When someone you care for is diagnosed with lung cancer, it can have a huge impact on your life. You will be bombarded with advice and information about caring for someone with cancer and it is easy to get lost in all of the changes to your world. While we hope that you might find a number of helpful hints in this book, if you only take one thing away from reading it, we hope that it is this: take care of yourself.
It is natural for a caregiver to want to concentrate only on the person with cancer, but this is not healthy for anyone involved. It is not selfish to look out for yourself: taking care of your own needs will make you a more effective caregiver. As a caregiver, you may experience periods of stress, frustration, and even depression. Do not ignore these feelings in yourself. Learn to recognize signs that you are not feeling 100 percent and then take action. You can find support from others who are caregivers or talk to a professional. You can ask others to share the load, either by helping care for the person with cancer directly or by taking over some of your own daily tasks. You can make time for yourself by scheduling fun activities away from the person with cancer.
In addition to being emotionally taxing, being a caregiver can take a real physical toll as well. Make sure that you take time to take care of your body. Do not get so caught up in your caregiving responsibilities that you neglect your own physical health. Take time away to exercise, to eat decent meals, and to get enough sleep.
Finally, as a caregiver, do not be too hard on yourself. Make sure that you confer all of the good, positive emotions that you feel for the person with cancer to yourself as well. Be kind to yourself. Be forgiving of yourself. Be patient with yourself. Being a caregiver for a person with lung cancer is a difficult role to play and you can only do so much. Cut yourself a little slack and make sure that you look out for your own well-being. Taking care of yourself in not in any way neglecting the person with cancer; anything that you can do to maintain your own health will be better for both you and the person with cancer.