Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Do You Have Cancer and Live With A Parent?
I was being taken care of by my family when I was 22 years old. I moved home after my college graduation, and I had only expected to live with my family, not be completely dependent on them. That situation was difficult to swallow at times. Here is what helped me keep hold of my independence, and remain close with my family.
Spend time with your caretaker that is cancer free
My Dad scheduled, reminded me of, and drove me to all cancer related appointments. However, playing card games with him in order to distract myself from chemotherapy treatments was not what I would consider quality time with my Dad. I craved time with my family that did not revolve around my diagnosis. Don’t allow your only time with your caretaker to be centered around cancer.
Make plans - Your social life is important
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I thought I would be unable to enjoy my early twenties. That was not completely true. I made a few modifications, and gave myself small events to look forward to, even if it was just coffee with a friend.
Ask to be included
I made it clear to my friends and family that I was able to do many things. I wanted to be invited to a night out in NYC, even if I was unsure that I would be up for the late night. When I communicated to them that I could go out and grab a beer, or stay out for part of that night, I took back part of my social life.
Pick up the phone
You have friends. Sometimes they will not know how to talk with you. Call your friends and express if you want to talk about cancer, or if you want to have a conversation just like old times. Cancer is lonely enough, resist the urge to isolate yourself even further.
Being a young adult living at home is an adjustment for everyone
In fact, life after college is an adjustment. Not everyone has cancer to deal with, but it helps to see that your friends are adjusting to their new lives as well. They are also trying to find new friends, either in new places, or at home. The truth is, most young adults are entering a new phase of their lives, which is sometimes lonely and scary.
What helped you feel more independent when you lived at home? How did you balance being taken care of with your independence?