When your young spouse has cancer, you must deal with an enormously stressful disruption to your normal, everyday routine. Caregiving usually feels like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders and must do everything all by yourself. And in addition to caregiving, you may be parenting small children, working full- or part-time, and having other responsibilities.
It is vital that you ask for and accept help. Accepting help does not diminish how important you are or how central your role is in your spouse's fight against cancer. Accepting appropriate help will only ensure that both you and your spouse get the support and care needed to get through cancer.
When friends and family ask what they can do to help, it is okay to tell them what you need so they know how to help you. That isn't always easy. Most of the time, you will not be able to think of anything when someone makes the offer. Keep a running list of things you need, so when someone asks, you can tell them what you need. YoungCancerSpouses has provided a sample list of chores and groceries: (Download the list.)
People may also ask if there is something they can pay for. At first you may feel a bit strange about suggesting certain things, but do your best to get over the awkwardness - most people do genuinely want to help. You might want to suggest gift cards to the gas station, grocery store, drug store, local restaurant you like (for couple time) or vouchers for transportation, hospital parking, etc. You can also leave these lists with a designated family member, so when people offer to help, they can talk with that person to coordinate what you need.
www.lotsahelpinghands.com provides a calendar service that allows users to post their needs (meals, pick up kids, appointments, etc.), and friends and family members can sign up to answer the specific needs.