For anyone who is dealing with breast cancer surgeries and treatment, this is a very emotional time. One of the most difficult things with which to deal outside of the medical treatment is tied to visitation by family and friends who are outside of the immediate household. Not only is this a matter of personal preference but also it often becomes a tricky situation in finding ways to deal with others without hurting their feelings.
“If you lay the groundwork ahead of time so that your guests understand your concerns for yourself as well as for them, hopefully everyone will respect the boundaries that you need to set and this will be one less thing with which you will need to concern yourself during your treatment and recovery.“Barbara Jacoby
Let’s look at those people who do not want visitors. You have gone through surgery and are dealing not only with pain and trying to find any bits of time at any time of the day to sleep but also you may have drain tubes and incisions that do not make it easy to dress in the normal way. Therefore, you find yourself not wanting to present yourself in your sloppy clothing and with your surgery, you can’t shower or wash your hair so you don’t want to see anyone. At this time, you may not even want phone calls or having to respond to text messages or emails because you might have finally drifted off for a few moments of rest.
Then there are those who would love visitors especially if they live alone and would welcome the company and the help. However, the one problem that does arise here is dealing with those guests who do not know when to go home. They don’t see that you are getting tired or haven’t picked up on the hints that you have given that the time has come for them to leave. It quickly becomes a very uncomfortable situation in which you find yourself and it adds stress at a time when you least need to deal with that on top of everything else.
My recommendation is that you have conversations with your family and friends before your surgeries and treatments and explain what your needs will be. If you don’t want visitors, you can make it perfectly clear that you have any number of reasons for needing your privacy at this time. This allows you the opportunity to explain that it has nothing to do with them and that you appreciate their wanting to help or visit or provide for your needs and should your situation turn out to be different from what you anticipate, you would love to be able to call upon them for them for assistance and support.
For those who want visitors but are concerned about those that may overstay their welcome, once again, I suggest having conversations ahead of time. Share with your potential guests that based upon what you have learned, it might be hard to hold up to any sort of regular schedule. Let them know that you want and need their help more than they know but also your life will have many changes and new restrictions and perhaps it will require you to be sleeping in the middle of the day if you can’t do so at night. If they are bringing food, you might want to let them know that if you are having chemotherapy, your tastes will be changing during that time. If you lay the groundwork ahead of time so that your guests understand your concerns for yourself as well as for them, hopefully everyone will respect the boundaries that you need to set and this will be one less thing with which you will need to concern yourself during your treatment and recovery.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.