Ever wonder how to approach a friend, a loved one when they are first diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment? Here's my first post on what to do. What not to do will come later...
Do nothing – Gotcha! Sometimes there isn't anything to do but to simply be with that person.
Validate – Let them know that it must be very hard for them... You can't imagine... This really sucks!
Offer company – Sometimes in our not knowing what to do, we disappear. Offer your presence, hear them out, hang out.
Talk about something else – Cancer can be all consuming. While it might be important to give cancer its spotlight, let's also move onto something else.
Offer help – What can you do? What can be helpful? Want a ride to an appointment? Oil change? Go to a ball game?
Set up long-term help – It's hard to ask for ongoing help, let alone when you're emotionally overloaded. Assuming you know your friend, you can set up meal delivery, house cleaning, and baby sitting, email treatment updates, etc.
Bring comfort - Cancer treatment is unnerving for the human body, in more ways than one. Find out what will bring comfort to your loved one and do it! Is it a particular type of food for the foodie, flowers for the visually stimulated, or a card for the, um, card person?!
Use humor - Break up the monotony! A friend recently told me this was the funniest thing she had said to her while going through treatment: “Well, you're the healthiest looking sick person I've ever seen!” Sure, be sensitive, but know that cancer patients need to laugh too.
Touch - Cancer can make your loved one feel like their body is damaged. Don't be afraid to offer touch.
Help need walking your loved one through cancer? I'm here!