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How to Support a Family Member with Leukemia

Dealing with a family member’s diagnosis of leukemia can be an incredibly difficult experience. It’s a time when emotions are high, there is a lot of uncertainty, and the shock can also feel strange. It’s important to be there for your loved one during this challenging time, but it can be difficult to know how to support them. This piece will discuss some ways that you can provide support for a family member with leukemia.

Educate Yourself

One of the best things you can do to support a family member with leukemia is to educate yourself about the disease. Learn about the signs and symptoms of the illness (as Moffitt Cancer Center has information on this), the different types of leukemia, the treatments available, and what your loved one can expect during their treatment. This will help you to better understand what they’re going through and be able to provide more meaningful support. Don’t forget to ask them what support they want or need and also reach out to professional resources for assistance and information. 

Be a Good Listener

When a family member is going through a tough time, it’s important to be an active listener. Take the time to really listen to what they are saying and make sure to validate their feelings. Sometimes just having someone to talk to can make a big difference, especially if it’s someone they trust.

Offer Practical Support

Cancer treatment can be exhausting, both physically and mentally, so offering practical support could help ease the burden on your loved one. If you are able to, offer to drive them to appointments, cook meals, make calls for them, or do their laundry. These little acts of kindness can go a long way in showing your support and can also help them through their journey.

Stay Connected

Leukemia treatment can be isolating, so it’s important to stay connected with your loved one. Schedule regular phone calls or video chats to check in and offer support and also consider sending care packages or small gifts to show that you’re thinking of them if you are not able to see them.

Respect Boundaries

While it’s important to make sure your loved one knows that you are there for them and that they have your support, it’s also really important to respect your loved one’s boundaries. Everyone copes with illness differently, and your family member may not always want to talk about their diagnosis or treatment. It’s imperative that you respect their wishes and not push them to do anything they’re not comfortable with unless you believe they are at risk.

Take Care of Yourself

Supporting a family member with leukemia can also take its toll on you, which is why it is important to take care of yourself too. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating well, and taking time for yourself. Not only will this help you to be a better support system for your loved one, but it is also essential for your health and wellbeing too.