Who was the first person with cancer

Living with cancer

Sick people and their relatives in everyday life

The diagnosis changes everything. If it was fear before, it is now certainty and soon also physical evidence. Cancer changes life. This happens not only physiologically, but also psychologically. Those affected and their relatives alike have to change their everyday lives and how they interact with one another. It is therefore important to use the options offered in addition to the actual therapy.

Self-help and coping

This ensures that body functions that have been lost through targeted movement and exercise are restored and movement sequences can be relearned. The self-help group provides emotional support through shared experiences. As in any profession, at any age and in any hobby, it is also the case with people with complex illnesses: Affected people can sometimes talk about things that otherwise remain unsaid, but are important to say. Another important task of the self-help groups is social contact. The time you spend together is important for a stop and a goal. Maintaining a community also means taking responsibility. A self-help group can quickly become a family substitute, especially for single people and the elderly, or for people who are afraid of contact and are often alone with themselves due to their illness. In addition to all emotional and psychological factors, the self-help group is a good source of information and an exchange of experiences. Knowledge about the disease is an important therapy-promoting aspect, which is met by the experiences and information of many people affected. But death is a particular challenge. Again and again it can happen that a member of the group succumbs to cancer. The loss and the fear, the grief and the perplexity up to the resignation towards his own healing is a task to be mastered again and again. Elementary questions about life and religious and philosophical approaches are often the result. It is therefore always good to have supervisors accompanying the group who can lead and direct such discussions.

What applies to those affected is also important to relatives. If there is a community of relatives who share a similar fate, it is much easier to talk about stressful and difficult situations that would otherwise be forbidden by consideration and social conscience. The first question is always: How can you help the person affected? The second question should also be: What do I have to do for myself to be of help to him? That of a person attacks the entire psyche in its life-threatening form. For most of those affected, this is a great threat, which often manifests itself in defensive reactions from excessive emotional stress. Typical features of these reactions are:

  • Avoidance of all mention of the disease, refusal of offers to talk about it

  • Reluctance in social community, he withdraws.

  • Displacement of medical facts, disinformation of the actual findings

  • exclusively intellectual preoccupation with the “theory” of cancer

  • pronounced debt search, especially with others

  • early childhood and naive behaviors, egocentric concentration of desire

  • increased irritability and lowering of the stress threshold

  • Prevention or negation of therapeutic measures, but also excessive zeal and impatience

It is very difficult for relatives not to take this personally and to react hurt, angry, instructive or even negative. Here, the time factor is an important part of handling. However, the massive defensive stance should subside after a few weeks; if the symptoms described above persist, professional help should be sought. The psychological burden for relatives is enormous. If there are mood swings at the beginning, it can later lead to complete self-abandonment and resignation on the part of the person concerned. Again and again, the signaling of willingness to talk is an important anchor in the interpersonal relationship. The more specific requests for help are made, the easier it is for the relatives to do something for the person concerned. Their psychological pressure of unreasonableness increases every day. Gratitude can add to this feeling. This has to be taken into account again and again as a matter of course for the accompaniment. To accomplish all of this alone requires the highest level of discipline and willingness to help. Therefore, the help for relatives is an important contribution in the therapy-accompanying work of those affected.

If a cure is ruled out and the therapy is only life-sustaining, one is confronted more and more with the question of death and parting. The person concerned declines more and more, he becomes weaker, more apathetic and longs for death. For relatives, the helplessness of these moments is very difficult to endure. Anger, despair, remorse or other profound feelings accompany dying. They are an important part of processing and have to find time and space to be lived out. Since death has lost none of its secret of unknown survival, it is always present for the relatives. The advice of a pastor, doctor or pastor is very helpful here. The opening to spiritual issues is clear. Talking about the future and the past, about life in general and in particular and the shared memories and dreams are now the most important thing that will remain. Things that have not yet been clarified from the early days often gain unimagined importance. The victim wants to "clear up" everything before he dies. Requests for details such as funerals, wills etc. are discussed. Death becomes more and more relieved, as end-stage cancer is often associated with great pain and physical impairment. After death, there is often a great emptiness at the beginning. Dr. Doris Wolf describes in her book: “Losing a loved one”, PAL Verlag the phases of mourning as follows:

  1. The phase of disregarding the shock and denial: the bereaved is frozen, cannot believe that the sick person is really dead or reacts with an outburst of emotions.

  2. The phase of the beginning of feelings: The relative experiences intense feelings of despair, fear, helplessness and loneliness. Often times, mourners are angry with the deceased and themselves and feel guilty. These feelings are accompanied by massive physical complaints (e.g. restlessness, loss of appetite, feelings of being constricted).

  3. The phase of slow reorientation: the loss is slowly accepted. The mourner devotes himself to his old activities again or looks for new tasks and develops a new sense of self-worth.

  4. The phase of the new inner equilibrium: the bereaved has found a new meaning in life. He feels balanced again and looks confidently into the future.

Of course, mourning is a very individual and differently experienced emotional work. However, one thing is always important: time is often an important component. But dealing with grief is just as important. Distraction often helps in everyday life, but there should still be time for direct occupation. It is often difficult to endure yourself in grief. A few ways should help to deal with yourself better:

It's hard to be alone. Often times, dealing with other people is good. Pastors, pastors, therapists and discussion groups are good opportunities to be guided in your grief and to be in good hands.

  1. patience

    1. A lot is fast, just not the feeling of sadness. It is difficult to be patient with yourself at this moment. One should be lenient at this moment.

  2. everyday life

    1. The structure as the framework of the day is very helpful, especially in times of emotional stress. Small goals, plans, projects and other stages facilitate the gradual reintegration into everyday life.

  3. Festivals

    1. The emotional burden will be particularly high at Christmas or birthdays. These celebrations have to be well planned so that you are not alone.

  4. enjoyment

    1. Neglecting happiness is part of every grief. But that is exactly what you should look for in order to enable your body and soul to recover and process.

And although there are many ways to feel grief, to deal with grief or even to cope with grief, it is always new and an event that has an immediate impact on the relatives.