Setting Boundaries

Learning how to set boundaries when you have cancer is so important. Cancer takes a toll not only on the body, but the mind. It sucks the energy out of you physically and mentally and unless you have been diagnosed with cancer or a serious, life threatening illness, it is very hard to understand what that person is really going through. If you have cancer, you must be realistic about what you can and cannot do. You have to protect yourself as your immune system can be compromised by treatment and you need to focus on healing which includes a lot of downtime.

If you have cancer, some boundaries that you might consider setting include:                            

  1. Saying NO to events where there will be large crowds of people.
  2. Saying NO to things that obligate you to a task, like carpooling kids to school everyday.
  3. Saying NO to lots of visitors at one time.
  4. Saying NO to hosting people at your house.  
  5. Saying NO to anything that involves travel while you are in treatment or recovering.

As a patient you will need to realistically weigh requests for your time and effort and say NO when anything feels like a burden. Be gentle with yourself and accept your limitations.   

If you know someone with cancer, you need to be very mindful of any requests that you are making on them. You need to realize that they may want to participate in an event or task, but they are not well enough to participate and don't know how to say NO. Some boundaries that you may want to consider with a friend or family member that has cancer include:                      

  1. Don't ask your friend or family member for any favors or to complete any tasks for you.
  2. Don't invite them to an event unless you are willing to accept that they may not attend.
  3. Don't guilt someone with cancer if they say NO, be understanding and compassionate.
  4. Don't invite yourself to visit a person with cancer for lengthy amounts of time.
  5. Don't give treatment advice that is contrary to what they have decided, even if you don't agree with their treatment. 

Setting boundaries in our lives is difficult even without a serious illness like cancer, but we all need to do it. Whether you are the patient or not, cancer will require you to slow down and really think about what you are asking or being asked to do.

Check out my next blog: Cancer and Loss