

  • Prepare questions ahead of time. Make a list of your concerns, problems and issues.
  • Make sure the appointment meets your needs. The first appointment in the morning or after lunch or the last appointment of the day are the best times to cut your waiting time and accommodate numerous questions.
  • Use assertive communication and “I” messages. For example: “I need to know more about the diagnosis; I would like to know what the best options are, and why.

”Manarite believes that advocates should always get copies of the medical records. Patients are entitled to copies. She offers a recommendation she learned from experience: Get the record when you’re sitting with the doctor. Don’t wait for the nurse or receptionist to secure one for you.

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