Going through breast cancer treatment can be exhausting and never ending. There are so many ways you can help a friend or family member with their journey but don’t wait for them to ask for help. Be proactive. She has enough on her mind – she has cancer.
As a friend, how can you help?
- Make a range of meals for the freezer. She might not eat them but she’ll be so appreciative when it comes to feeding the family or her partner. Drop off some baking.
- Suggest a walk. This will be in her time and at her speed and she may get exhausted very quickly so be patient.
- Learn to listen. Your friend might repeat the same questions whilst she is in decision-making mode and just need a sounding board rather than advice
- Take your friend’s children for a while, particularly over school holidays when they are spending all day at home and your friend feels unwell.
- Shop for groceries.
- Drive your friend to appointments.
- Take notes at these appointments so your friend can go over them later. There is so much information to absorb when you’re at these appointments that she’ll have difficulty remembering everything that was said.
- Collect prescriptions.
- Organise a movie night with girlfriends.
- Offer some books or magazines.
- Ask her partner out for a meal, or a drink, especially on those days after chemo. Partner’s often need a change of scenery, conversation and an opportunity to share how they are coping/feeling.
- Continue your friendship in the same way as you always have.
- Know that sometimes your friend may not want help and that is okay too.
- Don’t forget your friend half way through. Initially friends and family rush in to help but breast cancer is a long road and people can get weary of helping so work out a roster with her friends and check in with each other from time to time.