Relationship between relationships and cancer
Now that you have accepted you have a life threatening disease, you are going to need as big a support network of family and friends as you can muster to come along for the ride.
My prognosis being terminal made me realise that it was time to strengthen my relationships as they are really all that matters towards the end of my life.
I had an uncle who went to his grave with a vendetta towards his sister. In preparing his funeral service, he told my cousin that if she turned up, he was to make a public display and throw her out. Now, that was a toxic relationship. BTW, she never came.
Some time back, I posted an article analysing my own relationships. It was heartening to find friends that date back to my teenage years – and they still want to be there for me as my time winds down. (Source)
There will be times when your carer is overwhelmed more than you are and will need all the friendly support s/he can get.
One recent study says that people in healthy relationships are twice as likely to live longer than those in unhealthy relationships. Other studies even suggest that treatment may be more successful for cancer patients who have the support of friends and family. (Source)
Are you listening?
The most important part of building a healthy relationship with friends, family members or a significant other is listening. When you listen, you show someone you’re interested in understanding his or her thoughts and feelings.
Not good at listening? The trick is to be attentive and not interrupt when someone is speaking. When done right, listening leads to understanding. And, if you understand someone else fully, then you know what to do to get closer and work better together.
Stay connected to friends and family members
The tips below are not new, but they are good reminders. Sometimes we forget the most simple, yet important, actions needed to make relationships work.
- Keep in contact as much as possible
- Share feelings openly
- Talk openly with each other
- Spend time together
- Be honest
- Be a good listener
- Be willing to compromise
Don’t think that you are protecting them by keeping nasty or difficult facts from family and friends. All you will achieve is to put up a barrier between you and them … and that does nothing to build a better relationship.