The Family Support System
It is important to me and my family that we support each other during the healing process. One of the things that I learned during my healing process is that I do have control over my feelings and it is okay for your son to feel sad, angry, etc. This is a part of the healing process which is very important for anyone overcoming illness. According to O. Carl Simonton, “The difficult lesson to learn is not to judge yourself for having these feelings. Instead, accept the fact that you are experiencing them and attempt to suspend judgement” (p. 242). I had to learn how to be gentle which takes time and patience. I also am aware that everyone deals with crises differently and we need to honor this. When we had to handle the diagnosis of my son we went through several emotions. At first, I was not hearing what the doctor said because my emotions took over and I just held my breath. I remember feeling the knot in my stomach and I had to process everything that was said so I made notes while the doctor talked. The way how you receive the news from the sender is very important because this tells you how you will react. Dr. Maul was amazing and empathetic doctor who spoke slowly and calmly. I experienced other emotions as well that include fear for my son. He experience an array of emotions that included shock, disbelief, anger, frustration, sadness and unanswered questions. We had a open communication in the family in which we talked about how we felt. It was harder for my son to talk about this so I would coach him to just say what was on his mind and not to worry about what mom or dad will say. I honor his feelings and frustration because at the time he was a junior in high school whose main concern was completing his assignments and passing his classes. It is very important to listen to your loved ones and through your silence you can encourage your loved ones to share their feelings. I also had to learn to let my son attend to his own feelings while I attend to mine because I wanted him to be an active part of his own recovery. My son was more concern about losing his hair and I would comfort him that God will take care of him and not to worry about it. I also reassured him that his dad was bald so he would not be the only one bald. But during his treatment his hair did not fall out which I thanked the lord for answering our prayers. I also encouraged him to take care of himself which included participating with him during exercise, walking and meditation.
Learning and growing
As I embrace each day, I thank the lord for waking me up and going before me every day. According to Simonton, et al. ” Despite the very serious problems you are facing, if you are willing to confront openly and honestly the experience of dealing with the life-threatening disease of your loved one, the experience may contribute to your own personal growth” (p.260). We have surely learned so much each day and as my son recovers from this ordeal we have learned to check in with each other during the course of his recovery. This month he goes back for a CT scan which is a normal routine to check the patient after treatment and I know that all is well.
Feeling good together: How to strengthen relationship through better communication
At times communication is a struggle for anyone in any relationship and it may seems as if it is easy but it is not. We must become better communicators which starts by “expressing your feelings openly and directly; and encourage the other person to express his or her feelings” (Burns, D.1999, p. 364). Communication is a two way street where one listens while the other is talking. At times I have trouble with this, but I am getting better at listening more and more each day. It is important to listen to each other which is a daily practice in my family. At times it is not easy, but through guidance and encouragement we will get better.
My final thoughts
Truly grateful for waking up each day and thankful for the support from family and friends. As we go about our day each day, commit to making someone smile and remember that God love you. Treasure the moments spent with loved ones and friends and continue making memories. You are amazing! In addition, remember to notice your body which alerts you when you need to take it easy and do something fun. Going for walks along the lake is the best therapy for me while listening to the surroundings. Choose something to do and explore nature. Live life to the fullest.
Burn, D.D., (1999). The Feelling Good Handbook. Penguin Group.
Simonton, O.C., Simonton-Matthew, S., & Creighton, J.L. (1992). Getting Well Again.A Step-by Step, Self-help guide to overcoming cancer for patients and their families. Bantam Books, New York.