Needles, pills, liquid diets, and a room with the daunting odor of disease, are things a cancer patient is never devoid of experiencing. Cancer is a disease that takes a human down physically and mentally; a disease in which your own body cells refuse to listen to you. This metastasizing monster has its claws all over the globe and the entire healthcare community is leaving no stones unturned to find that perfect cure. Alas! it is still a quest. But what about those who are not equipped to fight this monster in the lab and yet want to offer their share of comfort to a patient? The family sitting next to that bed as damp as the spirit of a cancer patient; that friend who is trying best to cheer the patient while crying helplessly behind closed doors; all and everyone, who want to, but cannot; just to grab something that can make them feel better or show them that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. Well, there is indeed, light. There are numerous ways healing can be offered to a cancer patient.
- Brew a cup of coffee at their place – Visit them
Time is the best gesture you can offer a patient. Make short visits when they need you the most: days like Wednesday mornings and Saturday nights when other people do not often meet. Do not let them feel lonely – this is the mantra. Watch their favorite show or cook a meal for them. Go on a short walk even they are willing to and talk all the nonsense with them. Before leaving, hug them tight because it is your love that will heal them faster.
- Virtual Caring
Even if you cannot meet them, use your smartphones. Keep sending them posts, beautiful texts, videos of songs, etc. You can post a story about your past funny memory with him or share some article of their interest with them. Call them randomly and listen to them. More than talking, listen to what they have to say. Ask about what they like and dislike these days. Create an aura of warmth around them. Make sure you are always available on the other side of the phone.
- Gifts always help in rehabilitation
Spend money on small gifts used on regular basis and not something big- and one-time use. Think about their interests or something that will ease them and cheer them up at the same time. You can also gift the caregiver.
10 Ideas for gifts
- A Plant
- Socks, Mufflers
- A massage device
- Subscriptions for various OTT platforms
- Toiletries like soap, shampoo, etc.
- Food that is compliant with the dietary restrictions of the patient
- Hot water bottle
- A box to keep all their medicines
- Make a Project
One extra hand is always welcome. Plan to do one of their projects or errands. Clean their kitchen or water their plants. You can always help the caregiver in completing his tasks; it not only helps finish tasks faster, but also is a wonderful way of reassuring your presence even to the caregiver who is undoubtedly exhausted emotionally and physically. Visits to the doctor can be emotionally very draining even if the patient is ready for what is coming. Going along for a visit is not a bad idea at all as it may take rub off some level of anxiety, if not completely. If it is your co-worker battling cancer, a gesture of help in their regular work or targets can go a long way. Having said this, being the one wearing a cape might although sound like a perfect plan, this often comes with a risk of making the patient feel invalid, dependent, and incapable. And that totally defeats the purpose. Be the empowering force, not the crutch. Do not make the patient feel weak; they do not need you, but you want to be there. Remember this.
- Ask for help from the world
Sometimes a patient needs economic help or alternate therapy to fight that out. But with the fear and shame of being tagged as weak, help stayed unsought. But even in those scenarios, doors are not shut. There are many waiting outside to help; organizations helping cancer patients financially and through palliative care, are growing leaps and bound. Find the one fit for your loved one.
Battle against cancer has been made easier through organizations and NGOs like:
- Charutar Aarogya Mandal
- Cuddles Foundation
- Make a Wish Foundation
- Cancer Patients Aid Association
- Charutar Arogya Mandal
A pledge to provide treatment at such affordable rates that any underprivileged can dream to survive cancer was taken by Dr. H. M Patel, former Union Finance and Home Minister, former Union Finance and Home Minister. The team of experts provides free consultation, free treatment for women and children belonging to BPL families, and a promise to hold your hands in this journey. Cancer drains the whole family emotionally and financially. In such a situation, Charutar Aarogya Mandal took a step ahead to deliver better healthcare to all regardless of what is your salary. It started with 136-beds now turned into a post-graduate institute offering healthcare to thousands.
- Cuddles foundation
A room of people with one mission to heal children with cancer is what cuddles look like. They cuddle the children with nutrition and diet. This foundation works on the principle that nutrition is the key to restoring the health of a cancer patient. More than 40 percent of the children are found malnourished at the time of diagnosis. Through Cuddles Foundation, people start fundraisers at Give India on their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and the money collected is medium to provide nutrition to the kids struggling with cancer. Cuddles foundation work through an app known as Food Heals with various hospitals and dietitians to reach their goal of beating cancer with food. A stranger can be a life savior for many children with a vision to heal the pain.
- Make a Wish Foundation
You do not need to be a surgeon to save a life always. Sometimes you can make a little wish come true. It is not the medicines but sometimes a dream can also increase the life span. Make a wish is like a team of archangels on earth who are completing the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening diseases like cancer. A toy airplane or a one-day trip can create magic on their faces. The imagination of a kid smiling and healing with just a wish becoming real is so pleasant. These imaginations and wishes are turning solid at Make a Wish. They have a completely organized plan of who can refer a child and how can you help with genuine paperwork. Parents say that their kids battling cancer at such an early age when they do not even understand the meaning of life and death, someone making their little wish true is like a supernatural power. Sometimes it is the heart that needs to be nourished more than cells.
- Cancer Patient Aids Association
This is a registered charitable non-government organization that announced a war against Cancer in 1969. They work to manage cancer patients from awareness to aiding beyond medical treatment. This NGO works at different steps to murder cancer like offering fellowships to Patient Mentoring Program. They work at the regional level and involve patients to assess the needs and requirements. National Cancer Control Programme is their weapon in this battle and hence providing technical support to the country and the neighboring countries like Bhutan, Nepal, etc. This organization is working at a global level with a broader vision of cancer-free earth.
In the road of darkness and disease, walk along with them
Doctors and treatments are doing their part, but it is more about inner strength than some colorful pills. That inner strength is enhanced by support from the people around the patient. The willpower and reason to feel good again are what will antidote them. Your one good action put with the right intention can do magic. Do not be afraid and hold your loved one tight on this dark night. You can be a ray of sunlight in their foggy dawn.