Lung Cancer Support
Being told that someone you love has lung cancer is devastating. You’ll probably feel anger, sadness, resentment, guilt – in fact the whole barrage of emotions that your loved one is feeling. Providing the reassurance and support is anything but easy.
One thing’s for sure - your life will change as you learn to adapt to living with cancer. There will be the constant round of doctors’ and hospital appointments and, depending on the circumstances; you may become the main carer.
The disease is obviously very tough on the sufferer but it’s also tough on those around them. It can be hell to watch the person you love go through a devastating illness.
The important thing is to be able to talk about it – it’s usually best to let the person with lung cancer guide you on this. When they’re ready to talk they will. Or join a family support group. Just knowing that there are other people in the same situation as you can be a great relief.
Understanding Lung Cancer through Research
A lot of family members and carers like to learn as much as possible about the illness so they know what they are facing and what they can do to help. Otherwise they may feel totally helpless and that the cancer is in control.
By understanding the disease they can help in practical ways by preparing nutritious meals or encouraging the person to take gentle exercise. They can also arrange practical support - like a home help to do some of the cleaning and shopping and mobility aids such as bath hoists and support rails to give the patient more independence in their own home.
Depending on where you live, social services departments may be able to help with carers’ allowances and other benefits if the person is eligible, so it’s worth checking.
Maintaining a Relationship with a Lung Cancer Patient
If you’re the partner of a lung cancer patient you may suddenly find yourself in the role of carer rather than husband/wife/lover. You spend so much time looking after them that you are in danger of losing your closeness as a couple. Your partner may not have the energy or enough breath for a marathon sex session but it’s still possible to enjoy a sexual relationship and as long as they feel up to it and haven’t been advised otherwise by the doctor, it’s perfectly safe.
You could change the time of day you have sex if you find your partner tends to feel better at any particular time.
Obviously though the treatment for lung cancer can affect a person’s sexuality. Your partner will probably have a complete downer on their body image, particularly if chemotherapy has made them lose their hair.
But having lung cancer shouldn’t mean giving up on sex altogether. Any negative feelings, both physical and emotional, may be only temporary. And if they are longer lasting it might be a case of finding alternatives to what’s no longer possible. If your partner doesn’t have the energy for penetrative sex, experiment with less strenuous activities (try mutual masturbation, sex toys or different sexual positions).
Being able to talk with your partner about any anxieties over sex and understanding why they feel like they do is extremely important for the overall health of your relationship. And don’t forget a simple cuddle usually works wonders.