Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, I’m good now. I seriously can’t image how I would have coped without the kindness of family, friends, and big hearted strangers.
Ever wonder what to do when someone you care about encounters the Cancer Monster? Let these ten hints be a start…
- Good intentions are e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
- Be there: visit (call first), write, phone. Don’t take it personally if your dear one can’t find the words to reply quickly.
- Listen to them. Soak in what they have to say clear down to your brain cells.
- Have fun! Even if they’re stuck in bed, laughter is the best medicine!
- Let them vent. Hell, you can vent at the injustice of it all right along with them.
- Remind them that they’re resourceful, strong, and courageous. Be that way yourself, at least in front of them.
- Do they need help? Ask, ask, ask! Do they need a ride? Do they have plenty of groceries, clean clothes, or is their place tidy? Or do they need you to drop the C-bomb on family and friends for them? How about negotiating doctors and insurance companies? Could they use help creating an easy system for navigating medications and such?
- Most people hate being burdens. Be sincere with your dear one as well as yourself. Don’t overextend. You need to be there for the long haul.
- Be a source of hope. Save your anxiety and morbid stories about people who died of cancer for others. Scour grim words like ‘remission’ out of your vocabulary. Ditto for any others that hint at waiting for the other shoe to fall.
- Let them do what they need to do. Leave judging for their doctors. As a friend, your job is to stick around and add happiness to their life.
Got more tips to share?