How to Comfort a Friend with Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer

It is difficult to comfort a friend who has one serious ailment, but when they already have Multiple Sclerosis, and now have been diagnosed as having Cancer, it is very difficult for them to accept. At this time, they need the closeness of a friend to offer them comfort and understanding. Just being there for them, talking to them can be what will pull them through this difficult moment in their lives. "Nothing disappears without a trace." -Wernher VonBraun

Steps

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    Visit often. Visiting is a form of physical contact, like hand holding or hugging, which are also recommended.
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    Talk about good things. Take them out for the day. Do not focus on disease processes or the loss of independence, unless they would like to talk or vent their feelings. Talk about the flowers, family and friends, what your friend ate for breakfast. Read to your friend, the newspaper, the Bible, poetry, whatever your friend prefers.
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    Don't talk about anything. Be there. Hold your friend's hand while he or she is sleeping. Watch a movie together. Listen to music.
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    Don't brush aside or dismiss your friend's fears. He or she has a potentially fatal disease. It is normal to be afraid. Listen to him or her and don't say things like, "Oh, you'll be alright" or "Don't be afraid" or "So-and-so had the same thing, and they are fine now." While this may be true, your friend may feel that you are minimizing their condition and denying their feelings of fear.
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    Bring small gifts. Ask if you can bring anything special. You are also offering the gift of your time.
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    Say uplifting things about your relationship that are hard to say. "I want you to know that I will be there for you through anything you face." or "I love you and I always will."
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    Faith may be important in your friend's life. Talk about it!
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    Everyone prays differently. Some talk directly to God. Others pray silently. You might pray in Hebrew, Arabic, or another language of your religion. Maybe you are atheist. If that be the case, thoughts of, "I hope ______ gets better soon!" is good enough for anyone.
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    Ask your friend and his or her family if there is anything that you can do before you leave. Offer to wash the dishes or clean the litter box, etc.
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    Don't patronize or belittle your friend.
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    Make the most of every moment. Look for daily blessings and simple pleasures.

Tips

  • If your friend is too tired or sick to visit, do not wear them out.
  • Always show respect and dignity, to your friend and to his or her family.
  • If your friend would benefit from pain management, ask the family to consider hospice.

Article Info

Categories: Cancer | Autoimmune Diseases | Neurological Disorders