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A melanoma diagnosis often leaves people reeling from the news, and your loved one will need your help while they work through their treatment. Considering that nearly 100,000 cases of melanoma are expected to be diagnosed in 2022, you can trust that your loved one isn’t alone with the issues they are facing. Putting together a list of strategies that you can use to help your loved one gives them another resource they can use as they work on their recovery.
Learn About Melanoma
One of the first things you’ll want to do is get educated on what having melanoma can mean for your loved one. Similar to other health conditions, there can be specific words, methods for treatment and unique symptoms that you’ll want to know about. You may also want to explore what it might mean for your loved one to have chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Being informed helps you be a stronger advocate for your loved one.
Let Them Know You Are Available to Help
People who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis are often hesitant to reach out for help. Your loved one may try to avoid causing you to worry about their wellbeing. Or, an older parent might struggle with asking their adult child for help. Some people naturally want to keep things as normal as possible and may try to do more than they should during their recovery. Telling your loved one that you are eager to help them establishes an open atmosphere that makes it more likely that they will come to you with their needs.
Offer Practical Assistance
Treating a major medical condition adds many new appointments and self-care activities to your loved one’s care list. From driving to and from appointments to remembering to take their medication, your loved one may find that their time and energy runs short from one day to the next. Your loved one may also have kids, an ill spouse or pets that need care during their downtimes. Whether you choose to cook a meal or pick up their kids from school, your loved one will appreciate even the simplest gestures of support.
Provide Sun Shades for Outdoor Events
Getting a little fresh air becomes harder for someone who has melanoma and needs to take extra care of your skin. If your loved one is undergoing radiation treatments, then they may also experience challenges with keeping the sun off of sensitive parts of their body. Adding a shade tarp to the outdoor spaces that your loved one spends time in can dramatically decrease their exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Making it possible for them to spend time outside can provide them with a sense of normalcy during a time when everything seems challenging.
Create a Shared Communication Space
Hopefully, your loved one has other people who are wiling to provide help during their recovery. Coordinating shared caregiving services is easier when you have a way for everyone to communicate. For example, meal trains are great for taking the burden of cooking off of your loved one’s hands, but they don’t need three casseroles showing up on the same day. The same is also true about transportation and child care assistance. Talk to your loved one about their preferred method of communication. Then, set up a shared calendar, caregiving app or even a social media page that lets everyone coordinate regarding their ability to help with your loved one’s care.
Be Accepting of Changes In Your Loved One’s Needs
Throughout their recovery, your loved one may experience up’s and down’s that affect their needs. They may feel energetic and eager to attend a special event one day, but they might change their mind by the time the occasion arrives. Try to remember that they are going to have some good days mixed with challenging ones. If your loved one suddenly needs to change plans or requires a new type of care, then be willing to go with the flow. Checking in with them regularly helps you to prepare to change course as needed to help them continue to receive the most effective forms of support.
Depending upon the stage that your loved one’s melanoma was discovered, they may have a swift recovery with minimally invasive treatments. Or, they may require intensive chemotherapy or radiation treatments that impact every facet of their life. In either case, be willing to provide as much assistance as your loved one will accept so that you can play a supportive role in their healing.