How do you cope with a family member's cancer diagnosis? Maine family shares their story

A woman shares how she learned to cope when her husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

Imagine the person closest to you has a disease that could kill them. Many families in Maine deal with this realization every single day.

Sometimes the diagnosis can be almost as difficult for family members as it is for the person fighting the disease.

For Mary Anne Crawford, of Yarmouth, finding out her husband has cancer was one of the scariest moments of her life.

"The first thing you think is oh my gosh my husband is going to die," Crawford said.

Her husband, David, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2010 and with melonoma in 2011. 

Eventually Crawford's reaction to it all even surprised her.

"When I run into friends or sometimes even family. The question always is always how's David doing?" Crawford said, "sometimes it felt like what about me?"

Crawford needed help to find out how to support her husband and herself.

The family found comfort in the Cancer Community Center in South Portland, which offers a variety of programs and support groups.

You may not know what to say to your loved one fighting cancer, but David Crawford says something the best thing to say is nothing at all. He says just being present in their life can be enough. One thing he says to never say to a cancer patient like himself is "it could be worse."

There isn't a textbook on how to cope with a family member's diagnosis, but asking for help can go a long way in helping you and your loved one cope.

 

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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