Being diagnosed with cancer can put you in a state of shock because it is an undeniable fact that it is not an easy disease to get through. You’ll always have doctors to treat you, specialists to advise you, and even friends to accompany you, but what if you are single? We are social beings who crave love and support and in times like these the need for support and human touch increases even more. As someone who is single and has cancer, we understand the situation you have been put in. It is not always medicines that a patient seeks, but also the love and support of their loved ones that encourage them to recover faster.
But just because you don’t have a partner, doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely or isolate yourself because there are plenty of ways to keep yourself engaged and seek the love and care you need from other places. This is important to know because you are the best person to advocate for your health and nobody knows your journey better than yourself.
You can invite your friends and family for a meeting and suggest ways they might be able to support you. It’s difficult for them to pre-empt your needs It could be child care, dog walking, or it could simply be someone who would listen to you when you feel lonely. People want to help but sometimes they are not sure about the ways they can do that and having an open conversation about your needs can really help both ways.
Creativity tends to foster a sense of mindfulness and living in the moment. Join groups that practice hobbies like music, dance, painting, gardening, etc. whatever you enjoy. By joining these groups, not only will you spend your time doing things you like but might also end up finding like-minded people. Making new friends is always a great way to divert your attention from cancer.
Since you’re living by yourself, there could be events when you need to be rushed to the hospital or you need help. It is useful to put down your emergency numbers on your fridge or places that are easily accessible to even a stranger. Your kids or a medical attendant can call your contacts and ask them to help out in case of an emergency.
Going through surgeries, radiotherapy and chemo can take a toll on your health and you might feel a dip in your stamina. Get in touch with a hospital social worker, volunteer, or patient navigator for short or long-term house care, where they can come for light housekeeping, cooking, laundry, shopping, etc.
When there’s not always someone else to give you attention or distract your thoughts, try to do it yourself. Try activities like meditation, yoga, morning walks, meditation, or prayer. This can help you find a balance that you are lacking because of stress and anxiety. Learn to praise yourself for achievements like you would to another friend. We can be our own worst critics, but especially during cancer treatment, treating yourself with patience and gentleness will help you feel loved and cared for during this difficult time.