Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How To Be A Friend To Someone With Cancer

Most of you guys already know about Amazing Boyfriend and his fight with cancer. Well, our fight with cancer, since I feel like we're in it together.If this is news to you, you can read about it here.

My Mom is an oncology nurse, which has made her an invaluable resource in this difficult time. The following is a hand out that my Mom's office gives to their patients that they can pass along to their friends. 

How To Be A Friend To Someone With Cancer

When someone we know is facing an illness, we often feel helpless. These are tips to really help someone, from people who have "been there." Instead of offering, "Just call if you need something", please save them the energy and make the call for them. Your help will be that of a true friend. 

1. Stay in touch. Don't avoid me. Be the friend (or loved one) that you have always been. 

2. Touch me. A simple squeeze if my hand can still tell me that you still care.   

3. Call me before visiting, ask me if I need dinner, groceries, stamps, magazines, etc. If you are bringing food over make sure it is something I would like to ear, give a time that it will be delivered. Use disposable containers so I don't have to worry about returns. 

4. Take care of my children. I need a little time alone. My children also need a "vacation" from my illness.

5. Share my emotions. Don't be afraid to laugh with me when I laugh, weep with me when I weep.

6. Take me out for a pleasure trip, but know my limitations. 

7. Call me for my shopping list and make a delivery to my house. 

8. Listen carefully. Take cues or sit silently with me. Don't expect me to entertain you. Call before visiting.

9. Help me celebrate holidays (and life) by decorating my house or hospital room. 

10. Help my family. I am the one who is sick, but they are suffering too. Offer to come stay wiht me to give my family a break, or invite them out. 

11. Provide transportation to appointments, stay with me during my treatments. 

12. Transport my children to their activities. 

13. Help me feel good about my appearance. 

14. Include me in decision making. I've been robbed of so many things; don't deny me a chance to make decisions that affect me. 

15. Talk about the future. Hope is so important to me. Talk about next week, next year, future events and joys. 

16. Bring me a positive attitude, it's contagious! 

17. Talk about current events. Bring me magazines, newspapers, etc. to help me feel that the world is not passing me by. 

18. Help with everyday chores; laundry, house cleaning, dishes, yard work. 

19. Write thank you notes for me. 

20. Offer to do errands and be reliable.

This is such a wonderful list, although not every idea applies in every situation, but I feel like they are such great suggestions. One of the worse things about a cancer diagnoses is that helpless feeling that you get because you want to do something to help, but you just aren't sure what is helpful. 

I hope that someone benefits from sharing this list. 

And I have to thank my Mom for giving it to me in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. Before I get all serious on you.. LOL; mean comments also come from trolls, witches and 1-eyed monsters.


    I'm sorry to see that your BF has been diagnosed with cancer. It's not an easy journey. I lost someone close to me to this battle several years ago, and just found out last week that a grand-mother-like figure of mine has been diagnosed and will begin treatment soon if her heart is strong enough. Plain & simple, it's not fun. But it's an unfortunate part of life. You seem like a very strong individual & I look forward to reading your posts!!

    What a fantastic list. I think the most important part is to just be there for them and just be you. They loved you for reasons beforehand, I'm sure that's what they need the most at this time too.


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