Category Archives: Greta Greer

Crisis, Opportunity, Communication

By Greta Greer, MSW, LCSW

In my last blog, I provided general tips for communicating with someone diagnosed with cancer. In this blog, I talk about the added importance of good, open communication when you are caring for a loved one with cancer.

When it comes to being a cancer caregiver, I’ve found that caregivers often have the same questions and concerns as the person with cancer. Is he [am I] going to die? What if I can’t handle this?  Where’s the money coming from for treatment? Is the cancer his [my] fault? I told her to go [I know I should have gone]…to the doctor… stop smoking… lose weight…get a colonoscopy, mammogram, Pap smear…use sunscreen!  I’m so angry…scared…overwhelmed. Is cancer contagious?  However, both those with cancer and those who care about them may not share these concerns with one another. Why is that? [more]

You may be afraid that expressing your fears, saying the words out loud, can actually make them come true. You might try to shield your loved one from your feelings and concerns. However, failure to deal with them can affect good communication…and relationships.

The closer you are to someone with cancer, the greater the impact will be on you personally.… Continue reading →

What to Say When Someone Has Cancer

By Greta Greer, MSW, LCSW

Nearly 12 million people living in the United States today were diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives; some are undergoing active treatment and others are living cancer free. Most of us know at least one person with cancer, but how confident are you in your ability to communicate well with someone who has recently been diagnosed or is in treatment for cancer?

Feeling insecure about how to communicate well with a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who is facing cancer is quite common. If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “I don’t know what to say!”  And it’s especially confusing if you heard about the diagnosis “through the grapevine.”

Communication is challenging even in the best of circumstances. So when cancer enters the picture, lots of deep emotions and concerns take it to a new level. It raises the stakes in terms of how it can affect your relationship. Saying or doing the “wrong” thing takes on added significance to your partner, family member, or friend when they have cancer. What you don’t say or do is equally important. [more]

Read on for some suggestions for talking to a friend or loved one who has cancer.… Continue reading →

Cancer Caregivers, Don’t Forget Yourselves

By Greta Greer, MSW, LCSW

Taking care of someone you love who has cancer is one of the most important roles you’ll ever have. It could also be the most difficult one.

Stress is one of the most common challenges that caregivers face, especially those caring for someone with cancer. It’s not easy learning to balance all your regular responsibilities, help your loved one, AND take care of your own health and well-being.  

As a result, caregivers often ignore their own physical and emotional health. It could be because they have less time, are too stressed, have less money, feel guilty for taking time for themselves, or simply forget.  Whatever the reason, it puts caregivers at much higher risk for health problems than people who aren’t in a caregiving role. [more]

You may be surprised to suddenly realize that it’s been ages since you spent a day out with friends, had a good night’s sleep, or simply enjoyed an entire meal without interruption.  And what’s going on with those tight muscles, wandering thoughts, or uncomfortable feelings?  

If you don’t know, it’s no wonder!  The more caregiving tasks and regular responsibilities you have to juggle – job, kids, parents, meals, finances, insurance and a hundred other important tasks-the easier it is to lose track of yourself  in the midst of it all.… Continue reading →