It’s a regular day when your phone rings. It’s your close friend who you speak with all the time but today she sounds nervous. She tells you that she has received a cancer diagnosis and your heart just sinks. A cancer diagnosis. It’s time to kick in to supportive friend mode. But how?
Some people reading this may agree with the thoughts I’ve collected. Others may not. I welcome you to chime in with your thoughts, especially if you have received a cancer diagnosis yourself. Please help us figure out what we can do for a friend in that person’s time of need.
Since there are several variations in treatment for each type of cancer, you may want to find out, as gently as you can ask the question, about your friend’s upcoming course of action. Let your friend’s tone, rather than your own emotions, dictate your response. Only you know the personality of your friend and can adjust your approach to fit his or her needs and situation.
Some ways you can help:
- Let your friend know that if he/she ever feels like talking you will be there to listen. And do just that – listen.
- Use humor and seek enjoyment when it is appropriate.
- Allow for sadness and silence. Understand if your friend wants to be alone.
- Call at regular times or let your friend know when you will be calling. Knowing he/she has someone to rely on if needed is comforting since some cancer patients do not want to be a burden so they do not ask for help.
- Keep your typical conversations going. Don’t talk only about cancer.
- Offer practical help, such as; shopping for groceries, picking up medicines, watching the kids, driving the kids to activities, bringing in the mail, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking out the garbage.
- Give your friend a ride to the doctor’s office or keep your friend company during a treatment session.
- Be open to changes in plans. Experts say that symptoms and side effects of treatment may alter your friend’s energy level and therefore the need for your help.
I decided to write this post after seeing a post on Facebook asking what a friend can do to be supportive. On of the responses mentioned getting a friend the LIVESTRONG Guidebook. It is written for cancer patients as they navigate the health care system and contains helpful information as well as journal space. It is free to order, but you will pay shipping and handling charges. To order, go to: LiveStrong.org.
Do you know someone who has Found the Marbles? Send an email to Jessica@FoundtheMarbles.com.