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Patients Against Lymphoma


 Main Support > Patient-to-Patient Support > Being a Caregiver

Ronnie writes:

Just wanted to add my two cents here, especially in light of the essay that Betty sent about allowing ourselves to feel sad.

I think people handle their stresses in different ways and we have to understand that rather than try to force them to do things our way.  We have many people on this list and many of them handle their situations differently.  Some have caregivers that do all the research and make all the doctor appointments.  Some like to do the research themselves.  Some spend every day spending lots of time thinking about and being involved with  lymphoma.  Others live their lives with lymphoma in the background.  There is no one right formula.

Some people are comfortable "battling" cancer and become vigilantes against the enemy.  Others are less combative personalities who think of allowing their bodies to live hand-in-hand with the lymphoma, as an "accommodation."  Some people like to question their doctors about everything.  Others like to rush out of the office if everything seems to be okay for now.  Some people feel that battling the medical community makes them feel more powerful and perhaps that may help combat their illness.  Others would rather not deal with those issues because they aren't priorities and they intrude on their feelings of well being.

None of these approaches is wrong.  It is always important to be who you are when you are well and when you are sick, and not try to live up to someone else's standards.  Most psychiatrists will tell you that, especially when one hears a diagnosis of cancer, it is best to let the patient ask the questions he/she is up to hearing.  If he/she is not ready, they will not ask.  It is usually not critical if time and treatment issues are not a factor.  In many lymphomas, with W&W as an option, it is particularly not important to face all the questions at first.  This is not denial. 

Insofar as the person to whom you referred, Karl, it may be that when he wakes up in, let's say 6 months and sees that he is still alive, he may be more ready to understand and deal with what he has.

- Ronnie (NHL-follic)

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