How to help feelings of helplessness?

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Question from JR: My wife has just started chemo. What can I expect? She gets sick easily, with different kinds of illness. What can I do to help? I feel so helpless.
Answers - Marc Silver I remember those feelings all too well. I used to feel as if we were waiting for a big storm to hit, but didn't know when it would strike and how severe it would be. I learned to expect the unexpected. Some women bounce back from chemo quickly. Others struggle. As Rosalind noted, the effects are cumulative and the side effects often worsen as the treatments continue.

I remember weekends when my wife was in bed from Friday night after her treatments through Sunday night, and I was running around doing all of the household errands. One thing that helped me was remembering there was an end in sight for chemotherapy treatments. It also helped that friends sent us gifts to make us laugh. Even if my wife wasn't feeling well, it cheered me up. And that helped me cope during those difficult months.
Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. When you're wondering what you can do to help, the best and simplest thing to do is to ask your wife what she thinks would be helpful.
Marc Silver A friend who recently had gone through breast cancer treatment told me that her husband always had fresh flowers in the house after each chemo infusion. I followed his example and my wife loved seeing those flowers. Although she always wanted to know how much I paid for them. I never told her!

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Partners, Loved Ones, Caregivers: Taking Care of You featured Author Marc Silver and moderator Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. answering your questions about how you can take care of your loved one and yourself during and after breast cancer treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in February 2007.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

A production of LiveWorld, Inc.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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