Helping those with cancer!

I got a call from a friend of mine whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a shock to him; he thought that his wife was very healthy. He wanted to do whatever it took to get her the necessary help. When our loved ones are involved, we will go any length to make things happen. How many of you can agree to that? We all have lost loved ones to cancer; it’s painful for those who are ill and those of us who are caregivers.

I know when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, I was shocked and the first thought that came to my mind was my dad needs my help. I talked to his doctors, those doing the tests; I felt that I had to control the situation. My dad wasn’t helpless at all. He was a Colonel in the army, fought in World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam. He was a highly decorated war hero. He didn’t need me to be meddling in his business. I wanted to help; I wanted to be involved with his care. He took care of my mother who had cancer as well. She needed a great deal of care and he was there for her every step of the way!

I asked my dad, what I could do to help him. He said he didn’t know, and that made matters worse for me. Not knowing what was going on. I fought to get answers from all of his doctors. I was told several scenarios for his out come. I never let him know all I was doing behind the scenes. I didn’t want to worry him whatsoever. Then it hit me, was I intruding and causing him undo stress by my actions?

I know many times he had to calm me down, and believe me it was adding stress to his situation. I listened to his concerns. I listened as to how he was going to fight this lung cancer. I listened to his fears, and how he would do whatever it took to save his life. He was in the most serious fight of his life. He had his game face on when speaking with his docs. Behind the game face, was a man who taught his kids to go the distance in whatever you do. My dad was doing just that.

I had to figure out a new game plan for me. How could I support my dad? How could I be an encouragement to my dad and mother? I didn’t want to get in the way. I wanted to make their lives easier; I could take my dad to his appointments, no problem there. I could make sure he understood what the docs were saying and what his treatment would consist of. I could let him know the effects of his meds and how to deal with them. I could make sure that he was eating good healthy foods and that his diet would be helping him with the side effects of chemo and radiation treatments.

So, that’s the game plan that I worked out for my dad with his approval of course. My mom was in the know, but her cancer had kept her very ill. She couldn’t really do very much, but give thumbs up for all we did for dad.

His surgery went well; he had the best care from the docs and the hospital staff. I made sure that everything was set up at home, home health care, medical supplies (oxygen tanks), home therapy, and meals on wheels for the one meal we didn’t have to worry about. The other meals were very nutritious and I had a friend help make those meals.

My dad was very thankful that I could help and take the pressure off of my mom. When something like this happens, you need the whole family involved, the way it used to be. Now its dump our loved one off at the hospital, let them deal with it. Anyone that is critically ill wants to know that the entire family will roll up their sleeves and help. This cannot be just one family member. Friends would want to be involved as well. They can offer some relief when needed, but have to be asked well in advance. You can also talk with your pastor, and see if the church has people to help. Many are just waiting to be asked and the pastor can give you some contact names.

Make sure that the person, who is ill, is involved in the entire process. You can’t have them guessing from day to day what is happening with doctors’ visits. This will add stress to them. Select one person from the family or close friend who will coordinate meals, rides to appointments, and visits from family and friends. I am available to help you, just call.

If you need coaching in helping friends or family coping with cancer you can contact Dr. Mike by phone or his website. Here are some questions that might help you decide if you need additional coaching. Do you need help in setting up a plan for taking care of a loved one with cancer? Do you need to find a support group and want help? Do you want help in finding someone to be the spokesman for your loved one? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should call for an appointment.

How does Life Coaching work? You’ll meet once a week, by phone, for a one-on-one conference, usually 45 minutes a session. In each phone conference you’ll plan and review, together, each of your “Focus Goals” and action areas. In each session, you’ll also receive support and guidance in creating the right attitudes and motivation in the area’s that you want to work on most. In addition to the weekly phone conferences, you’ll also communicate by e-mail, so you’ll have help and support throughout the week.

Waiting for the Call

I was sound asleep when I got the call late last night from my nephew “your sister is not doing good, I talked to Dennis and he said that she was fading fast, and its not looking good.”

As I turned and looked at the clock by my bed it was 11:30 PM, I thought that I heard my cellphone ring several times while sleeping, then when I heard I heard my nephew voice speaking to me, I realized that I answered the phone. I asked him when he talked to Dennis my sisters husband, and he said a few minutes ago. Many things raced through my mind. This call was not unexpected, she has been diagnosed with throat cancer for 14 months now. I would check on my sister every few days, just to see how she was doing. I got the same old story from my sister, I am doing OK, and I am going to fight this thing tooth and nail. All the while still smoking over two packs of cigarettes a day and drinking to excess.

I can remember begging my parents to stop their smoking while I was in grade school and high school, it was awful to live in the same house and smell the smoke and see it drift through the sunrays in the living room where my dad smoked as he read the Sunday paper. My mother wasn’t any better, she smoked just as much as he did.

Then my sister took up the smoking habit while in Junior High school, sneaking around smoking with her friends. She continued to sneak around until she got caught by my dad. He opened the door for her smoking by insisting that she smoke in front of my parents and be truthful about it. All the while I had to endure all this nonsense with tongue in cheek. I have never smoked, never drank, never did drugs, and the smell of smoke sickens me. I know the damage cigarette smoke can do to your body, both my parents died from smoking, lung cancer.

My phone has rang several times with a health crisis for my sister, its been hard, you never know when the call comes, and your told that she is gone. I deal with that every time I hear the phone ring after 10:00 PM, its a hard part of life. We all have had calls like this, its unpleasant and makes your heart skip a jump.

What will you do knowing that this call will come? How do you plan for a death in the family? I have been asked these questions on several occasions, what do we do, I am asked? When you plan ahead you will not be surprised and caught off guard, when the call comes. Have a family meeting and know what each of your responsibilities are when you get the call. Someone needs to be in charge of calling everyone (they will call A to Z in the directory) you will have two directory’s, one for family and one for friends. You need to have someone who will deal directly with the funeral home, picking clothes, music, clergy, finding pall bearers, etc. Then you will need someone to oversee the meal after the service, usually someone at the church will help with this arrangement. There is a lot to be done. Have you made these arrangements? Do you need to talk to someone about a loss of a loved one? Do you have support from friends and family? Do you need help making funeral arrangements? If you do, contact Mike and he can help you through the process of putting together a funeral for a loved one.

If you would like some help in dealing with personal issues in your life or the relationship that you’re in is not going well, you can contact Mike at 303.456.0555. If you need more information about the Professional Accountability Partner Program, call 303.456.0555 or go to contact Mike link to set up a free consultation appointment. Dr. Mike’s website is all calls are confidential and your privacy is protected. Check out Mike’s blog at: I always welcome your thoughts and comments on today’s coaching article. Mike is also available for speaking engagements.