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Canty's avatar

How to take responsibility for myself as a cancer patient?

Asked by Canty (16points) June 13th, 2014

I am a cancer survivor that has been in remission for the past few months. I have been advised to follow a strict organic, all-natural vegan diet with lots of juicing. My aunt has been nice enough to take care of me and make my meals (I don’t care for cooking), but for awhile now she stopped cooking for my diet and started cooking unhealthy meat based meals because that’s what the rest of our family eats. Our family visits a few times a month, but it’s not too often.

A conversation often goes like this:
She asked, “Do you think it’s fair they have to eat vegetables just because of you?”
And I’d yell, “Well, I’m the one with cancer! Why not?!”

It’s really awful.

I know I am an adult and should be able to make my own healthy meals without depending on her, but for some reason I don’t have that motivation in me to learn how to cook. I’m too tempted to eat when’s left in the fridge and I hate cooking. Often I blame her for prioritizing our family instead of my vegan diet and it creates tension in the home.

Please let me know what I can do to stand up and take responsibility for myself. Thank you so much.

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7 Answers

SecondHandStoke's avatar

This might be something you take with a grain of salt because my multiple kidney stones and bowel resection might be like a champagne damped brunch compared to what you’re going through:

Be a good patient. No matter how severe your condition is your surgeons and support staff have seen it all before. Though your situation is unique to you the staff has seen it all before, over and over and over.

Distinguish yourself and impress those that would help you by at least appearing to be optimistic, jovial and strong.

For example staff asks you how you are out of rhetorical habit. respond with asking how they are.

Mention pain but DO NOT BITCH ABOUT IT. Everybody’s in pain. Staff will be impressed with your control and be more likely to attend to you.

Keep a subtle positive attitude: Too much optimism looks like denial. They have all seen that before too.

You must take care of those that take of you: A great way to get your mind off of your condition is to concentrate on your caretakers. How has their day been so far? What is up in their personal lives? Care and they will care back.

Those in healthcare respect those that understand that one’s health is ones ultimately one’s own responsibility. KNOW your condition as well as you can going in. If you feel comfortable use physician’s language when you can.

Pay attention to your staff’s state, don’t be afraid to ask them if they are ok, right up to your surgeon.

Once I got lucky: My mature yet plucky GI surgeon drove a battered example of the car I drove.
It was reassuring to hear her talk about the mechanics of this shredded car. Partly I was more confident with a doc that didn’t have the ego to drive more for it’s own sake. But she understood the idea of removing, replacing… making something that’s been around a while continue to work.

I once asked her “why don’t you get that noisy exhaust replaced?” She told me her little son enjoyed the vibration and sound. THAT’S the kind of person I want working on me.

I have had on several occasions had staff, upon knowing I was being discharged give me what I thought were more than usual signs of affection. Deep embraces, long eye contact, and difficult to describe impressions of just not knowing how to appropriately express their happiness to have me under their charge, often with my wife peacefully standing by.

Wall of fucking text I know: TL:DR?

Don’t act like a victim. Take as much personal interest in your help as propriety allows.

Coloma's avatar

Just do it.
You can’t blame others for not wanting to endlessly cater to your needs. Go out and buy a bunch of fresh fruit and produce and pre-prepare a few days worth of easy to eat foods. Soups, juices, raw veggies pre-cut, melons, etc.

You can easily snack on baby carrots, apples, grapes, sliced yellow squash/zucchini, nuts, etc.
Buy some healthy dips, like hummus, or other good dips and salad dressings and take charge of at least some of your food requirements. Maybe your family will make you some veggies soups and you take care of the rest.
As long as you are mobile and able, you should do as much for yourself as you can.

Judi's avatar

You could say, “I love them and I don’t want them to get sick like me so it’s an act of love to have them eat vegetables like me.”
My sisters best friend has lymphoma and has decided not to treat it aggressively. Instead the only thing she is doing to treat it is edible green tea . She is not in remission but she has outlived her husband who subsequently died of bladder cancer, and has continued to be active and healthy, even hiking Peru for well over 5 years. I put it in my morning smoothie now just as a super antioxidant preventative health measure.

longgone's avatar

As I’m sure you know, someone cooking for you is not a long term solution. If your aunt is good at preparing healthy meals, why not ask her to teach you? :)

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Don’t feel bad. You have a life-threatening ailment and you just want to get as much attention and love as you can from your family and friends. It is quite natural.

kritiper's avatar

Get your affairs in order. This will greatly aid your loved ones in the event of the inevitable.

gailcalled's avatar

Most large supermarkets in the US and all farmer’s markets sell mesclun mixes, have salad bars and make assembling a complex salad or two to bring home very easy. My farmer’s markets has two vats of home-made veggie soups available every day. Easy to purchase a quart or two for home eating.

Making a salad does not require cooking skills, only washing, tearing and cutting ones. Making a salad dressing requires measuring out one part decent vinegar to 2 or 3 parts good olive oil, with some dijon mustard, tarragon, dill and fresh pepper. If you want to be really profligate, use a pinch of salt.

Find a therapist to vent to. You have been lucky in having your aunt cater to you for as long as she has. Many cancer patients do not have such an aunt.

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